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Red Wine Brownie Bars

by on May 7, 2009 · 20 comments

A Twitter friend mentioned he had a doorman who taste-tested baking experiments and gave honest feedback. Well once again, I really wish I had a doorman because I love these bars, but need some feedback from a taster.

These were inspired by Sonia from Sicily’s red wine cake and an old brownie recipe sent over from a friend who complained her brownies were too cakey. 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?

I really like these but need a second opinion. If you have some leftover wine and a few ounces of chocolate to spare, give the recipe a try and let me know what you think. Otherwise, I’ll be forced to obsess about it for days until I get it right. But maybe it is right as is?


Red Wine Brownie Bars

4 oz/114 grams unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 ounce (28 grams) unsweetened chocolate, broken up
1 cup granulated sugar (192 grams)
2 eggs
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.

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Published on May 7, 2009

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Andy May 7, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Mmmm…sounds good and they LOOK good if nothing else.

Anna, if it means being your official taste-tester, I would consider relocating to Texas to be the doorman at your house.

Anna May 7, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Well, I will tidy up the vestibule and start looking for a new door.

Carrie Z May 7, 2009 at 2:12 pm

These brownies look perfectly fudgy and wonderful. I will try them tonight and give you some feedback! Now I have an excuse to open a bottle of wine :)

Anna May 7, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Thanks Carrie!

They’re very easy. The recipe appears a bit longer because I added more details in the notes, but these are really very simple and don’t require a mixer.

I might try making these with a mix of cake flour and all purpose.

Dani May 7, 2009 at 2:32 pm

thats one fancy brownie :)

Saskia May 7, 2009 at 2:37 pm

my sister has been bugging me to make a red wine cake and she loves brownies…so this is perfect!
I love that you add gramm measurements to your recipes, since i live in germany it is what i work with.
I let you know how we liked it.

Katrina May 7, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Well they look good, but I can’t help you on this one. ;)

Louise May 7, 2009 at 3:41 pm

We drink red wine every single day and we’ve cut back (so I avoid some calories) so we only drink a half bottle. Since the recipe calls for a quarter cup, I’ll have to wait until I’m cooking with wine, otherwise a quarter cup ends up in my wine glass. :-)

Pearl May 7, 2009 at 5:05 pm

looks delish!

Jennifer May 7, 2009 at 7:02 pm

I’m definitely intrigued. Bookmarked for sure.

Rosebud May 7, 2009 at 9:20 pm

Don’t stop the madness! Feel free to send samples my way any day ;) I just stumbled upon your site and I second the comment on bookmarking!

Anna May 7, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Thanks! Your cards are adorable, btw. Love the ice cream.

Ashley May 8, 2009 at 8:25 am

Very interesting recipe!

Saskia May 8, 2009 at 9:57 am

we just finished eating and it is sooooo good!
very moist and like you said you can´t really taste the wine, but it still gives a nice something to it…Love it!

Carrie Z May 9, 2009 at 6:08 pm

I tried the brownies and they tasted great! I could taste the wine, it gave the brownies an interesting almost yeasty flavor. The brownies were fudgy and sweet. I liked the glaze and how it soaked in to the brownie layer. The only problem I had is that the center of the pan yielded a brownie barely 1/2 inch thick. Maybe I messed up somewhere along the way, but that would be my only complaint. I might try to double the brownie batter and bake it a bit longer, and keep the glaze as is. A different flavor for a brownie that I really enjoyed. Thanks for sharing!

Anna May 9, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Hi Carrie,

I’m glad you liked the flavor. And thanks so much for trying the recipe! That’s very strange about the middle of the pan being thin. Mine were an even thickness all the way through. I will email you so we can troubleshoot.

Janet May 11, 2009 at 12:31 pm

I’m focusing my blog today or tomorrow on wine and brownies, and I love this recipe–it’s so different from mine. I’d like to include it on–with full accreditation, of course. I love wine and chocolate, and I think this is even better than mine because sounds like you can really taste the wine more! Thanks for this recipe. We always have wine and chocolate around the house.

Anna May 11, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Hi Janet,

I just posted a reply on your site, but yes! Do try the recipe. I look forward to hearing your review.

Kelly July 7, 2009 at 11:06 am

Hi Anna-
I know this is very late, but I made these for an open house along with a spicy mexican chocolate cookie (probably also from this site), and they were a great success. Every crumb was gone and many people asked for the recipe. I particularly liked the frosting. I think I may add a little more cocoa to mine next time (replace some of the flower with cocoa powder), but that’s b/c I like a darker slightly less sweet chocolate flavor.

But seriously these were fabulous and you are an inspiration to my baking and one of the worst things to happen to my diet :)

Lourdes October 10, 2009 at 4:49 pm

These brownies were very rich and decadent. They are quick and easy to make. I’ll definitely make them again!

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