Red Wine Brownies and a Scientific Theory

I recently realized that my three most beloved desserts begin with the letter B: bourbon pecan pie, baklava, and brownies. On Friday, I created a poll via Instagram story, so I could decide what to write about this week. The participants indicated they wanted me to post a recipe. There’s no Electoral College equivalent here, so I’m giving the voters exactly what they want, an original recipe for one of my favorite desserts. Obviously it contains alcohol, and also obviously, it pairs wonderfully with more alcohol!

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My best friend Meredith and I clearly share a serious love of red wine.

Wine and chocolate combine to create the most stereotypical and appropriate girls’ night feature, so this recipe is perfect for Valentine’s Day and Galentine’s Day this week. Not only do these treats complement each other individually, they also play nicely together. The red wine in these brownies brings out the sweet flavor of the chocolate, while adding an overall richness to a typical brownie.

Let’s talk brownies now, shall we? Although I’ve devoted the last nine years of my life to political science, I firmly believe the brownie theory I came up with a few years ago is more interesting and generalizable than any theory I’ve written about political psychology, my research specialization. This theory is not actually scientific. However, some people don’t think political science does not qualify as a “real science,” so I guess I’ll just shout “FAKE NEWS!” if someone questions the logic behind this idea.

Basically, I argue that your preferred brownie type (corner, middle, edge) corresponds with your place on the Thinking vs. Feeling Myers Briggs dimension. Fake News to all of the haters who criticize Myers Briggs. (Sidenote: I am aware the Big 5 Personality Traits are more legit, but I still love finding out people’s Myers Briggs personality type.) Those who score higher on the Thinking end of the spectrum tend to prefer crunchier brownies, with those people with no feelings being the ones who eat the corner pieces (love y’all, though♥). Conversely, the people who wear their hearts on their sleeves like a gooeyer center piece. The emotional wrecks like a brownie that borders on “raw” (yes, I fall in this group). I don’t have a theory about people who like cakey brownies because I have never met anyone who falls into this category. I’m not sure how I would respond to someone with this preference…I would probably try giving them a fudgy brownie because they surely could not have tried one and still loved the cakey, dry kind. I derived this theory from anecdotal observations about my friends, family, and peers who have eaten brownies in my presence. So scientific, right? Feel free to send me grant money now, federal government! Of course, I know many people whose preferences do not comport with my theory, but those folks are what we call “outliers.”

Despite our different preferences, we can all enjoy these red wine brownies. They contain a minimal amount of flour to ensure we do not end up with the dry cakey type. Along with inventing this riveting personality theory, I also discovered that mixing Crisco with ghee (clarified butter) produces a moist, decadent brownie with very little lactose. My stomach and soul are happy, and I hope y’all enjoy!

Red Wine Brownies

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Yields: 16 brownies

Ingredients

1/4 cup Crisco
1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter)
1 1/3 cup chocolate chips, divided (I use vegan bittersweet chocolate chips from Trader Joe’s)
1 1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
2/3 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon *good* vanilla extract (If y’all are tired of my Ina references, maybe take a nap because I’m not stopping anytime soon.)
Cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º.
  2. Spray a large mixing bowl with your nonstick spray of choice (I like Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray because it has a high smoke point).
  3. Pour 2/3 cups of chocolate chips into the mixing bowl, and melt in the microwave for one minute, stirring after 30 seconds.
  4. Add the ghee and Crisco to the melted chocolate, and continue to microwave until fully melted, now checking every 20 seconds.
  5. Add the sugar and to the melted chocolate mixture, and mix until combined.
  6. Add each egg separately, whisking the first into the bowl until combined before adding the second.
  7. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  8. Next scoop cocoa powder and flour into measuring cups, making sure not to pack down these ingredients. We want our brownies to be as fudgy as possible. Sorry not sorry, cakey brownie lovers.
  9. Mix cocoa powder,flour, and salt into the bowl.
  10. Stir the remaining chocolate chips in the bowl.
  11. Spray an 8×8 inch pan with nonstick cooking spray, and pour the mixture into the pan.
  12. Cook the brownies between 25-30 minutes, depending on your oven and brownie preferences. I cooked mine for 29 minutes when I made these to take to a party, but I cooked them for less time when I ate them at home (I like gooey brownies, y’all).
  13. Cool for 30 minutes before cutting in order to make sure the brownies leave the pan. Again, if you aren’t taking these brownies to a party or outside your home, you may not need to resist the urge to cut immediately after baking.

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