Valentine’s Day is here! Ok, that was actually horribly misleading of me, I’m not even really that big of a Valentine’s Day fan (this doesn’t mean I don’t love you Kevin – you’re amazing to me all year round, no special day required 🙂 …now that we’ve gotten that sappiness out of the way, on with the post!). I mean, I’m not anti love and the celebration thereof or anything, but it just feels like too much pressure to go out somewhere for dinner. Then when you do “decide” (aka give in to societal pressure) you’re going to go out, it’s impossible to get reservations anywhere half decent. You then end up spending way too much money for the “privilege” of getting crappier service and crappier food, while brushing elbows with your table neighbours since you’re packed in like sardines. At least one person will likely propose because they have no qualms about being a horrible cliché, and everyone else in the restaurant will clap for them with dewy-eyed nostalgia about their own marriage proposal (or glare at their tablemate with accusatory eyes that are saying “where’s my proposal jerkface?”…feel the love).
Hmmm…that was quite the rant and went a little off the rails, but you see my point right? On a more positive note, for me, it has the most definite upside of being a day filled with sweet treat inspiration and possibilities. I actually had a couple of heart/red/chocolate-themed things I wanted to make, so I make no promises that the spirit of Valentine’s Day present won’t spill into that of Valentine’s Day future (aka, next weekend, there will likely be another love day themed recipe. Maybe I’ll make next week’s post a dedication/ celebration of St. Raphael instead. Because according to a BBC article:
“…St Raphael is the patron saint for happy encounters and it is to him those fearing the Valentine’s post should properly direct their prayers…”
It just seems right that I should give him his due as well right? 😉 )
Anyway, on with the sweetness! What I bring to the table for you today is all the things that nobody can deny loving about Valentine’s Day regardless of your relationship status or your hatred towards commercialism. I’ve covered all the bases: wine, chocolate, heart-shapedness (that’s a word right?…spell check doesn’t agree, but I’m leaving it in anyway because I don’t prescribe to these so-called grammatical “rules”. You can’t stuff me into a box grammar police!…not even a heart shaped one). I’ve actually had at least the vague idea of these brownies sloshing around in my brain for a while. This was now the perfect opportunity to crack out the wine and bring on the brownies! I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve actually made brownies, I always forget what a perfect marriage of cake and fudge they are.
These brownies are the ultimate in decadence. They’re triple chocolate cherry wine brownies with a red wine “buttercream” and a red wine glaze adorably cut into seasonally appropriate heart shapes (not the shape of the actual heart organ, what’s wrong with you?! That’s just plain gross 😉 ). The triple chocolate element comes from the fact that the brownies have melted chocolate, cocoa and chocolate chips. You could maybe even call them quadruple chocolate brownies when you factor the chocolate red wine glaze into the mix. So feel free to crack out the elastic waisted pants and enjoy one (or two, or five) of these. These rich, indulgent brownies will make you feel the ultimate in refinement and sophistication (especially while wearing your elastic waisted pants). So if you want to channel your inner snobby-sommelier and eat them with your pinky raised in the air while wearing your monocle and looking down your nose at everyone, I promise I won’t judge (what is with me and monocles? I’m constantly finding myself working them into half my posts. I’ve actually deleted monocle references from previous posts, but they just keep creeping back in. Clearly I’m a secret snob at heart 😉 )
These are a smidge labour intensive to make (although not too difficult), but feel free to reward yourself after each stage with a sip (or two…or five) of wine. I mean you already have to open the bottle, you don’t want it to go to waste right?
In the spirit of the season, I will leave you with a love poem that I wrote while following my own advice of drinking wine and baking these brownies (my writing was a little hard to decipher by the end, but I think you’ll get the gist):
Brownies are sweet and wine is delicious
*glug,glug,glug,glug* (slurred handwriting)
…rhymes with delicious
Best. Poem. Ever.
- ½ cup chocolate chips + ¼ cup chocolate chips (divided)
- ½ cup vegan butter
- 2 egg replacer
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup red wine
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- Pinch of sea salt
- ¼ cup chopped dried cherries (if they had been in season, I would’ve used actual cherries, so just use what you’ve got)
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 recipe red wine buttercream (see below)
- 1 recipe red wine glaze (see below)
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease an 8×8 pan and line with parchment paper or tinfoil (you can omit this step if you’re just making the brownies. This will make it easier to remove from the pan for layering and cutting into heart shapes) then grease the parchment. Set aside. If you’re doing the red wine buttercream, start making the red wine syrup since it takes a bit of time and needs time to chill in the fridge.
2. Melt ½ cup of chocolate chips and butter either in a double boiler, or microwave until melted and smooth.
3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, mix together the egg replacer, sugar and vanilla. Mix in the melted chocolate mixture and then the wine.
4. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and salt.
5. Gradually beat into wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in the cherries, and chocolate chips (if using).
6. Pour batter into pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a tester comes out mostly clean. If you want them to stay fudgy, be careful not to over bake.
7. Allow to cool completely. While this is cooling, make the red wine buttercream icing.
8. Picking up the edges of your parchment paper or tinfoil, carefully lift the whole tray of brownies out of the pan. Using a heart shaped cookie cutter (or shape of your choice), cut out brownie pieces. To make the cutting easier, I then put the cut brownies in the freezer for 30 minutes.
9. Remove brownies from the freezer. With a serrated knife, carefully slice through middle of each heart shaped brownie, spread with red wine buttercream and replace top half. Continue until you have used up as much of the brownie as you can.
10. Chill in fridge while making the red wine glaze.
11. Spread red wine glaze on top of each brownie and sprinkle with sea salt. Chill in the refrigerator until glaze is cool/set.
12. Consume extra brownie bits (or, if you’re me, you mix all the left over bits with any leftover icing and glaze and freeze the whole mess and consume like ice cream. Alternatively, you could buy/ make some vanilla vegan ice cream and mix the bits in/sprinkle on top for a quick dessert. You could even roll the leftover brownie bits (mixed with the buttercream and/or glaze) into balls and dip in chocolate for some red wine brownie truffles. Tons of possibilities so not a crumb goes to waste 🙂 )
Note: You could maybe halve this recipe, I did end up with a fair bit leftover. However, if you are mixing it with the leftover brownie, then I’d still make the full recipe.
- 1/2 cup red wine plus 1 tablespoon, divided
- 2 tablespoons cane sugar
- 1/4 cup vegan butter, softened
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1 ½ cups icing sugar
1. Place ½ cup red wine and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil and simmer until mixture has reduced to about ¼ cup. Allow to cool completely. Refrigerate while making brownies, then do the next step.
2. In a medium sized bowl using an electric mixer on low, combine the butter, coconut oil and icing sugar, increasing speed once icing sugar starts to mix in.
3. Pour in the cooled wine syrup in 2 batches, mixing until incorporated.
- ¼ cup chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter or coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine
1. Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler until melted, add the butter and wine and stir until smooth.