For weekends and warm weather, here's an idea for just a little something sweet. Merlot Brownie Bites. The only thing better than a warm, soft brownie is a rich dark chocolate brownie infused with merlot. I've taken the SimplyCooking® Scratch Brownie recipe and by adding a little more cocoa and merlot created a dense, chocolaty bite with a red wine finish.
I recently served these at a wine and dessert pairing event when I needed an extra dessert at the last minute. Voila. What could pair better than red wine and dark chocolate in one tiny bite?
Lining the pan with parchment and then chilling allows them to be cut cleanly into tiny bite-sized pieces (64). The small bite. The dark glaze. The hint of wine. It's a contemporary take on quite a retro recipe. I make these in a vintage 8" x 8" "Perfect Brownie Pan." NOT the pan that someone has re-invented into a baking contraption with removable parts and is being marketed online. This is a simple square aluminum pan that was referred to a a few generations ago as 'the perfect brownie pan.'
Icebox cake was a mid 20th century dessert made by layering chocolate cookie wafers, pudding and whipped cream and chilling. This was a cake that could be made without baking in the days prior to air conditioning. The filling absorbed a bit into the layers of chocolate wafers and created a sort of layered cake. Merlot Brownie Bites is a similar idea where the glaze absorbs into the brownie, making the texture denser and richer.
merlot brownie bites
1/2 cup butter
2 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt, Celtic Sea Salt preferable
1/4 cup red wine
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 325° F. Line an 8" baking pan with parchment paper. Cut a length of paper that will extend over pan edges by two inches. Then, cut the sheet of parchment in half lengthwise and line the pan with the two pieces overlapping in opposite directions. Using parchment this way makes cutting clean; there's no pan to scrub and no butter improves the texture.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over low heat. Remove from heat and cool until just warm. With a spoon, beat in the eggs; add the sugar, salt, vanilla, wine, flour and cocoa. Pour into the lined baking pan. Bake 30 minutes, just until the sides of the brownies begin to pull away from the pan and the middle has barely set. Remove from the oven; cool while preparing the glaze.
dark chocolate glaze
4 Tbsp. butter
4 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. red wine
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. whole milk
Melt 4 Tbsp. butter. Whisk in 4 Tbsp. cocoa powder and 2 Tbsp. wine. Remove from heat. Whisk in 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp. milk, whisk until smooth; repeat twice. Pour on the brownies and place in the refrigerator. Chill several hours or overnight. Using the parchment overhang, lift the whole pan of chilled brownies onto the counter. With a long, serrated knife, cut into 64 squares.