These Black Forest Brownie Bars are a chocolate lover’s dream! Rich and fudgy brownies are topped with homemade whipped cream and finished with a sweet cherry filling and then are cut into perfect handheld bars.
This is an incredibly simple dessert to make that’s both easy to hold and irresistibly delicious!
These are by far my favorite brownie recipes and in my house, rich, fudgy brownies are always a winning dessert. From the fudgy middle to the slightly crisp yet chewy edges of brownies, every bite is pure perfection – I mean what’s not to love? And while there’s nothing wrong with the good ol’ classic, there’s something special about dressing them up to create the ultimate decadent sweet treat. It’s the only way!
Black Forest Brownie Bars are a fun twist on the traditional fudge brownie. This recipe takes the classic, makes it fudgier, and dresses it up with a creamy whipped topping and tart cherry filling. And the finished product is an elegant yet oh-so-easy dessert to make that will turn any celebration into a bit more sophisticated affair!
These handheld treats are tasty and beautiful enough to serve at holiday family get-togethers, elegant enough for a special occasion, or is sweet enough to finish off an at-home date night for two!
black forest brownie bar ingredients
- unsalted butter
- granulated sugar
- brown sugar
- vanilla extract
- all-purpose flour
- cocoa powder
- chocolate chip
Brown sugar: Feel free to use light or dark brown sugar. In this recipe, I prefer the deeper, richer caramel flavors of dark, but if you prefer the sweeter tastes of light brown or that’s all you have on hand, use that instead!
Pure vanilla extract: Using a high-quality pure vanilla extract gives a subtle rich sweet flavor while also bringing out the flavors of the other ingredients in the batter.
Cocoa powder: Be sure you use unsweetened cocoa powder in this recipe. By using unsweetened it allows you to control the amount of sugar in the final product.
how to make black forest brownie recipe
Prep Time-35 minutes.
Total time to enjoy these amazing treat is 1 hour and 15 minutes
STEP ONE: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare an 8×8 inch square baking dish with parchment. Set aside.
STEP TWO: In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate in 20-second increments, stirring after each round. Once melted, pour into a large separate bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
STEP THREE: To the cooled melted chocolate, whisk in sugars. Then, add in eggs, one at a time, stirring until smooth and vanilla. Next, gently fold in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir in the remaining chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using a spatula, evenly spread out the batter.
STEP FOUR: Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.
Once they are cooled, it’s time to break out that homemade whipped topping!
whipped topping ingredients
- heavy whipping cream
- confectioner’s sugar
- vanilla extract
Heavy whipping cream: You can use heavy whipping cream or heavy cream as these two products will hold its shape longer when whipped. I would not recommend using whipping cream as it’s lighter (only contains 30% milk fat) and won’t hold the shape as long.
how to make homemade whip cream
STEP ONE: Place a large bowl and mixing beaters in the fridge to chill for 20-30 minutes before making whipped cream.
STEP TWO: When ready to make, beat heavy cream until thick. Then add in confectioner’s sugar and beat until stiff peaks are formed. Top cooled bars with homemade whipped topping.
cherry topping ingredients
- granulated sugar
- lemon juice
Cherries: For best results, use fresh cherries. However, feel free to use maraschino cherries or make topping even simpler and top with prepared cherry pie filling.
how to make cherry topping
STEP ONE: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine cherry and sugar and cook until cherries soften and release their juices, approximately 2-3 minutes.
STEP TWO: Stir in lemon juice and cut cherries in half with a side of a spoon. Allow them to simmer for 5 minutes or until the sugar dissolves and the syrup thickens.
STEP THREE: Make a cornstarch slurry and stir into the saucepan. Bring to a boil for 30 seconds. Pour into a small bowl and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
STEP FOUR: Finish black forest brownie bars with cooled cherry topping.
how to store
Store leftover black forest bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Because they are made with fresh ingredients such as milk I do not recommend leaving them out at room temperature.
can i freeze these black forest brownies?
I do not recommend freezing an assembled black forest bar as the whipped cream will breakdown and become runny once frozen and thawed.
You can, however, freeze the black forest bottom. Prepare the rich fudgy bottom according to recipe and allow the base to completely cool. Once cooled, place in a freezer-friendly container or bag for up to 3 months.
When ready to enjoy, allow brownie to thaw overnight in the fridge. Then, whip up the whipped topping and cherry sauce when ready to serve!
can i make this recipe in a 9×13 baking dish?
Of course! Just double the recipe, bake, and assemble according to card.
- what makes brownies fudgy or cakey? Achieving a fudgy brownie is all to do with the ratio of fat to flour. A fudgy brownie recipe will use more fat than flour. Typically this is achieved by adding more butter/oil to your brownie recipe. A cakey brownie recipe will call for more flour in the ratio of fat to flour.
- what are the different types of brownies? Brownie textures fall into three general camps… Cakey, fudgy and chewy. Cakey brownies, like the name implies, are light, moist and airy, and so fluffy, cake-like interior. Fudgy brownies are moist, dense and gooey, with almost the texture of fudge, but not quite as compact.
- Want chocolate shavings? Using a vegetable peeler, shave the edge of a chocolate bar for narrow curls or the side of a chocolate bar for wider curls. For ease you can store chocolate curls in an airtight container in the freezer so that they stay fresh and don’t melt!
bbqbakers tips and tricks
- Feel free to use dark, milk, or semi-sweet chips for the black forest dough
- Yes, frozen cherries can be used to make the cherry sauce!
- Swap in maraschino cherries for the fresh or if you’d like to make this even easier, spoon pre-made cherry pie filling on top!
- When making the whipped topping, be sure to chill the bowl and beaters for 30 minutes before making the cream
- To make even simpler, feel free to use store-bought whipped topping
- Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate sweet treat!
Black Forest Brownie Bars are the perfect brownie dessert to treat your family and friends to on Valentine’s Day, or Sunday afternoon snack!
more easy desserts to try
- Copycat Starbucks Oat Fudge Bars
- Apple Crisp Squares
- Strawberry Rhubarb Squares
- Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies
- Gingerbread Squares
- S’mores Cookie Bars
- Cookies and Cream Bars
Black Forest Bars
Black Forest Dough
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup light or dark brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips semi-sweet, milk or dark… you choose
- ¾ cup heavy whipped cream Cold
- ⅓ cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup whole cherries
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
Black Forest Dough
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 8-inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides to easily lift the brownies out of the pan when cool. Set aside
- Melt ½ cup butter and ½ cup chocolate in a medium microwave safe bowl in 20 second increments, stirring after each round in the microwave. Remove from the heat, pour into a large mixing bowl and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Whisk the ½ cup granulated sugar and ½ cup brown sugar into the cooled chocolate/butter mixture. Add the 3 eggs, one at a time, stirring until smooth. Whisk in the 1 tsp vanilla. Gently fold in the ¾ cup flour, ¼ cup cocoa powder and ½ tsp salt. Stir in remainder of chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan. The batter is thick so be prepared to spread into the corners of the pan.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until the edges begin to pull away from the side of the pan. A toothpick can be inserted in the center and should come with moist crumbs and voila done!
- Place a mixing bowl and the beaters for an electric mixer in the fridge to chill for 20 to 30 minutes (so your whipped cream will be extra stiff).
- Beat the ½ cup of heavy cream until it thickens, then add the ⅓ cup confectioner's sugar and beat until the cream holds stiff peaks.
- Spread whipped topping on the cooled brownie begin the cheery topping.
- Combine 1 cup cherries and 1 tbsp. sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until cherries soften and release their juices, roughly 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in 1 tbsp. lemon juice and break the cherries down and cut them in half with the side of a spoon. Simmer for 5 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup thickens.
- Combine corn starch and water to make a slurry and then add to the saucepan. Stir it in and boil for 30 seconds to thicken. Pour it out into a bowl and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
- Top the baked black forest bottom with freshly made whipped topping and cooled cherries.
- Cover leftover black forest bars and store in refrigerator covered for up to 1 day or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Freezing Instructions: Freeze black forest bottom in single layers between sheets of parchment paper in a freezer-friendly container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. The whipped topping and cherries are best served fresh.
- 9×13 Inch Pan: Feeding a kingdom, this recipe should double easily for a 9×13 inch size pan.
- Use fresh cherries (if they are in season) however, like me if you are in a cooler climate they are not always available. Maraschino Cherries can be substituted, just use half the juice in the jar.