Wine Tasting Weekend & Oh Chocolatey Brownies
May 9, 2011 § 20 Comments
This past weekend was exactly what I needed. Eric and I went wine tasting – one of our favorite things in the world to do. We went to Paso Robles, which happens to only be a few hours north of Los Angeles but always transports me to another world whenever I visit. The photo above was snapped on one of the small side roads – how beautiful, yes? It’s just acre after acre of beautiful scenery connecting the tasting rooms and I never tire of taking it all in. I have this lofty goal of visiting every single tasting room and with new wineries opening seemingly every day this will probably never happen but it’s still a fun goal to have. This weekend we visited Donaldi, Changala, Kaleidos, Denner, Chateau Margene, and lastly Thacher… I’d say we put a good dent in the list of tasting rooms.
The impetus for this visit was Thacher’s spring pick-up party. Being members of their wine club, we receive regular half-case shipments of their wines. In the spring though, they have a pick-up party for their members. This was our third consecutive year attending and each year it has gotten more fun. The past couple years they’ve scheduled their parties to fall on Kentucky Derby day and thrown a Derby themed party, complete with a hat and costume contest. As always, we had a blast – the food kept coming and the wine never stopped pouring. I think I might have even won the best outfit contest (my dress had graphics of awards, trophies, and horses) but was in the tasting room – natch – when they were collecting the ticket stub votes.
If you’re ever up in the Paso area I would definitely recommend a stop into the Thacher tasting room, especially if you enjoy the smaller mom and pop type places. We actually opened a bottle of one of their Zinfandels last week and noticed that only 72 cases of this blend had been produced. It doesn’t get much more special than that.
I’d also like to share some brownies with you. These were amazingly delicious! I love a good brownie. I’ve made several brownie recipes in the past but this was the first one I’ve made that used actual chocolate rather than cocoa powder. It was SO GOOD. One thing I like about this recipe is that the brownies baked perfectly without the edges over-hardening when cooled. I was able to cut them the next day without a problem.
Recipe after the jump
Oh Chocolatey Brownies:
8 oz (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 12 small cubes
9 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9″x13″ pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
In a small pan, heat the butter over medium heat until fully melted. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Stir from the middle until the chocolate is melted and completely incorporated. Set aside to cool a bit.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the brown sugar. Slowly beat in one egg at a time, not adding the next until the previous one is mixed in. Add the salt, sugar, and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add in the chocolate/butter mixture, and mix until combined. Add the flour and continue to mix until fully incorporated.
Pour the batter into the lined and greased pan, and top with the slivered almonds. Bake until cake tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan, preferably overnight. Carefully remove from the pan and away from the foil. Cut into squares and enjoy!
Source: The Modern Baker