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It’s amazing quite how quickly holiday memories can fade into dust, especially when you have a little over 16 hours at home before you find yourself back at the airport and about to hop on another plane to head back to your office on the other side of the Atlantic.

I was never particularly the kind of person who knew what they wanted to do with their lives – I still don’t really. There’s a long running joke in my family that we all become accountants while we figure out what we want to do when we grow up.

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In a couple of weeks, I will have been in my job for eight years. It seems like an awfully long time to spend in the same place, although given that most of my work is project-based, I have worked in plenty of different environments in that time. People quite often ask me if I’m planning to give up my job to focus on blogging full-time to which my answer is always exactly the same: absolutely not.

For a start, we have an intimidatingly large mortgage and I’m not sure there are enough sponsored posts in the world to allow me to pay my share. Most importantly though, I quite like my job and, despite semi-frequent bouts of insecurity, I’m actually quite good at it.

As with many similar organisations, we operate a hierarchical structure. Within the last eight years, I’ve progressed to the stage where I’m now at a relatively senior level, albeit on the lowest rung of that ladder. It quite often comes as a shock to me when I realise that I’m the most senior person in the room or that people are looking to me for expertise in my field. It’s not so much a case of imposter syndrome (although I have my moments) but more the fact that, as I scamper around the office barefoot or am unable to stop giggling at an unintended innuendo,  I find it hard to believe that I’m considered a professional grown up now.

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A few weeks ago, a pupil from my old school came to do a week’s work experience in my office. She got in touch with me after a gave a careers talk and so I felt a certain degree of responsibility for her. One afternoon, we went to grab a coffee and ended up sat in Starbucks for hours, alternating between serious life discussions and gossiping about teachers that we both knew. Going back to my desk afterwards was disconcerting; the emails and instant messages that were demanding my attention seemed like they were meant for someone much more responsible than me. Surely I was only 16 too and not comfortably into my 30’s?

It was her first real introduction to working in a “professional” environment and at the end of her week, she told me that the thing that surprised her the most was how much fun we appeared to be having. I think this may have been partly because myself and a couple of colleagues spent most of the week engaged in what quickly became known as brownie wars.

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Each day, someone brought in a different offering using their own pet recipe. Some people went down a classic route, others, like me, jazzed up their brownies with all sorts of add-ins. I like a good, squidgy, rich brownie – I don’t necessarily want it underbaked but there needs to be a certain amount of give. Time and time again, I come back to this base recipe and have found that it’s sturdy enough to cope with whatever you want to throw at it – in this case, the classic combination of cherries and almonds.

Although we didn’t declare an official winner of our brownie wars, in my own mind, the victory was most definitely mine.

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flourless cherry and almond brownies {gluten free}

Yield: 25 small brownies (or 16 larger brownies)

These brownies are super rich, mainly due to the rather large amount of chocolate in the batter. I tend to cut them pretty small as a result and find you don't need more than a little nibble really to satisfy the brownie craving (sort of). The almond flavour is not particularly pronounced in these but if you want to, you can add a touch of almond extract for a more marzipan-y taste.

Ingredients

  • 300g (12 oz) dark chocolate, 70% solids
  • 175g (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 170g (3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) demerara sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or swap in 1/2 teaspoon almond extract)
  • 50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds
  • 35g (1/2 cup) cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 150g - 200g (6 - 8oz) fresh cherries, stoned and halved
  • Flaked almonds, for scattering on top

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a 23cm square tin with greased paper.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a bowl of barely simmering water, stirring constantly until it's all liquidy. Pour the chocolate mixture into a bowl, add the sugar and beat well. Add the eggs, one by one, followed by the vanilla (or almond if you prefer) and continue to mix until combined. Finally, gently mix in all of the dry ingredients.
  3. Pour the batter into the tin, and scatter the cherries on top. I like to leave some on the surface and push others in a bit deeper. Finally, throw some flaked almonds on top for a bit of crunch.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes until just firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely (ideally overnight) before cutting.

Notes

Adapted from my basic flourless brownie recipe

http://londonbakes.com/2014/08/flourless-cherry-and-almond-brownies-gluten-free.html
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39 Responses to "flourless cherry and almond brownies {gluten free}"
  1. They look so great! I was looking at a flourless brownie recipe, I think I’ll try this recipe as soon as possible!

  2. cynthia says:

    I LOVE your flourless brownies, Kathryn! SO so much. It’s my go-to brownie recipe (and then I freeze it for later and end up eating frozen brownies inside the freezer door — real talk). So I’m gonna go ahead and declare you the winner too based on my impartial experience. I adore the idea of cherries in these.

    And as always, I so love reading your lovely narratives of what you have going on in your life. I especially love hearing that you’re happy in your career! It’s one thing to hear the stories where someone makes a living out of blogging and gets to do what they love, and although that’s thrilling, I think it’s equally thrilling to find someone who loves what they do and it is a more traditional route. So while I wouldn’t say no to full-time London Bakes goodness (!) I loved reading this post. Thank you so much for sharing :)

  3. Rachel says:

    I want to work somewhere where there are brownie wars.

  4. I relate to this so much, minus (so sadly!) the daily brownie wars, but especially to the part about feeling like, “what!, I’m a grownup!” Feeling that SO SO SO MUCH lately. I am so thankful that adults gave me baked goods when I was a kid and that life’s given me the ability to bake things as an adult because at least sweet treats can be the one constant no matter how old I get. These look excellent.

  5. Todd Wagner says:

    I agree with cynthia, I love reading your posts so much!! It put a smile on my face hearing you talk about your job. Sure, it can be difficult at times – you didn’t sugarcoat it. But you also recognize all the good in your situation. I think that’s really important to hear, so thank you! Plus, brownie wars? YESSS

  6. I am currently looking for a job, and it is super stressful! Moving to a new place is making it a little hard for me. I am hoping one day I will make it to eight years at one job!
    These brownies look amazing! I am totally craving them right now!

  7. Joyti says:

    OMG, flourless brownies! These must be so rich and fudge-y, yum!

    As for your narrative, it was lovely and interesting and very timely for me. I just finished my graduate program (I totally find it hard to believe I’m supposed to be a grown-up now too) and am trying to figure my way in my career. It’s great to hear of someone feeling satisfied with their job – it seems increasingly rare these days.

  8. I love the narrative in this post, I feel the exact same way most days! Surely I can’t be working this job where they trust me to do these things, but such is life. A brownie or 2 doesn’t hurt things either! : )

  9. Your brownies look absolutely delicious :-) x

  10. Lindsey says:

    i’m so happy to hear that there is someone who loves their job! i find it quite rare to hear nowadays. and i completely hear you about coming home from vacation to real life and feeling like the vacation never existed! why is that!?

    if these lovely brownies are anything like your flourless salted dark chocolate cookies, i’m in! and yay for squidgy brownies!

  11. Hi there,

    thanks for sharing your thoughts, I really enjoyed reading your post.

    It’s funny because I am not sure I feel grown up either. I’m a mother, a wife and have a mortgage too and yet, I don’t feel a day over 25 (although sadly I do look it ;)). And generally speaking I think the body ages quicker than the mind. In fact I actually hope I’ll still feel young and fresh when I’m 70! (Although truth be told, I was rather annoyed at the teenagers in the park listening to rap music today, which is a CLEAR sign I am def. getting older!)

    The brownies look deliciously moreish. YUM!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Kimberly

  12. Christine says:

    I love brownies that are a bit on the fudgey side! Plus cherries and almonds… I’d say you’re the winner of the brownie wars too! I can’t help feeling that this is what my workplace is missing? ;)

  13. Wow these look incredible – so rich and decadent! What a beautiful flavour too, I just adore cherries.

  14. Your office sounds like mine, people are OBSESSED with cake! Cherries in brownies are so good, 100% favourite x

  15. I can 100% sympathize with the “not feeling like a grown up” syndrome. Despite fast approaching 30, expecting my first child and for the first time in my life having a savings account with money in it… I still feel like I’m 18.
    I wonder if we will ever out grow this feeling?

    Love the look of these brownies btw, never made a flourless recipe before, so may need to give them a go. :)

  16. Laura says:

    I’m American, but I’ve begun baking by weight. I’m so glad to find something I don’t have to try to convert from cups to weight! I’m also happy to find something gluten free that I don’t have to try to convert to a gluten free recipe. Sometimes it takes a little niggling to get it right. These look decadently delicious. One question, I’m assuming by ground almonds, you mean almond meal or almond flour, yes?

    • kathryn says:

      Hi Laura, I do indeed mean almond meal/flour. I think that our ground almonds in the UK are slightly close to almond meal but it doesn’t make a huge amount of difference.

  17. I wish my office had brownie wars! One of the things I like most about my job is that it is project based. This means I never get bored, but it also means I never really settle feeling as an expert in anything. I’m working at casting my net a bit wider in the realm I am an actual expert in, but that scares me! Thanks for the recipe, it looks just the thing I’m in the mood for right now.

  18. These brownies own my <3. And that's that.

  19. Squidgy brownies are the best. :) Love the addition of cherries & the fact they’re GF!

    I was an English major so I’m the heel of a lot of jokes, I’m also (still) trying to decipher a mercurial life compass. Sometimes I think I’d like to blog for a living but I doubt I’d be able to support my “hippie” food preference on that salary. What matters is that we find crumbs and slices of happiness everyday; it sounds as though you’ve found a cosy niche. :-)

  20. Dom says:

    so stunning and so amazing that these are flourless too… I love it when you capture the fruit in a bake like this, it’s like you’ve distilled the essence of the goodness of the fruit and made it better by adding chocolate!

  21. I’ve been asked that question too, and it’s so hard because blogging so great, but we have bills to pay! Maybe one day, but in the meanwhile, we can eat brownies and be happy with that!

  22. I love, love, love this post. I often get the same question, people asking me if I’d leave my job in favor of blogging full-time and my answer/thoughts about it are quite similar to yours (especially about that mortgage, eeeeep).

    Also, brownie wars in your office! How fun! These certainly do look like a victor’s brownies to me.

  23. Medeja says:

    Cherries.. Yummy! I just love chocolate and cherries :)

  24. Oh this looks downright incredible!!

  25. If Cynthia is my mini cake queen, you most definitely are my brownie queen. These look luscious! Absolutely luscious.

    Cheers to being a grown up without feeling like it at all!

  26. Kathryn I haven’t read your blog in a couple of weeks but reading this post just reminds me why I keep coming back. It’s not only because of the awesome recipes but I love reading your posts about your thoughts and daily life which I think most of us would write in a very ”meh” way. You are so open and sincere and may I just say I see myself thinking about so many of the same things (as a nurse: surely I can’t be almost 30 and in charge of people’s lives and medications!). Enjoy the US.

  27. amy says:

    I’m in awe of your posting schedule, photography and recipe skills, AND ability to move up the corporate ladder all at once! There’s nothing wrong with being an accountant who also engages in brownie wars–I think it’s called “work/life balance.” : )

  28. Alanna says:

    Goodness! First of all, I saw these yesterday and have not been able to get them out of my head. These are pretty much my ideal dessert. That brownie base sounds superb, and those jewel-like cherries glistening on top are pure temptation. Secondly, I’m way impressed by your mad career skillz. For someone who doesn’t know what she wants to do in life, I’d say you fake it pretty good. Kudos to you for all of your talent!

  29. I get asked the same question too about quitting my job and going full-time blogging. It’s tempting but I hear ya – it’s hard and the mortgage is always going to be there! Seems like you’re doing a pretty good job balancing it all though! I love the combination of cherry and almond in this brownie! What a great treat!

  30. Teffy Perk says:

    This looks so so good!!
    Do you think if I subbed coconut sugar for the demerera that could work??

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

  31. I love this Kathryn! They look so delicious and love the classic combination!
    Can’t believe you’ve had your job for 8 years!

    ps. you totally won the best brownies!

  32. Joanne says:

    It is sometimes crazy to think that we’re actually responsible for things and not in high school anymore. I’ve had to train quite a few people who are chronologically older than me at work and it is always a bit crazy to think about.

    Brownie wars sound AWESOME. I think I need to have one of these within my lab. Pronto.

  33. Kristie says:

    You win the brownie war, in my opinion. These look incredible! I can’t wait to make these for my husband, the brownie monster.

  34. Kathryn, I too like a squidgy brownie. And these look perfect. Cherries and almonds are one of those magical combinations as well.

  35. Claudia says:

    These turned out absolutely amazing. Thank you for such a fabulous recipe. There is no doubt that this one is THE winner.

  36. My goodness, of course I have no idea what the other brownies in the ‘brownie wars’ were, but I think I can quite safely declare you the winner, too. I just love the very idea of a gooey brownie full of cherries. Mmmmmm ….

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