Chocolate Cherry Merlot Brownies

Recipe Source: Bernie’s Mom (Georgette Wilson)
Serves: Makes 16 brownies

INGREDIENTS:
1 1/4 cups (6-ounce package) dried sweet cherries, chopped.  As alternate can use sweetened dried cranberries.
1/2 cup Merlot wine
8 ounces NESTLE CHOCOLATIER 53% Cacao Dark Chocolate Baking Bars, broken into small pieces
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease 9-inch square baking pan.

MICROWAVE small chocolate pieces in small, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 45 seconds; STIR.  If pieces retain some of their original shape, microwave an additional 10-15 second intervals, stirring until just melted; cool to room temperature.

COMBINE flour and salt in a small bowl.  Beat sugar and butter in medium mixer bowl until well mixed.  Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in melted chocolate and vanilla extract.  Stir in flour mixture until blended.  Stir in drained cherries.  Spread into prepared pan.

BAKE
for 33 to 37 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky.  Cool completely in pan on wire rack.  Cut into bars.

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