Hibiscus and cherry brownies with coconut caramel

Hibiscus and cherry brownies with coconut caramel

Sticky Fingers Green Thumb
Tara Pearce, Tim Hillier

Unapologetically indulgent, these fudgy, boozy brownies are drenched in a caramel ode to the tropics. If you can, soak the hibiscus and cherries in wine for as long as possible. Then, save the strained liquid to make a fruity sangria reward.


Quantity Ingredient
285g good-quality dark chocolate (approx. 60% cocoa solids)
115g unsalted butter
240g raw (demerara) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons star anise, freshly ground
1/4 teaspoon cloves, freshly ground
240g plain (all-purpose) flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
dutch (unsweetened) cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)

Hibiscus and cherry soak

Quantity Ingredient
25g hibiscus petals, fresh or preserved
300g morello cherries, pitted
500ml red wine
250ml sherry
1 cinnamon stick
3 star anise, whole

Coconut caramel sauce

Quantity Ingredient
125ml coconut milk
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
220g coconut sugar
60ml water
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature


  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C. Grease and line a 30 × 20 cm brownie tin with baking paper.
  2. For the hibiscus and cherry soak, bring all the ingredients to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan. Reduce the heat to medium–low and simmer gently for 10 minutes, then remove from the heat, transfer to a container and leave to steep for a minimum of 1 hour, ideally overnight.
  3. When ready to bake, gently melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of lightly simmering water, stirring until completely smooth. Remove from the heat and leave to cool until lukewarm, then whisk in the sugar, vanilla and eggs until evenly combined. Remove the cherries and petals from the steeping liquid and fold them gently into the brownie mixture together with the spices, flour and salt to form a batter.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 20 minutes, or until set on the surface and lightly puffed up around the edges (this will give you the nice, gooey centre you are after here – so be sure not to over-bake!).
  5. While the brownies are baking, make the coconut caramel sauce. Warm the coconut milk in a small heavy-based saucepan set over a low heat. In a separate saucepan, whisk together the corn syrup, coconut sugar and water over a medium heat. Continue to whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved, then bring to the boil. Leave to bubble and froth up for 2–3 minutes, then reduce the heat to low and carefully pour over the warm coconut milk. Add the butter and whisk to combine, then remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  6. Remove the brownies from the oven and leave to cool in the tin, then cut into pieces. Dust with a little cocoa powder, if you like, and pour over the coconut caramel sauce to serve.

Think tropical

  • With varieties including Flamenco, Chiffon Breeze and Long Tan, hibiscus plants should be given the island treatment they deserve. Plant them in warm conditions in northerly light and water regularly for best results.
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