25 January 2019

RED WINE BROWNIES

Brownies, being one of the most popular and loved sweet treats, can be very dense, or lighter, cakey in texture. And although those big, cakey brownies that are offered in shops and bakeries are eye-catching, my choice will always be fudge brownies, just like these. Tremendously squidgy, with a deep chocolate flavour, and just a hint of lush red wine.
Rather than adding the red wine straight into the batter, I like to reduce it a tad, making it slightly more intense in flavour. Choose a wine that is relatively low in acidity, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, which is always my choice, as the wine's naturally sour flavour will become slightly more prominent as you cook it down for the brownies.
Whenever the topic of brownies arises, I feel I need to emphasize how vital it is not to overmix the batter, and not to overbake them. If you overmix the batter once the flour is added, that will create a cakey texture or even tough brownies, and that is not how brownies should be.
Another thing to keep in mind is the baking time. The true nature of brownies is to be soft and fudgy or light and fluffy, but never dry, so make sure you test them with a toothpick. As with any traybake, they will continue to cook even after you remove them from the oven, so do not leave them in for longer than necessary. It is fine even if they are ever so slightly underbaked, they will still taste great.
Serve them with some chocolate sauce, whipped cream, or even some ice cream. I served them with a homemade plum, forest strawberry, and Cabernet Sauvignon sauce.


Ingredients
120 grams unsalted butter
100 grams dark chocolate
200 grams granulated sugar
2 medium eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
120 ml red wine
40 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
50 grams plain flour

Preparation
Start by reducing the red wine for the brownies. Place a saucepan over medium-low heat, pour in the wine, and let it slowly simmer until it reduces by half. It is better to do this slowly, checking the volume of the wine as it simmers, then to rush. Once the red wine has reduced by half, set it aside so it cools down slightly.
Place a saucepan over medium-high heat, add in the diced butter, and let it slowly start melting. Chop up the chocolate and add it to the butter. Swirl and stir as it melts, being careful it doesn’t come to a boil. Once melted, remove from the heat, add in the sugar, and set it aside for about 5 minutes, so the sugar starts to dissolve in the hot butter and chocolate. When it has dissolved slightly, add in the eggs, one at a time, whisking vigorously after each. Add in the vanilla and the wine, and mix well.
Finally, sift in the flour and the cocoa powder, and whisk to incorporate. Do not whisk for too long, only until the last streaks of flour disappear. Whisking for longer will make the brownies dry and tough. Line a square baking tin (20x20 cm) with baking parchment, pour in the batter, and bake it immediately in a preheated oven, at 180°C (350°F), for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the brownies comes out mostly clean, with only a few moist crumbs attached to it.
Since every oven is slightly different, check them with a toothpick around the 20-minute mark, to make sure they do not overbake. They need to stay fudgy and moist. Once baked, remove them from the oven, let them cool completely on a wire rack, slice them up and serve. Yields 9 brownie squares.

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