Recipes: Gina Ferwerda's brownies, burgers for Fourth of July

Cherry recipes with Gina Ferwerda

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - It's 4th of July weekend and it's also the start of cherry season across the state! Food blogger Gina Ferwarda joined the Weekend Morning team with her ideas for both.  

"It's cherry season in Michigan and here is my easy way to make Chocolate Fudge Triple Cherry Brownies," said Ferwarda. "They are easy, super moist and delicious. Here in Michigan, cherries come into season at the beginning of July. I like to make home made cherry pie filling and use it in several different ways, since cherries aren't in season. 

Chocolate Fudge Triple Cherry Brownies

INGREDIENTS:

1 box chocolate fudge brownie mix & all the ingredients listed on back (usually eggs, oil and water)
1 cup cherry pie filling (recipe below)
1/4 cup black sweet cherries, pitted and halved
2 tablespoons dried cherries

Cherry Pie Filling:
1 cup fresh tart cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Prepare the brownie mix, according to the instructions on the box. Gently fold in all of the cherries, mix thoroughly and pour batter into 9x13 pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean.

In a medium saucepan, add cherries, cornstarch, sugar, water, almond extract and lemon juice over medium heat. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool.

If using frozen cherries, let thaw completely. Add a pinch more of cornstarch because frozen cherries tend to have more water content than fresh cherries. Make sure the cherry filling thickens or the brownies won't have the right consistency.

Ferwarda also shared some other easy, Fourth of July recipes that would wow your guests at any backyard cookout or fireworks viewing.

"I love to find products that serve a dual purpose and this bacon horseradish dip does just that! This is one of my easy entertaining tips for the 4th of July," Ferwarda said. "I use this dip with chips, crackers and a cruditè platter. And I also use it to make these awesome Bacon Horseradish Cheddar Stuffed Cheeseburgers.

Grill these for your 4th of July party and everyone will be asking for the recipe."

Ferwarda said that once you're done grilling, a good tip is too add these to a slow-cooker and keep on warm.

"Simply add some cookie cutters to the bottom of a slow-cooker and add some water and keep on warm," Ferwarda said. "Add the burgers to the slow-cooker and the steam will help keep them juicy and warm, without drying out."

Bacon Horseradish Cheddar Stuffed Cheeseburgers

INGREDIENTS: 

8 slices thick-cut maple bacon

Patties:
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (80/20) – (I freshly grind my own meat blend of chuck, short rib and brisket, but ground chuck 80/20 works well)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup Heluva Good! Bacon Horseradish Dip
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

4 slices cheddar cheese
4 hamburger buns, split
1/4 cup Heluva Good! Bacon Horseradish Dip
Mixed salad greens
Thinly sliced red onions
Tomato slices

PREPARATION:
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place bacon on a slotted or parchment-lined pan and cook in oven for 17 to 20 minutes, or until desired doneness. Lay bacon on paper towels to drain. Set aside until assembly.

Heat a grill to medium-high.

To make the patties, gently combine the chuck and soy sauce. Form into 8 even thin patties. Add equal amounts of shredded cheddar in the center of 4 patties, followed by a dollop of bacon horseradish dish on top of cheese. Top each with another patty and seal the edges, sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Grill burgers over medium-high heat for approximately 5 minutes each side (or to desired doneness). Add the cheese slices during the last few minutes of grilling. Lightly grill the cut sides of the buns.

To assemble, spread the Heluva Good! Bacon Horseradish Dip over the cut sides of the toasted buns. Top each bun bottom with some of the mixed greens, followed by a patty. Add some bacon, onions and tomatoes. Attach the bun tops and enjoy!

Note: The Heluva Good! Bacon Horseradish Dip is at Meijer near the sour cream section.

Gina also has her first cookbook coming out! "Meals From The Mitten" is now available for pre-sale here. The book will debut in the Spring of 2018 and is $35. 

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