Aug 23, 2009


One of the best things about moving is that you have a valid excuse to use all the perishable items in your fridge and pantry. So today I decided to make brownies. Furthermore, I decided I was going to make delicious wine brownies, like the ones Jojo brought to our impromptu class reunion. Of course, she simply substituted wine for water (WWJD brownies, if you will) in a packaged brownie mix. I don't believe in using mixes unless circumstances are dire, so I figured I would improvise.

*cue ominous music*

First I started with this simple brownie recipe:
1/2 c. butter or oil
4 tbsp. cocoa or 2 sq. chocolate
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
3/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. nuts, chopped

Mix all ingredients together. Spread in well greased pan. Bake a 350, 30-35 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes.
Already I'm excited because of the two-step instructions: mix, then bake. Except, nowhere is water mentioned in this recipe. How am I supposed to substitute wine for water if there isn't any water? Upon further consideration, several other problems make themselves apparent...

1. I don't have any unsweetened cocoa, only hot cocoa mix pouches. Gourmet hot cocoa mix pouches, but still.
2. After my dad's heart attack, the whole family switched from eggs (evil, cholesterol-filled sons of bitches) to egg-substitute products.
3. There isn't a drop of vanilla extract to be had in the apartment, and I'm sure as hell not going out to buy any for one batch of brownies.
4. My mounting frustration, evidenced by my increasingly colorful language. Dammit.

So ... I improvised further. Here's what I actually ended up using:
1/2 c. butter (melted from it's frozen state in an improvised double-boiler)
entire packet of gourmet "double dutch" hot cocoa mix (why not?)
3/4 c. sugar (cut back to compensate for sugar in hot cocoa mix)
2 egg-equivalent amount of egg substitute (shaking a carton is much easier than beating eggs, anyway)
almost 3/4 c. flour (ran out!)
a pinch of salt (since I used salted butter)
1/2 tsp. baking powder (...ish)
a generous dollop on hard cider
Wait a minute, you're thinking. Hard cider? I thought you were going to use wine!

Yes, yes. But for some reason (I blame nasty, devious, wine-stealing gnomes!) I have no open bottles of wine in my house. Or rather, open bottles of wine never last long in my house. Anyway, I splashed in some hard cider and then enjoyed the rest of the bottle while I waited for the brownies to bake (same temp/time as the original instructions). A win-win, if you ask me!

And here I am, sitting with the finished product. Here goes, fair readers.

*nom nom nom*

Not bad. The chocolate taste is muted, and there is the subtle flavor of cider without the alcoholic bite. And they're quite cakey, not really as dense as brownies usually are. Overall, though, quite delicious and a definite success. Now I just have to figure out how to use that box of sangria Liz brought me, and I'll be all set!

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