Eventually I'll get back to reviewing chocolate, but I seem to be on a roll with these 'alcoholic' brownies. The other day I did a variation on Butter 'Scotch" Brownies for National Butterscotch Browning day, so today I thought I might do Red Wine Brownies. Murder on the Menu/TeamBuilding Unlimited, my interactive entertainment and teambuilding company, does chocolate tastings, and often we do Wine and Chocolate tastings, so this would be a oneshot one-shot.
Here are two very different recipes. Give them both a try and see which one works best for you.
1. Red Wine Brownies
1 cup Merlot
3/4 cup butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate (always choose the very best)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup toasted chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts)-optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease (o.k. I use butter) a 13x9-inch baking pan. In a small saucepan, simmer wine over medium heat until reduced to 1/4 cup. Pour into large bowl and set aside. In top of a double boiler, melt butter and chocolate. Pour into wine and whisk until smooth.
In top of double boiler, whisk together eggs, sugar, and vanilla until very light and thick. Pour into chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Stir in flour and ½ cup nuts. Pour into pan and sprinkle with remaining nuts.
Bake 40-45 minutes (give it the toothpick test)
I think this is a great icing for the brownies above. Let the brownies cool before frosting.
Chocolate Wine Ganache for the Icing from Brownies Chocolate-Wine Ganaches in Diana's Recipe Book
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 tablespoon sweet red kosher wine (or any sweet red wine/try a late harvest dessert Zin)
Whisk all ingredients in small saucepan over medium-low heat until melted and smooth.
2. Red Wine Brownie Bars from Cookie Madness
Cookie Madness is a really neat site. Recently, Anna posted a recipe for a Red Wine Brownie Bar that sounds irresistible and odd at the same time. Haven’t made these yet, but will. Be sure and post on the Cookie Madness site, if you do. She’s looking for comments.
From Cookie Madness, “After combining the two recipes and making a few adjustments, what I got was a dense and firm cake that was just dry enough to soak up the topping that seeps down into it. It doesn’t seem quite soft enough to be traditional American style cake and it’s not quite fudgy enough to be a true brownie. And while the base is chocolate, it’s not so chocolaty that you can’t taste the wine….which is what I was going for. Because why bake with wine if you can’t taste it?
4 oz/114 grams unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 ounce (28 grams) unsweetened chocolate, broken up
1 cup granulated sugar (192 grams)
1 tablespoon red wine (Cabernet Franc)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon lightly into cup to get 94 grams)
Red Wine Icing
3 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter (50 grams)
1 oz unsweetened chocolate
4 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar (60 grams)
3 tablespoons red wine (Cabernet Franc)
Preheat oven to 350 degress F. Line an 8 inch square metal pan with foil and grease bottom of pan only or spray the bottom with cooking spray. Don’t spray the sides.
Melt butter in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add chocolate. Stir until chocolate melts, then add sugar. Continue heating for about 30 seconds to dissolve some of the sugar. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
Whisk the eggs, wine, baking powder and salt together in a mixing bowl. Make sure you’ve whisked out any lumps of stray baking powder. Add a small amount of the slightly cooled chocolate mixture to the eggs and whisk until blended, then whisk in the rest of the chocolate mixture. Fold in the flour with a large spatula – the goal is to mix it, but not beat the flour too much. Pour into pan. Drop pan onto counter from about 5 inches once or twice to remove air bubbles. Bake on center rack and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Meanwhile prepare icing. Melt butter over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add chocolate, sugar and wine. Continue heating over low, stirring often, until mixture is smooth – don’t let it boil. Pour hot wine mixture over fresh-out-of-the-oven brownie/cake base and let stand for an hour or so. The topping should sink down into the cake and settle on top. Let sit until topping has set. I put mine in the refrigerator to speed up the chocolate-setting. This worked well for the topping, but I think the refrigerator adds to much stiffness to the base so if you chill these, let them come back to room temp before serving.
I like this second brownie recipe since the wine icing really soaks into the brownie.
Maybe I'll combine the two... hmmmm...
Red wine and chocolate: Always a good pairing.
Photo: Cookie Madness