Decadent cinnamon brownies with poached pears are a showstopper dinner party dessert you'll love! While it's not the simplest recipe to make, it is totally worth it! A combination of cinnamon brownies topped, poached pears, and dark chocolate ganache. You are going to love it!
This cinnamon brownies dessert is definitely a bit fancier than some others I usually share!
The incredible flavor combo features four amazing components; a cinnamon brownie base, rich fudgy ganache, spiced poached pear, and a thickened spice simple syrup.
This special dessert isn't difficult, but it does have a few steps and takes a bit of time to prepare. I find it works well for special occasions or when I have guests over for a dinner party.
It's one of the best desserts for a dinner party thanks to its rich, chocolate flavor and spectacular presentation! Serve it up at the end of the meal following dishes such as Grilled Stuffed Pork Tenderloin or Farro, Filet and Asparagus.
If you love cooking desserts with pears, you might enjoy this homemade pear crumble and spiced pear cake.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- An elegant dessert that isn't difficult to make but sure to impress!
- Chocolate and pears are an underrated flavor combination!
- Great instructions to walk you through making the best cinnamon brownies and poached pears!
The list of ingredients looks a bit long, but don't worry you likely already have some on hand and the rest are easy to find at the grocery store.
- Butter: We will be using butter to make the cinnamon brownies.
- Sugar: The brownies are made with brown sugar and regular granulated sugar is used to poach the pears.
- Eggs: Give some structure and texture to the cinnamon brownies.
- Vanilla: Just a touch of more natural sweetness in the brownies.
- Cinnamon: Use ground cinnamon for the brownies and cinnamon sticks for poaching the pears.
- Cocoa powder: Use unsweetened cocoa powder for the richest flavor and so you don't end up with overly sweet brownies.
- All-purpose flour: A basic flour that works best for cinnamon brownies.
- Pears: I like to use Bosc pears when making poached pears. They hold their shape nicely and are lightly sweet with a hint of tartness. You can also use Bartlett pears or Anjou pears.
- Lemon: Adds brightness to the poaching liquid and keeps the pears from browning.
- Other spices: Nutmeg and cloves add warm spiced flavors to the poached pears.
- Honey: Sweetens and thickens the poaching liquid to create a syrup to drizzle over the top of the finished dessert.
- Dark chocolate chips or chunks: You can also use semisweet chocolate or milk chocolate to make your ganache but I find the dark works best as it's not as sweet.
- Heavy cream: Mixed with the chocolate to make the ganache.
How to Make Cinnamon Brownies
To make things a bit simpler, let's break the different components down into steps! But also remember, you can also make the components on their own for an easier dessert!
Here you will find an overview, so be sure to check the recipe card for more detailed instructions.
We're starting with making the cinnamon brownies!
- Add your brown sugar and butter to a microwaveable bowl. Melt butter and sugar.
- Add in your cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Pour into a medium-sized bowl.
- Add the eggs to the container you used for melting the butter and sugar.
TOP TIP: Even with two teaspoons of cinnamon, the flavor is only subtle at best, so don't expect anything overwhelming. If you want a more intense cinnamon flavor, use three teaspoons instead!
- Mix the eggs before adding them to the butter mixture. It is easier to incorporate into the sugar mixture if you do.
- Next, sift in your dry ingredients. I love Hershey's dark cocoa and use it exclusively.
I like to measure the dry ingredients right into a fine mesh strainer to sift into a bowl.
- After the brownies are mixed, pour them into the pan and bake in the oven.
TOP TIP: I used these individual brownie pans for this recipe. I prefer this method rather than trying to cut them down to perfect squares. It was just easier. Plus, every brownie has a good crust on it, which I love!
How to Make Poached Pears
While your brownies are baking, start on the poached pears.
- Peel them as shown below leaving the stem intact.
- Add the pears to the boiling spiced simple syrup. Immediately reduce heat to low and simmer until tender.
- Move the pears occasionally to make sure they are cooked evenly. Check for doneness by inserting a sharp knife into the side carefully. When ready, remove the pears from the liquid and set them aside to cool slightly.
- Remove all but about two cups of liquid from the pan. Add in additional honey and bring it to a boil. Boil until it reduces down to a thickened syrup.
- When thickened remove it from the heat and pour it into a small bowl to cool a little. This syrup is so delicious and I could easily eat it on its own.
Make the Ganache
While the syrup is reducing, start your ganache.
- Add heated milk and butter to the chocolate chips. Let it sit in the hot milk for about 3-5 minutes before mixing.
- When the chocolate is melted, mix until smooth. If you need to, throw it back into the microwave for another 10-15 seconds. Set the ganache aside to cool slightly and thicken.
How to Make This Dinner Party Dessert
Once you've got all the components ready, it's time to put them together.
- Press a spoon down in the center of the cooled brownies to form a slight indention. This makes it much easier to balance the pear on top.
- Top each brownie with a few tablespoons of ganache on top of each brownie.
- Slice the bottom of the pear to make a flat surface to set on the brownie.
- Brush the simple syrup onto the pears. Y'all, looking at these photos again is making me so hungry!
- Serve it up on individual plates or a platter. Eat and enjoy!
How to Store
- Leftovers: Once assembled, I recommend serving this dessert right away! If you know you're going to have some left, keep the components separate and then put them together when you're ready to serve.
- Make ahead: The individual components except the poached pears can be made up to 24 hours in advance which is especially helpful when making this for a special occasion or dinner party.
- Freezer: The brownies can be made in advance and stored in the freezer for up to one month. Thaw them out on the countertop an hour or so before serving. I do not recommend freezing the pears.
- Use a special pan to make individual brownie squares for a more elegant look. However, if you use a regular pan, dip a knife in hot water and dry it off to make cleaner cuts.
- Slice off the bottom of the pears after cooking so they have a flat edge. This will stabilize the pears and make them stand up better.
- Don't skip the ganache. It does more than just taste great! It's also the "glue" that holds the pear in place.
- Make the poached pears within a few hours of serving. Though the lemon juice helps keep them from browning, they can still turn colors if made too far in advance.
- These brownies are awesome on their own, topped with chocolate buttercream or ganache, and served with ice cream!
Choose pears that feel firm when gently squeezed. Choosing pears that are too ripe will turn to mush when poached.
Use a sharp knife or a peeler, whichever you are most comfortable using. Go from bottom to top, rather than around. Be gentle to avoid bruising the pear, they are quite sensitive.
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Cinnamon Brownies with Poached Pears
- 1 cup butter
- 1½ cup brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon if you want a stronger cinnamon flavor, use 3 teaspoons.
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ⅔ cup all purpose flour
- 6 pears
- 2 quarts water
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cloves
- ½ cup honey
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
- ¼ cup heavy cream
Make the Cinnamon Brownies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare the pan for the brownies with a nonstick pan spray or brush with melted butter. If you are using a 9 x 9 pan, I like to line with parchment so the brownies are easy to remove and cut. Set the pan aside.
- Add butter and brown sugar to a microwaveable bowl. Microwave on high until the butter is melted. Make sure and mix well.
- Pour mixture into medium size bowl.
- Add eggs to the microwave bowl and mix. I do this just to save bowls. I don't dirty any more dishes then I absolutely have to, as I go through a lot of dishes a day! Once the eggs are mixed, add them to the butter mixture.
- Add in vanilla and salt to the butter mixture as well and mix well.
- Last is the dry ingredients. Add the cocoa powder, flour, and cinnamon to a fine mesh strainer over your bowl and tap until all ingredients fall into bowl. Fold until all are combined.
- Now, pour into your pans and place in a preheated oven.
- If you are using individual pans they take about 10-15 minutes to bake. In the larger pan, it takes about 30-45 minutes. You can use the toothpick to check.
- Allow the brownies to cool for several minutes in the pan before removing. If you used the individual pans, invert over a cooling rack. You may need to help them out a little by running a knife carefully around the edges and gently prying out.
- If you have used the 9x9 pan, simply lift the parchment to remove from the pan.
- Add water, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to pot and bring to a boil over high heat.
- While liquid is coming to a boil, carefully peel pears. You can use a knife or peeler. I prefer the peeler, as I get more consistent peels this way. I find it easier to start at the bottom and peel towards the top. Do this carefully as you don't want to bruise the pears.
- Add peeled pears to the simple syrup mixture in the pot. Turn heat to medium low and simmer until pears are tender. Mine took about 15 minutes. This will depend on the thickness of pears and heat of the water. To test, carefully insert a sharp knife in the side of the pear.
- Remove pears carefully from liquid and set aside. Now, remove all but about 2 cups of the liquid from pan, including the cinnamon sticks. Add in ½ cup honey. Turn to medium high heat and cook, stirring occasionally until the liquid is reduced and thickened. If you are using a pan that does not have a thick bottom, keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn. I used my thick bottom cast iron enameled pan, so it was good. Let me tell you, this will taste just as good as it smells. It is thick, and so tasty! I love to brush my pears with this thickened simple syrup.
- Place chocolate in a small bowl.
- Heat butter and milk over medium heat on cooktop in small saucepan. You will want to bring this to just under a boil.
- Pour milk and heavy cream over chocolate. Allow this to sit for about 5 minutes. Once it has set and the chocolate is starting to melt, whisk. Get it nice and smooth. You might need to throw it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds. I let mine cool just a touch, so it was a little thicker when I spread it on.
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