We love to visit the Napa Valley when we are in California, and one of the ones we love to visit is the Robert Mondavi Winery just outside of the lovely little town of St Helena. It’s nestled in a beautiful setting and the vines seem to go on for miles. I wasn’t expecting to discover brownies as well as wines there though! I’ll tell you a bit more about that later.
There are several different tours and tastings available at Robert Mondavi Winery at various price points, and on our most recent visit we chose their Signature Tour and Tasting. This follows the path of the grape from vineyard, to cellar, to finished wine. and concludes with a seated educational tasting. The tour was very extensive and I learned a great deal about grapes, wine making and wine itself.
We even tasted wine from a barrel, part way through its maturation process. It was a so interesting. At the end of the tour, we all sat down for a wonderful tasting of six different wines, and at the end, we tasted a beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon. I was a bit shocked when we were offered brownies to go with it, but one thing I was to find out on this particular visit was that Cabernet Sauvignon and chocolate are a marriage made in heaven. Even more so, in fact, when the wine is actually used to make the brownies as well.
Seriously, you need to try these brownies! I’ve served them at dinner parties since our return home, alongside the remaining Cabernet Sauvignon from the bottle used to make them, to absolutely rave reviews. I would have absolutely no objection to eating one of these little beauties earlier in the day with a cup of coffee either.
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
6 ounces butter
¼ cup rum
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
¼ cup flour
½ cup dried cherries
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon
Preheat the oven to 325℉ (160℃). Put the dried cherries, 1 teaspoon of sugar and the Cabernet Sauvignon into a saucepan. cook on low until the cherries absorb the wine and plump up. Cool and set aside.
Spray one dozen mini-muffin tins or an 8 inch square cake pan with non-stick spray (or line them).
Melt butter and chocolate in a bowl over simmering water on the stove top. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir in the rum. Let the chocolate mixture cool slightly. Blend the eggs and sugar together and then slowly add to the warm chocolate mixture. Stir in the flour and nuts until well combined. Scoop batter into mini-muffin tins, filling only half full with batter. Put a plumped cherry in the centre of each muffin and bake on centre rack in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Let cool before removing from the tins.
I drain the cherries and added them to the batter with the flour as I find this distributes them nicely and is not as fiddly. Also I find these cook more quickly that suggested (mine take about 25 minutes), but I always check they are done by inserting a skewer in the centre. When it comes out virtually clean (they are brownies after all!) they are done.
Recipe courtesy of Robert Mondavi Wines. The 21st Century Housewife was not compensated for this post. We paid for our own wine tour.