If cherries are in season, you can use those dark red beauties to make Mini Black Forest Bites for your next gathering. There is something luscious in pairing fresh cherries with fresh cream and chocolate and the visual appearance of those three together is, indeed, attractive. This bite size version is simple, yet stunning. You just need cherries, whipped cream and brownies. The reason we use brownies instead of chocolate cake, is that their dense and chewy texture make for an unforgettable bite, when combined with the juicy cherries and the freshness of whipped cream.
All three main components are made ahead of time: the Whipped Cream which is stored in the piping bag. The Cherries, which are pitted ahead of time and kept in the fridge. And the Brownies, which are baked, cut and kept on the counter.
You can go the Biterkin method for parties, which is having all components ready and assembling the Mini Black Forest Bites just before serving. Arranging and piping is all you have to do and chances are that when you pull out the piping bag, you will have volunteers who are asking to help you.
Mini Black Forest Bites for Parties
The stems of the cherries are first removed during the preparation stage and then put back. The purpose is to make these Mini Black Forest Bites as comfortable to eat at a gathering, as party food should be.
You may like to inform your guests that they are easily removed, to avoid the confusion that the stems are still attached to the cherry pit.
You can totally omit them if you like, as they serve only for decorating.
For assembling the Mini Black Forest Bites, you will need the following special equipment:
- piping bag: a disposable or regular piping bag, preferably medium size around 25 cm / 10 inches.
- piping tip: Use a round piping tip with 1.5 cm / 0.6 inches diameter or smaller.
- food clips to secure the piping bag
This recipe makes about 40 pieces, perfect for a party of 20-30 people.
You will need:
- one recipe for Brownies ( recipe follows )
- one batch Whipped Cream ( recipe follows )
- 40-50 Cherries ( preparation method follows )
- for decorating : small piece of chocolate for shaving or cocoa powder for dusting
Step 1 – Prepare ahead of time
- prepare the Brownies up to one month before; see storing options under the recipe
- prepare the Whipped Cream up to 1 day before. Store in the piping bag, in the refrigerator
- pit and cut the Cherries up to one day before
Step 2 – Assemble
You can serve them as soon as you make them.
Prepare your workplace; find the platter you will use and have everything ready and close by. The Brownie bites, the piping bag filled with the Whipped Cream, the Cherries and the piece of chocolate along with a microplane grater or regular grater. (If using cocoa powder instead, have a tea strainer ready, for dusting)
Arrange the Brownie bites on the platter, leaving 2 cm ( 0.8 inch ) spaces between the pieces. Using the piping bag with the Whipped Cream, pipe the amount equivalent to 1 tablespoon on each brownie bite. Shave some chocolate over them ( or dust with cocoa powder ). Arrange the cherry tops. If using the stems, fix them in the cherry tops.
Serve right away. They can be left at room temperature for 2 hours. On a hot day, they should not stay out of the fridge for more than 1 hour.
In an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 1 day. You can make them the day before and serve them, although the cherry juices may run over the cream.
Brownies recipe for Mini Black Forest Bites
Although you may use any other brownie you like, I recommend you use this recipe, as it yields a brownie with just 1.5 cm (0.4 inch) height. This makes it a perfect bite size.
- 120 gr butter, cut in slices ( about 4.2 ounces; 9 Tbs. )
- 200 gr bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped, around 50% – 60% cocoa solids ( about 7 ounces )
- 175 gr granulated sugar ( about 6.2 ounces; 3/4 cup )
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 120 gr flour ( about 4.2 ounce; 1 cup )
Step 1 – Prepare the brownie batter
Preheat the oven to 175ºC (350ºF).
Lightly grease the 23 cm (9 inch.) square pan. Cut a 23 cm (9 inch) width piece of parchment paper and attach it to the pan, leaving the sides overhanging. These will help you lift the brownie from the pan after it is baked.
Make a warm bath by filling a medium saucepan up to 1/3 with water and bringing it to a simmer. Put the eggs, sugar and salt in a heatproof bowl and place the bowl over the warm bath; the bottom of the bowl should not touch the boiling water. Keep whisking constantly with a whisk, until the sugar has melted. If you have an instant-read thermometer, it should read 60ºC / 140ºF. If not, you will know that it is ready when the eggs have loosened and no sugar crystals are felt when you check it between your fingers.
Over the simmering water, add the butter to the eggs and stir constantly with a silicone spatula until melted. Add the chocolate; stir well until melted. If necessary, use the whisk for a short time to help the chocolate homogenise, but quickly shift to the spatula again as soon as it starts melting.
Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Add the flour and with a silicone spatula stir vigorously for one whole minute. It will take 30 seconds for the flour to become incorporated into the batter. Then another 30 seconds of vigorous stirring for the batter to become glossy and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Do not shortcut, the batter is thick and it is difficult to stir, but it is important to get it stirred vigorously for the whole 30 seconds. If you do not give the attention and force needed to those 30 last seconds of stirring, your brownie will be a crumbly mess instead of a beautiful, chewy and shiny treat. Do not use a mixer, as it will incorporate too much air in the batter.
Step 2 – Bake and store
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Do not overbake.
Put the pan on a wire rack and leave to cool completely before removing the brownies from the pan and cutting in squares.
→ Should you like to cut neat, clean pieces, leave the cooled brownie briefly in the freezer for 20 minutes .
Remove the brownies from the pan and, using a long knife, cut the edges. Then cut it in 3 cm (about 1.2 inch.) pieces. It is highly recommended to use a ruler or a tape-measure.
→ For clean edges, cut in a vertical motion and wipe your knife with a damp cloth between cuts.
Preparing in advance and storing:
- at room temperature, in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Do not stack them in more than one layer, without putting a piece of baking paper between.
- in the fridge, in an airtight container, for up to one week
- in the freezer, cut in pieces, for up to one month. To freeze, lay a tray with baking paper and put the brownie pieces, uncovered, for 3-4 hours until hardened. When hard, put them in a sealable bag. To thaw, remove from the bag and lay them on a tray for one hour.
Whipped Cream recipe for Mini Black Forest Bites
The buttercream is used to stabilise the cream, it will help it to stay pipe-able for a day or two in the fridge. If you do not have any, you may use the same quantity of greek yogurt. Or you can leave it out, in which case it is advisable to whip the cream an hour or two before using.
- 320 gr heavy cream ( about 10.8 fl. oz; 320 ml; 1 & 1/3 cup )
- 80 gr regular white sugar ( about 2.8 oz. ; 6 Tbs. )
- 30 gr buttercream ( about 1 fl. oz. ; 2 Tbs. )
Step 1 – Prepare the Whipped Cream
Put the heavy cream and sugar in a bowl. Whip to firm peaks, with a whisk or a hand held mixer. It should have the consistency of thick yogurt and stand firmly on the back of a spoon. Avoid over whipping.
Step 2 – Fill the piping bag
Prepare the piping bag; if needed, cut the edge with scissors or a sharp knife. Fit on the piping tip. For clean storing, you can secure the space above the piping tip with a clip. This will keep the content of the piping bag safe until you are ready to use it. See photo:
Fill the piping bag with the Whipped Cream.
Secure the open side with a clip to close.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to use, and up to 1 day.
When you are ready to use, remove the clip that is close to the piping tip.
Wash the cherries and pat them dry. Remove the stems and set aside, if using as decoration. Remove the top of the cherry by using a sharp, narrated knife and cut each cherry in half lengthwise. If the pit is stuck on the top half, remove it with the tip of the knife, aiming to keep the top intact. Store the cherry tops in an airtight container, arranging them in single layers, layered with pieces of paper towel in between.
You can use the stems to decorate the Mini Black Forest Bites. Cut each stem in half and choose the best-looking 40-50 pieces; keep them wrapped in paper towel until needed.
Check the video:
The bottom halves can be devoured. The cherry pits can be used whole to infuse anything you love: check this article from Stella Parks for more ideas.
Note: I used a Greek cherry variety, which are big and firm. If yours are small and juicy, you may prefer to remove the pit and keep them whole, instead of cutting them in half. In this case, it may be tricky to put back the stems back for decoration, as the hole from removing the pit will be too big for the stems to stay in place.