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Champagne Brownies

Cherry - Champagne Glazed Brownies
June 2007
Mmmmmm… I love these brownies. Something about the chocolate, champagne and cherry is just wonderful! The trick to this is securing champagne jelly. You can make it yourself (just run a google search) if you are the jelly-making type, order a jar and a side of foi gras from Fauchon, or get really lucky and find it in a store. I went with option three and bought several jars of cherry champagne jelly while wandering through A Southern Season’s pantry aisle in Chapel Hill, NC.


I first discovered these brownies the week before the Academy Awards when a friend suggested them for a black-tie Oscar-watching party. They set a new standard in the world of brownies. The from-scratch version is decadent, but I don’t always have that kind of time so I have adapted it for use with box brownie mix. Both recipes are below.

This week I am baking them to celebrate the pre-screening of my first film. “Uncommon People, Common Ground” is an advocacy film (read as: Short Documentary) about community leaders in Southeast DC that was written, filmed, and roduced by my NCL class. We are having a big party to celebrate the people we interviewed. Many people welcomed us into the community and shared their vision with us. They do so much to serve those around them, I want to bake them the best!


There are two ways to approach this brownie- the fancy way and the easy way. You will be rewarded for your efforts if you go the from-scratch root, but some days require more instant gratification.


The Quicker Way (aka- My Way):
Take 1 Box Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix (Ghiardeli if you can get it) and make batter according to the package directions, but substituting a half a cup of champagne for half a cup of water. Add a heavy teaspoon of cocoa powder and spoonful of cherry jelly into the batter.

Just as the brownies come out of the oven, use a pastry brush to coat the top with cherry or champagne jelly. It should absorb while the brownies are still hot. Brush with a second coat of jelly after it seeps in, heating the jelly if necessary.



The Fancy Way:

From this blog which gives wonderful step by step photos: http://www.lovescool.com/archives/2005/10/21/champagnebrownie/
Champagne Brownies

Yield: 16 brownies

Pan: 9″ x 9″ square baking pan
Ingredients:

16 oz. (1 lb) 70% dark chocolate, chopped
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for buttering the pan
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups of sugar
4 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup champagne

Directions:

1. Adjust the rack 1/3 from bottom of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Butter a 9″x9″ baking pan and line with parchment paper (leave extra overhanging the edges for easy removal.)
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave or double boiler. If using the microwave, heat in 30 second increments and stir between each addition. Do not overheat or chocolate will seize.
3. Beat the salt, vanilla and sugar into the melted chocolate mixture.
4. Add the eggs one at a time to the chocolate mixture and beat thoroughly to incorporate.
5. Add the flour and mix just until blended.
6. Add the champagne and continue mixing the batter vigorously until it becomes very shiny and pulls away from the sides of the bowl (I use my stand mixer for this, and let it run for 2-3 minutes on high. If you don’t have a mixer, just keep beating hard for several minutes. Work off those calories you’re about to consume!)
7. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out moist, but free of batter, about 45-50 minutes.

Champagne Glaze:
Place a heaping tablespoon of champagne jelly into a microwave safe cup. Heat the jelly until it becomes liquid (about 30 seconds.) Using a pastry brush, brush the warm brownies with the champagne jelly glaze. The liquid should be completely absorbed into the brownies, leaving a moist, shiny top.
Tip: The brownies should be completely cool before cutting. I recommend placing them in the refrigerator overnight to set.

Posted in Celebration Cakes.

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