Ever since I got back from Memphis on Sunday night, I have been going non-stop, barely having time to eat and sleep let alone cross things off my ever-growing to-do list. On top of my busy schedule, I spent the the last 24 hours dealing with a major leak in my kitchen ceiling, which started as a one-bucket problem that quickly escalated into a five-bucket problem. I think this was the one time in my life that I was praying for the snow to just stop falling. More snow accumulating on the roof of my apartment building meant more snow that was going to melt... right into my kitchen.
By the time "Happy Hour" rolled around tonight, I decided that I needed a drink. I walked into my war zone of a kitchen and poured myself a rather generous glass of Pinot Grigio. After I took the first sip, I realized that I never posted the recipe for the Merlot Cream Cheese Brownies that I formulated last month. I knew I wanted to make cream cheese brownies (I was having a craving) and, at the last minute, I poured in some wine, hoping to cash in on the idea that red wine and chocolate go well together.
Thankfully, my curiosity paid off and my baking experiment yielded delicious results. I was initially afraid the flavor of the wine would be lost or overshadowed by the cream cheese and was pleasantly surprised to taste that the slight tartness from the cream cheese actually accentuated the Merlot. All three flavors - the Merlot, the chocolate, and the cream cheese - played off one another to create an amazingly rich and decadent dessert.
So, who wants a brownie?
Merlot Cream Cheese Brownies
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs, divided
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup Merlot
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room-temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8x2-inch pan.
- Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the melted butter into a large bowl.
- Add cocoa powder and mix to combine. Add sugar and mix well.
- Add 2 eggs, one at a time, and blend until incorporated.
- Add vanilla, Merlot, flour, and salt. Combine until just mixed in.
- In a separate medium bowl, blend cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, and remaining egg.
- Pour half of the brownie batter into the pan. Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter. Pour remaining brownie batter on top of the cream cheese mixture. Swirl with a knife.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
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