If you saw my article on Friday, you know that last week I was introduced to a new line of food products made from grape pomace. At the end of the event I was given a small sample of the Merlot Grapeseed Flour to play with and I was anxious to try it out.
Some people ask me where I get my recipe ideas. Often they evolve from ingredients I have on hand that either need to be used before they spoil or that I am curious to see how they taste when I cook or bake with them. And then there are the requests by family and friends, which always help guide my cooking and baking directions.
This week’s recipe was created for two of those reasons. I wanted to make something with the merlot flour I had been given – especially after I tasted all the things that it could be used in. And The Artist and I have a bottle of ruby port open from another meal that was just begging to be combined with chocolate in some form.
I took my traditional brownie recipe and made it with my favorite gluten-free all-purpose flour blend and some of the merlot flour, keeping in mind that it would absorb liquid like crazy and that Craig Ponsford gave us guidelines on how much recipes could tolerate before they became impossible to work with. There isn’t much of the merlot flour in the blend, but it is enough to give you the essence of the wine and an indefinable flavor that is intriguing and delicious.
Oh, and by the way, as with many gluten-free baked goods, these brownies were better on the day after they were baked!
The Artist is very sensitive to sugar and doesn’t like frosting on cakes, but I really wanted to add another component to these brownies. Ruby Port is a lovely sipping wine, especially suited to the dessert course. Adding it to melted chocolate risks making it seize, so instead I created a powdered sugar frosting that utilizes cocoa powder for the chocolate flavor.
The difference between my version and so many others is that I use melted regular butter which helps cut the sweetness of the powdered sugar. When you combine it with unsweetened cocoa powder and the saltiness of the butter, you wind up with a very balanced and not too sweet frosting that stays creamy and smooth.
If you are looking for the perfect ending for your Valentine’s Day dinner, these brownies will certainly fit the bill. If you wanted to, you could cut them into heart shaped pieces and then frost them, making them just a little more special and appropriate for the occasion!
I hope you have a chance to try the WholeVine products, but these brownies are good made with all-purpose flour (either regular or gluten-free). And if you do not want to make the frosting with alcohol, just use additional butter and/or milk.
Happy Chocolate Monday, Happy Mardi Gras (Tues) and of course, Happy Valentine’s Day (Thurs). Enjoy!!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
If you are using regular wheat flour, do not overbeat the batter. You do not want to develop any gluten.
- 1/2 cup/115 g (1 stick) butter, cut into cubes
- 8 oz high quality (such as Valrhona or Guittard) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup flour, sifted (or gluten-free all-purpose blend)
- 2 tbsp merlot grapeseed flour from WholeVine Products (or more flour)
- 1 cup chopped, toasted nuts, preferably walnuts or pecans (optional)
- Chocolate-Port Frosting
- 2 cups confectioners’ (powdered) sugar
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 to 4 tbsp ruby port
- 1/4 cup melted butter
- 1/4 cup milk or half and half, or as needed
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch baking pan and line with parchment or foil, so that the paper comes over the top edge of pan. Lightly grease paper.
- Prepare Brownies: In a bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water (make sure water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl), melt butter and chocolate together. Whisk until smooth.
- Transfer to bowl of stand mixer. Stir in sugar, vanilla, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly mix in the flour and blend until smooth. Do not overbeat. Scrape the bowl and beaters. Stir in nuts if using.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and tap on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until the batter begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center will have moist crumbs clinging to it. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
- Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder. Add the port and melted butter and whisk together. Add enough milk to get a good, thick spreading consistency, whisking until smooth and creamy.
- When the brownies are thoroughly cool, spread them with a thick layer of the frosting. Use your offset spatula to smooth the top and then create decorative swirls.
- When ready, use the paper to lift the brownies out of the pan and, using a sharp knife, cut into 16 squares. Run the knife under hot water and wipe clean between each slice for the cleanest pieces.
- Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for several days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Create a New Tradition Today!
Unauthorized use, distribution, and/or duplication of proprietary material on The Heritage Cook without prior approval is prohibited. This includes copying and reprinting content and photographs. If you have any questions or would like permission, I can be contacted via email: theheritagecook (at) comcast (dot) net. Feel free to quote me, just give credit where credit is due, link to the recipe, and please send people to my website, www.theheritagecook.com. Please see the Disclaimers page (under the “About” tab above) for additional details.