Red wine brownies, you say???!!! Oh yes, I went there!!!
One of my fave flavor combos is to enjoy a little dark chocolate with some red wine, anyone else?! Naturally, red wine baked into brownies needed to happen. I took it one step further and made some wine “buttercream” frosting to spread on top. AKA my healthier vegan “buttercream” frosting with a little reduced Merlot stirred in. So insanely yum!
Just try to not lick the bowl clean before you frost the brownies. Now that’s a challenge!!!
How pretty does that frosting look? A light purple-y pink. These red wine brownies are a perfect Valentine’s day treat for your sweetheart…or for you and your friends…or for just you. No judgement here!
Let’s discuss that red wine situation:
- The first thing we do is boil the wine down so that it’s a thin syrup. We do this for two reasons: 1) to concentrate the flavor for extra wine goodness. 2) to cook the alcohol out of the wine so that anyone can enjoy the brownies. To all my current pregnant friends out there, you’re welcome!
- Second thing to know about the red wine: You need to select a dry red wine, Merlot is best. I tried this recipe with a sweet red – by accident because I thought I was buying a pinot noir LOL – and the red wine flavor fell flat. We aren’t using a whole lot of red wine here (only 1/2 cup in the brownies and 3 tablespoons in the frosting) so we really want it to have a pop to it!
- Pour yourself a big ole glass of red wine (unless you’re currently pregnant of course) both while you make these brownies and while you eat one! Because you deserve it and it’s delicious…that’s why!
Calling all red wine and dark chocolate lovers!!! Red wine brownies, the dessert of your dreams has finally come true!!
Honestly, I think that if you love red wine you also love dark chocolate. The two go hand in hand. Amiright?
The chocolate comes in the form of melted dark chocolate – I went with 66% cocoa, less refined sugar that way – and a little cocoa powder. Happy dance for chocolate!!!
These red wine brownies are both gluten free and dairy free! I used all purpose gluten free flour to keep things simple. If you’re not gluten free simply swap the gluten free all purpose flour with regular all purpose flour. You could swap the coconut oil for butter too but I love the texture coconut oil gives baked goods.
Just look at that gorgeous red wine color in both the brownie batter (above) and the “buttercream” frosting (below), isn’t food just wonderful like that?!
You go Merlot!!!
These red wine brownies are purely amazing, can’t get over them! The brownie itself is rich and fudge-y, with a slight cake-y texture…but mostly fudge-y because if it’s more on the the cake-y side than I just feel like you might as well just make a cake rather than a brownie, brownies are meant to be fudge-y little bites of heaven. And that’s my thought on the matter of cake-y vs. fudge-y brownies!
Are you team cakey brownie or fudgey brownie?! Your answer might determine our friendship LOL.
The hint of the Merlot in the red wine brownies is subtle, but it’s there. You can especially taste it when you are enjoying a glass of wine along side your bite of brownie…or wait, maybe that’s just because you’re drinking wine with it? Either way, the red wine in the brownie just kind of enhances the chocolate flavor in a unique, sophisticated way. Kind of like how coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate. Only, RED WINE IS BETTER!!! Fact.
The wine “buttercream” frosting is totally optional. Without it you will still have a delicious, rich fudge-y brownie to enjoy. BUT I think it helps to make these red wine brownies extra special for two reasons: 1) it makes the brownies extra pretty and festive and decorative. 2) the frosting tastes like wine! Although the wine taste in the frosting is still subtle and not overpowering that is where you can really taste the wine flavor.
See, you want the wine “buttercream” frosting to spread on top of those red wine brownies…don’t ya?! So worth it, my friends!
I hope you enjoy these brownies as much as we do. They would be perfect for any special occasion such as Valentine’s day, Christmas (going backwards, I know), birthday parties, a wine tasting party (please invite me to this one!), a girl’s night in, or just because you are obsessed with wine and dark chocolate!
Hey, why chose between the two when you can have both in a brownie! BEST THING EVER!
- 1 cup + ⅓ cup dry red wine (I used Merlot)*
- ¾ cup coconut oil
- 8 ounces dark chocolate - use dairy free for dairy free eaters (I used 66% Cocoa)
- 1 cup all purpose gluten free flour (or sub regular all purpose flour if not gf)
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2/4 cup coconut sugar
- Red Wine Frosting
- 1 batch healthier vegan "buttercream" frosting (click for recipe)
- Reduce Red Wine: Add the red wine to a small sauce pot. Turn on high heat and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the wine has reduced by half. You should have ½ cup + 2 to 3 tablespoons once reduced. Remove the wine from the pot into another dish and place in the fridge or freezer to chill while you prepare the remainder of the brownies. (This part could be done up to 1 day in advance. Just keep covered in the fridge).
- Prepare: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and line a 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper, set aside.
- Melt coconut oil and dark chocolate: Place the coconut oil and chocolate in a medium sized microwave safe mixing bowl. Microwave for 30 second increments, stirring in between each microwave session until melted. Or you could melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Whisk together dry ingredients: In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.
- Mix together the remainder of the wet ingredients: Once the melted chcoolate has cooled a bit (can still be a little warm), mix in the vanilla, eggs, coconut sugar, and 1/2 cup of the reduced red wine until well incorperated. Fold the wet ingredietns into the dry ingredietns until well incorperated.
- Bake: Transfer the brownie batter to the prepared baking dish. Use a spatula to spread out the batter evenly. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the brownie is slightly jiggly in the middle and a cake tester removes slightly wet from the middle - it will continue to set as it cools. This will result in a fudgey brownie. If you want a dryer brownie bake for the 22 mintues. Allow the brownie to cool completely before frosting.
- Make the frosting: While the brownies are cooling make a batch of the healthier vegan "buttercream" frosting as instructed in that recipe. (click here for recipe & instructions). Note: the frosting could be made up to 3 days in advance and refrigerated.
- Add the red wine: To the batch of vegan buttercream frosting stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons of the reduced red wine that has been chilled. Taste and add a little more sweeter (agave, honey, or maple syrup) if desired.
- Frost: To frost the brownies spread the entire batch of frosting onto the cooled brownies, working the frosting to the edges.
- Serve: To serve the brownies cut them into desired squares (about 16 brownies). For extra brownie points I highly recommend you serve these brownies with a glass of red wine! so GOOD!
- Store: Transger the brownies to an air tight container and store in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Frosting does tend to dry out a little after 4 days, although still good they are best earlier than 4 days.
Other options for wine could be, pinot noir or Cabernet sauvignon. The taste of your wine will change the taste of the frosting slightly. I found Merlot to have the most intense wine flavor (which is still fairly subtle). Just keep in mind that a sweeter wine will result in a less wine intense brownie and frosting.
The frosting is a completely optional step. The brownies are very good without the frosting. HOWEVER, if you really want brownies have a red wine taste the frosting is where you can really taste the red wine. There is a slight hint of red wine in the brownies (without frosting), but the frosting really is the icing on the cake (LOL)! Highly recommended, especially for special occasions! Plus it's so pretty!
Red wine brownie recipe heavily adapted from Grant Melton, seen on theRachel Ray Show.
If you make this recipe let me know how you liked it in the comments below. Leave a rating, it helps others find this recipe. Snap a picture on Instagram and tag it with #RobustRecipes, so I can see your creations. Thanks friends, hope you have a great Valentine’s day!