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Cherry brownies. Photo courtesy
AllisonsGourmet.com, specialist in vegan
The legend of George Washington and the cherry tree was an invention of book agent Mason Locke Weems, in his 1800 biography, “The Life of Washington.” The cherry tree has been associated with Washington ever since.
Washington’s Birthday was declared a federal holiday by Congress in 1880,* the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen.
*Initially the holiday was for government offices in the District of Columbia. It was expanded to include all federal offices in 1885. State government offices, including schools, followed suit, followed by banks and other businesses. The holiday was celebrated on Washington’s actual birthday, February 22, until 1971, when it was shifted to the third Monday in February and combined with the Lincoln’s Birthday celebration to allow federal employees a three-day weekend.
Cherry pie, typically made with canned tart cherries, became a popular way to celebrate the day. Over the years, many other cherry recipes followed.
Alas for those who like fresh ingredients, cherry season is in summer. But quality canned cherries (we like Chukar Cherries) and dried cherries enable cooks and bakers to express their patriotism—or at least, use the occasion to make something different.
For the President’s Day weekend, a batch of cherry brownies will hit the spot with your family and friends:
Prepare your favorite brownie recipe. Here’s a rich brownie recipe. Cut the nuts in the recipe in half (or omit them) to accommodate the cherries.
Soak 1/2 to 1 cup of dried cherries moistened with Kirsch (cherry brandy), rum or other favorite spirit.
Mix a half cup of the cherries into the brownie batter and/or press them into the top of the brownies when you remove the pan from the oven. There’s no need to drain the spirits: They make the brownies taste that much better!
Prefer a chocolate chip cookie? Here’s our recipe for yummy cherry chocolate chip cookies.
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