Sweets: Better than Sex Brownies

With Valentine’s Day coming up, we decided a rich, delicious, chocolate-y brownie had to be the first sweet item on our list for Sips&Sweets.  Credit goes to The Brown Eyed Baker for this recipe, but we renamed it ourselves because we knew with five eggs, this recipe might just deserve the new name.

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The Summary: Colleen bought the ingredients for the brownies, and Sarah brought the wine (a California Cabernet) to Colleen’s place for our usual girls baking and wine night.  We baked, sipped the wine, and watched the Sochi Winter Olympics opening ceremony while enjoying the delicious brownies.  Perfect Friday night!

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The Tips (For those of you who want to host your own girls’ baking nights):

  • Decide on the recipe before you get together so you have time to buy the ingredients and pair a wine
  • Pre-heat the oven before your girlfriend comes over: less waiting time!
  • Switch off on hosting–divide up the messy kitchen responsibility each time you get together
  • Wear yoga pants: there is a time and place for dressing up, and at home baking and sipping wine is not one of those!

The Sip: Dreaming Tree Cabernet.  Dreaming Tree wines are co-produced by Dave Matthews (you might know him from his day job as a fantastic musician), and Steve Reeder, a Sonoma, CA native.  We chose cabernet to pair with the brownies because Cooking Light Magazine (and other places) shared that, “A concentrated red wine with velvety texture, oaky spice, and dark-berry fruit meshes with chocolate’s mocha flavors.  Rich, lush cabernet sauvignon from warmer climates such as California and Australia goes well with chocolate (especially dark).”  We also learned that Port goes well with chocolate, but we both love Cabernet, so chose that this time.  Dreaming Tree’s description caught Sarah’s eye, (in addition to the Dave Matthews connection): “The rhythm of our North Coast Dreaming Tree Cabernet Sauvignon highlights classic aromas of blackberry, cherry and herbal notes wrapped by toasted vanilla. It’s an easy-drinking wine with a lot of character.”—Steve Reeder.  Our verdict: this might become one of our Cabernet staples; it was smooth, fruity, and delicious.

The Sweet: 

yield: 24 brownies prep time: 30 minutes cook time: 30 minutes total time: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS:

1¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder

11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 teaspoon instant espresso powder

1½ cups granulated sugar

½ cup packed light brown sugar

5 eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13-inch glass or light-colored baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.

3. Put the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.

4. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

5. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve.

7. Store at room temperature in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap for up to 3 days.

(Recipe adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)

The Bottom Line: Homemade brownies (versus the box) are worth the extra effort, and Cabernet pairs perfectly with the rich chocolatey brownie flavor. Leftover, brownies also taste amazing with coffee! 😉

Time to invite your girlfriend over for a “Better Than Sex Brownie” and Cabernet night!

Sweet snapshot of Sarah from our girls night!

Sweet snapshot of Sarah from our girls night!

Happy Sipping!

xoxo, Colleen and Sarah

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