1 cup unsalted butter, plus some to butter pan
2/3 cup unbleached flour, plus some to flour pan
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Position rack in the center of the oven and heat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9-inch square baking pan.
Melt butter in saucepan. Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar, followed by eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, stirring slowly. Stir until batter is smooth and uniform.
If you are using port-soaked cherries, stir them in at this time (see below).
Spread batter into pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted 3/4 inch into center comes out with a few moist clumps clinging to it, about 40 minutes. Cool completely in pan.
If you are using ganache topping, spread it evenly over brownies and give it an hour to set (see below).
Pour ganache into a bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Put in a cool part of kitchen and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. When it cools, spread over brownies.
for port-soaked cherries (optional):
1/2 cup dried cherries (or cranberries), chopped
1/3 cup tawny port
for port-ganache topping (optional):
1/2 cup tawny port
1/2 cup heavy cream
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
To make port-soaked cherries, bring cherries and port to boil over medium heat. Reduce to low and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
To make ganache, bring port to a boil in small saucepan over medium heat. Boil until port is reduced to 2 tablespoons, 3-6 minutes. Pour into cup or bowl. Rinse pan well. Bring heavy cream to boil in pan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally Remove from heat and add chocolate and port and stir until mixture is smooth and chocolate is melted.
from Fine Cooking.