Going through the fridge over the past few weekends I noticed quite a few bottles of open red wine. I know leftover wine might be a foreign concept to some people I know (I won’t name names). Not being a big drinker myself, it’s not uncommon to have leftover wine in the fridge after dinner parties or get togethers. Usually the contents will make their way into sauces or stews, or on a few occasions, forgotten about for months and eventually poured down the drain (gasp! I bet that just cost me a few followers).
While I often cook with leftover wine, baking with it was uncharted territory. Chocolate seemed like a good accompaniment for red wine, and when I think of chocolate, I usually think of brownies. I was looking for flavors that would nicely enhance the red wine, ideally something a little more grown-up that would complement the floral and woodsy flavors of this particular vintage. I thought about rose water but it seemed too fancy (and would require digging through the pantry). My intention was to create something that could be served after dinner at a party while still enjoying a glass of wine or other spirits.
Ever have those dinner parties where there is always someone who is ready for dessert right away after dinner but the rest want to wait as they aren’t ready to switch from wine to coffee? Voila, middle ground! They’re rich, decadent, and oh so dense without being overly sweet or cakey (cakey brownies are everything that is wrong with this world). The smell of chocolate spreading through the house while these bake is intoxicating, it makes waiting for them to cool seem like a form of cruel punishment! The red gives them an extra little something, and to help that glass of wine go down a little cayenne for good measure. I know the blend of ingredients might sound a little odd; coffee, red wine, and cayenne, but it works. In fact the bolder the red wine, the better. Serve them after dinner with a glass of wine, a shot of espresso, or a lattee. Dress them up with drunken berries and a red wine reduction, for a dessert that’s over the top. A dollop of whipped coconut cream wouldn’t hurt either. Turns out they’re great the next morning for breakfast too, but they aren’t bad for midnight snacks either… just saying.
- ⅓ cup brewed coffee
- 1 tablespoon non-hydrogenated vegan margarine, such as Earth Balance
- 3 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 2¾ cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup cocoa powder, sifted
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- ⅔ cup canola oil
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup non-dairy chocolate chips
- ½ walnuts, roughly chopped, plus extra for topping (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Lightly oil a 9" x 13" baking pan and line with parchment paper, allowing 2 inches to hang over the sides.
- In a double boiler or microwave safe container; heat the coffee, margarine, and dark chocolate. Stirring frequently until the chocolate is completely melted. If using a microwave, heat the mixture for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each round.
- In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, flour, salt, baking powder, and cayenne pepper.
- In a measuring cup stir together the oil, wine, and vanilla extract. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wine mixture. Whisk until combined.
- Using a silicone spatula fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
- Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top with a spatula and sprinkle the top with additional walnuts if using. Bake until a toothpick inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in pan completely. Lift out brownies and cut into squares.
- Store brownies in an airtight container at room temperature or refrigerate up to 3 days.