Lest you think that I refuse to eat anything other than red wine and chocolate for my birthday, these red wine brownies were not for me. (Though Nila did unknowingly bake me the same red wine chocolate cake from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook for my birthday this year–my friends know me so well.)
These were for Abby’s bachelorette party, as a snack during our wine tasting at Macari Vineyards. For the occasion, I wanted something intensely chocolate-y, but not too rich. My first thought was truffles, but rolling out a few dozen truffles seemed tedious. (I could better spend that time watching yet another episode of Gilmore Girls, of course.) Next I thought fudge bars, but that could become a sticky mess.
Then I remembered my red wine birthday cake, and how the wine and chocolate complemented each other so nicely. Plus, wine for something to be eaten at a vineyard seemed like the perfect fit. But since cake is kind of hard to distribute, I went with my favorite picnic standby, bars … aka red wine brownies.
Ultimately, we didn’t end up eating these at the vineyard — we inhaled them in a limo instead. They were a huge hit, delivering on the promise of intense chocolate flavor without being too sweet or too heavy. I used a red blend that had notes of cocoa and vanilla in it, but any medium-bodied wine will do. (Don’t use anything too dark, since it may overpower the rest of the ingredients.) The original recipe added a glaze, but I wanted to avoid anything potentially messy. The brownies didn’t need it though, since they were perfect all on their own.
Fudgy Red Wine Brownies
Adapted from Butter Me Up Brooklyn
Makes one 8-x-8 pan or 7-x-11 pan
– 4 ounces (1/2 cup) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
– 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces
– 1/4 cup red wine
– 2 large eggs
– 2/3 cup brown sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
– 1/2 cup flour
– 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
1) Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter an 8-x-8 or 7-x-11 pan and set aside.
2) Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of with 2 inches of barely simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water (you just made a double-boiler!) Melt the chocolate and the butter together in the bowl, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth.
3) In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add in the chocolate mixture and then the wine. Fold in the flour, cocoa powder and salt, and mix until the batter is smooth and has thickened slightly.
4) Pour into the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes. Err on the side of underbaking, since you want the brownies to be fudgy instead of dry. (I could probably have taken mine out a minute or two earlier.)