Guess what?! I finally broke in my dutch oven! And I used wine to do it!
I read the Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones) series last winter. Without a doubt, at least once a chapter someone would be drinking mulled wine. I had never heard of it before. When I finally looked it up I knew I had to make it immediately, and I’ve been in love ever since. As soon as the cold weather starts rolling around all I can think about is mulled wine. It’s taken me so long to make because for the past few weeks I’ve only been going to Trader Joe’s and not our other grocery store because it’s right next to my yoga studio and they don’t have any cloves or allspice berries. I still don’t have either of those but I did find a mulled wine spice bag somewhere else. I hadn’t intended on using a spice bag, but I saw it at Wine World last Friday for their daily free wine tasting (yes, it is a magical place) and it was too convenient not to get. It also had exactly what I had intended on putting in my mulled wine–cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, allspice berries and orange peel! Ideally you would want 1 spice bag per 1 bottle of wine, but I only had the one and I’d be damned if that would limit me to 1 bottle. So if you want to make your own I you can just add the ingredients yourself either in a tea-ball (if you’re fancy enough to have those) or just straight into the wine and scoop out or drain through a cheesecloth later. I also added spiced rum and honey. A vanilla pod would also be yummy in this or maybe some spiced apple cider. The beautiful thing about this is that you can add whatever you want at whim and it’s pretty hard to go wrong.
- 2 bottles of red wine
- Mulled Wine spice mix –alternately: 4 cinnamon sticks, 12-15 cloves, 5-10 allspice berries, peel of 1 orange (maybe some juice too?)
- 1/4-1/2c honey or sugar (depending on how sweet you like yours)
- 1c spiced rum
1. Add all ingredients into a dutch oven or large pot
2. Simmer for an hour on low heat making sure not to boil the mixture and serve with a cinnamon stick.
I also decided to bake brownies for my lab today because we have a really long meeting. Now, I’ve made countless batches of brownies over the year. You could say it’s my go-to dessert. I’m always trying new recipes too (as long as they’re very chocolatey and very fudgey). If it’s good, I bake it a few times and then I get bored and move onto something new. This is the second time I’ve made this recipe. In addition to being delicious, it’s a 1-bowl recipe! And who doesn’t love that? This time I also added a few tweaks.
The original recipe was for a 8×8 pan, but since I was making it for a big group I doubled the recipe and put it in a 9×13″
- 12 tablespoons salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
- 16 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2t espresso powder (add-in)
- 1T cocoa (add-in)
- 1.5 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- mini chocolate chips (add-in)
1. Melt the butter and chocolate over a double boiler. After it is thoroughly melted, remove from heat and add the espresso powder and cocoa. Then stir in the sugar and vanilla and mix.
2. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring to combine.
3. Add the flour. Mix vigorously for 1 minute until the graininess disappears and the mixture because smooth. (The original recipe really stressed this part. I took a picture before and after to show that it really does make a difference)
4. Add nuts and chocolate, if desired. (I would definitely would have added pecans or walnuts, but I wasn’t sure if anyone would have any opposition to nuts)
5. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes. (The original recipe for the 8×8 pan called for a 30 minute bake time. I did this and I think the brownies were a little overdone on the edge, so next time I would check it at 25 minutes to see if it was done)
Definitely a good end to the weekend!