Healthier Red Wine Brownies: Perfect for a Girl's "Night In"
Red wine brownies speak to my dessert-loving heart SO much. Because, why not add red wine to fudgy brownies packed full of chocolate? Whether or not it’s been a hard week, popping open a bottle of wine and adding a little to your homemade brownies recipe just feels a little more…sophisticated. And, if you take these to a party, you will be the talk of the event. It might be a good idea to bake an extra batch. I know you’re going to love these red wine brownies as much as I do, for a variety of reasons!
OMG...these brownies are guilt-free?!
YES! You can have all the delicious flavor of the quintessential chocolate brownie and feel less guilt (go on…help yourself to another one). Here’s why:
- Three-quarters of the sugar found in a traditional brownie recipe is thrown out the window here. The main source of sweetness comes from Truvia Sweet Complete instead of regular, granulated sugar. In fact, there is only 1/4 cup light brown sugar in the entire recipe.
- In place of melted butter, I used extra virgin olive oil, which adds a more healthful (and plant-based) fat.
- To make this available to those who prefer not to eat dairy or eggs – and decrease the amount of saturated fat – this uses flax meal eggs instead of traditional eggs. Don’t even get me started on the added benefits of flax meal.
- Make this vegan-friendly by using vegan baking chocolate and chocolate chips, too! Mix and match ingredients to suit your preferences if you prefer a flexitarian approach.
Red Wine Brownies Ingredient List
All-purpose flour: As this recipe calls for 1/2 cup of flour, that really isn’t a ton compared to the rest of the ingredients. The reason for this is an effort to create a fudge-like texture.
Baking powder: Just 1/2 tsp will do…trust me. I tried it with a full tsp. and got a little too much rise. This is double-acting baking powder that is most accessible in the U.S.
Kosher salt: I used pink Himalayan sea salt for even distribution.
Unsweetened cocoa powder: The main source of chocolate in this recipe. As any baker will tell you, using a good quality cocoa powder goes a long way in making the brownies delicious. I should note that it is best to sift the cocoa powder before adding to the other ingredients if it is lumpy.
Unsweetened baking cocoa: I only use a few ounces of this chocolate, melted in a double broiler before incorporating into the other wet ingredient. Some brownie recipes call for more, but I limited the amount due to the fact that baking chocolate is hard at room temperature and can dry out brownies after they cool, and return to room temperature. I love the added depth of flavor this provides, but nobody wants a dry brownie.
Chocolate chips: Use the kind you prefer – mini or regular. I incorporated vegan chocolate chips in these. Though the mini chocolate chips were added to my favorite batch, I do think I prefer full size chocolate chips if you can get them. Again, that’s just me being a perfectionist… 😉
Truvia Sweet Complete: A 1:1 baking substitute for granulated sugar. Since we need a whole cup, I appreciate eliminating that much sugar from the ingredient list.
Light brown sugar: Only a quarter cup is necessary and just lends a little more flavor depth and sugar structure to the brownies, given the fact we substituted most of the sugar with Truvia.
Pure vanilla extract: I add two teaspoons of vanilla extract to this batch of brownies, but you can get away with one. The vanilla extract adds a hint of extra sweetness to the brownies, and I think the added teaspoon is a great balance to the red wine.
The Source of Fat
Extra virgin olive oil: Rather than incorporate melted butter and keep this vegan-friendly, I used extra virgin olive oil. The olive oil adds a fruity undertone to the brownies and plays well with the red wine flavor. You can certainly use a good-quality and neutral-flavored oil of your choosing, like pecan oil.
A little extra dose of "healthy"
Flax meal eggs: A wonderful substitute for traditional egg, especially for those who follow a vegan diet. Before you get started making these, place the flax eggs in the refrigerator to help achieve a more viscous texture.
Red Wine Brownies
- 9x9 inch baking pan
- 1 cup Truvia baking sweetener
- 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
- ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder sifted, if clumpy
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 ounces extra virgin olive oil this is a scant 1/2 cup
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup + 2 tsp red wine I used Malbec
- 3 flax eggs 3 tablespoons flax meal + 9 tablespoons water, mixed together and placed in refrigerator
- 2 ounces unsweetened baking cocoa half a typical bar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Mix the flax meal and water and place in refrigerator, if you have not already done so. Use a medium - large bowl for the flax eggs as you will add ingredients to this bowl.
- Use a small amount of olive oil to grease a 9x9-inch baking pan. Add a piece of parchment paper to the pan, with about a 2-inch overhang to grasp and remove from the pan after baking.
- In a double broiler, or glass bowl set over a small pan with gently-boiling water, melt the unsweetened baking cocoa.
- Remove the flax eggs from the refrigerator and whisk to make sure all water and flax meal is combined thoroughly - and is a little springy.
- Slowly whisk the Truvia and light brown sugar into the flax eggs until incorporated. Add the cocoa powder, vanilla extract, olive oil, melted baking cocoa, and red wine, whisking to combine.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gently whisk or fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients.
- Stir in the chocolate chips. Pour or scoop the brownie batter into the parchment-lined baking pan. Spread evenly.
- Bake for 40 minutes, or until the sides are set and a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownie pan comes out with a few crumbs. The brownies will continue to bake after removing from the oven.
- Allow to cool before cutting and serving.
- Granulated sugar instead of Truvia.
- Melted butter instead of olive oil. If using melted butter, increase the amount of butter to 4 ounces, or a full 1/2 cup.
- Regular eggs instead of flax eggs.
When checking for “doneness” during baking, don’t wait until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove the brownies from the oven when a few crumbs still cling to the toothpick when it is inserted in the center.
Make these red wine brownies like a pro...
Don’t worry about using a stand mixer. These brownies can be made in *almost* one bowl. Start with the flax egg in the bottom of a large bowl and whisk the sugars and wet ingredients into the bowl, thoroughly combining. Then, slowly add the dry mixture (flour, baking powder, and salt) into the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined and adding the chocolate chips at the end.
Olive oil is a little more dense than melted butter, which is what is traditionally used in recipes. Therefore, you need just a little less olive oil – 3 ounces instead of 4, which is just under 1/2 cup.
Parchment paper makes these easier to remove from the pan. Allow them to cool a little in the baking pan before removing and cooling on a wire rack – the parchment paper will make them much easier to handle!
Brownie Batter and Baking
Your batter consistency might vary a little. Did you notice the dark, fudgy texture of the batter in my earlier photos? That fluctuates – your red wine brownie batter might look a little more whipped and lighter, which is perfectly fine. Some of the texture and color will depend upon what ingredients you use – even the brand of cocoa powder, for example – the size of your chocolate chips, etc.
Stay close to your oven during the last 5-10 minutes of baking. Brownies have a bad habit of overbaking and drying out very quickly. It is fairly common to remove them from the oven a few minutes early. Each oven is different (even when the thermostat on the panel reads the same temperature) and yours might bake a little hotter than mine. So, just to be careful, check the brownies about 10 minutes early and every five minutes after that.
Small Details for Great Brownies
The better quality the ingredients, the better the outcome. From the chocolate to the wine, the ingredients do matter. You will get a much more decadent outcome if you get baking chocolate and cocoa powder that suits your palate.
When measuring the flour and cocoa powder, use a spoon to scoop the ingredients into the measuring cup(s), as opposed to putting the measuring cup into the containers and using them as a scoop. Why? This helps prevent adding too many dry ingredients. The measuring cups should not be tightly packed with flour or cocoa powder.
Acceptable Substitutions for Your Brownies
Regular eggs instead of flax meal eggs. No adjustments necessary – this is a 1:1 ratio.
Melted butter instead of olive oil. If you use butter instead of olive oil, increase to a full 1/2 cup. And, add the melted chocolate to the melted butter before incorporating into the wet ingredients.
Granulated sugar instead of Truvia. This is a 1:1 ratio, so no measurement adjustments are necessary. Keep in mind that Truvia can be a little sweeter than sugar, so you might notice a slight change in sweetness.