Cherry Garcia ice cream is one of my favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavors. It is made with cherry ice cream that is studded generously with chunks of cherries and chocolate. This Cherry Chocolate Chip Bread is inspired by that ice cream – and by a huge basket full of fresh cherries that was sitting in my kitchen. The quick bread is loaded up with cherries and chocolate, ensuring that you get some chocolate and some cherry in every bite you take.
The bread is moist, tender and very flavorful, though most of the flavor comes from those mix ins of cherries and chocolate. The bread itself is flavored with vanilla and almond extracts – both of which serve to enhance the sweetness of the cherries – and a little bit of kirsch. Kirsch is a cherry liqueur that I often use in cherry recipes to boost the natural flavor of the cherries and help it to stand out. In this case, it gives the bread a slightly cherry flavor overall and makes it more similar to the ice cream flavor that inspired it, though it doesn’t overwhelm the flavors from the chocolate or the cherries themselves. The kirsch can be left out, but it is a nice touch for a cherry lover in this recipe.
If you don’t have fresh cherries, you can use frozen cherries or drained jarred cherries. I prefer to use sweet black cherries in this recipe instead of tart cherries, though some people really like tart cherries in pies and other baked goods, but I think that the sweeter cherries work better with the dark chocolate chips. Fresh cherries should be pitted before being incorporated into the batter. Frozen cherries typically come already pitted, and can be stirred in without bring defrosted first. Bread made with frozen cherries may need an extra couple of minutes of baking time.
Cherry Chocolate Chip Bread
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup milk, any kind
2 tbsp Kirsch (optional)
2 cups whole or halved sweet cherries, fresh or frozen
1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a 9×5-inch baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, vegetable oil and egg until smooth. Whisk in vanilla and almond extracts, as well as the Kirsch, if using. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the milk. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, mixing just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain. Stir in the cherries and chocolate chips until evenly distributed.
Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow loaf to cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.