Recipe: Chocolate Wine Cobbler

ChocolateWineCobblerI originally found this recipe on the side of my Facebook account. It looked yummy and was called “Chocolate Cobbler”. It showed up in my FB feed when I was looking for a new dessert and this just looked simple and tasty. For me, the plus came when the recipe called for “boiling water”… wait… water? What? Why use boiling water when I could substitute wine… and a new recipe was born. After trying this recipe a few times, I’ve finally been able to get a picture of this treat so you can see just how yummy it can be. Oh, and you’ll notice that there are exact measurements in this one because I didn’t use The Force…


2 sticks butter or margarine (I used margarine, because that’s what I had on hand)


1 1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 c self-rising flour (or use 1 1/2 cup regular flour + 2 tsp baking powder + 3/4 tsp salt)

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup milk


1 cup sugar

6 Tbs cocoa powder


2 cups boiling red wine – I used 2 cups of sweet red wine *Note: this tastes perfectly fine with boiling water instead if you so choose.


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a high-sided 9×13 baking dish, melt the two sticks of butter in the oven
  2. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl mix together the ingredients for the batter layer. Once the butter is melted, pour the batter over the melted butter but DO NOT STIR.
  3. In a clean bowl, mix together the ingredients for the chocolate layer. Sprinkle on top of the batter but DO NOT STIR.
  4. Pour 2 cups of boiling wine gently on top of entire dessert (again… DO NOT STIR) and bake for 30-45 minutes. I bake mine until I can see a nice golden brown crust.
  5. Serve warm – this is great with ice cream.

I served this dessert at our company Christmas party and it was a huge hit. If you want to substitute boiling water for the wine, that’s completely fine. I would use anything that you like, but I’d suggest using a red wine that cooks well. I find that red Bordeaux varietals (Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Petit Verdot) cook nicely and maintain their integrity throughout the process.

Enjoy! I’ll be adding a little bit of vanilla ice cream to each serving tonight, but I can’t think of anything more comforting than wine paired with chocolate…

Recipe: Wine for Dessert

There are some really wonderful dessert wines out there.  Have you taken a moment to taste them or do you pass by this unique offering in favor of something you think will be less like “sugar-overload”?   While I’m not a huge fan of the uber-sweet, I do enjoy using them for cooking or sipping after a meal.  They aren’t something I would typically choose to drink, but I certainly try everything offered when I’m on the tasting side of the bar.

One of my favorite dessert wines is Noche from Cooper Vineyard in Louisa, VA.  Here’s their description, as quoted from Cooper’s website:

Noche Chocolate- Silver 2012 VA Governor’s Cup, Silver Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association. A Virginia Norton dessert wine infused with chocolate, Noche is a decadent treat. Hints of black cherry and raspberry complement rich aromas of cocoa with a chocolate ganache finish.

I used this wine for a dessert I made a few months ago and it’s just wonderful.  I started by making a Noche Reduction.  Using the entire bottle of Noche, I cooked the wine until it had reduced by half, until a spatula left a slight line when drawn across the bottom of the saucepan., stirring frequently.  I then added about a thumb (“The Force” at work) of butter and a spoonful of sugar or so.  I also added a tiny dash of vanilla, more to satisfy my thoughts that I was actually “cooking” instead of just throwing stuff in a pot.  I allowed the sauce to simmer a bit until the sugar and butter had melted and been thoroughly incorporated.  Once this was done, I removed the pan from the stove top and waited (impatiently) for the sauce to cool thoroughly.

Once cooled, my new sauce was ready for use.  I decided to make a Hot Milk Sponge cake, cooked in a Baker’s Secret pan that was made to look like a cross between a trifle and a pie… it’s apparently called a Duncan Hines’  Tiara Dessert pan.    The sides are fluted, there’s a high edge and then a lower cake level so you could put “something” on top of the cake and not have it dribble over the edge.  If I remember correctly, they marketed this pan for use with a thick pudding mixture you would pour in the center and then top with whipped cream.


For this specific dessert, I made the Hot Milk Sponge cake (only a half recipe was needed), cooled the cake, then filled the “inside” with frozen whole cherries before drizzling the sauce over top.  Dusting it with powdered sugar was all I needed to make the dessert look magical.  While it was beautiful, it wasn’t the easiest to cut… the next time I made this dessert, I topped the entire cake with whipped topping before drizzling the sauce, thereby allowing the berries to remain in place and giving some height to the dessert.  Either way you decide to make it, this sauce was a knockout.

If you’re looking for an easier thing to do with this sauce, just slice pound cake (you can pick it up in the freezer section of your local grocery store), top with fresh fruit, and drizzle with sauce.  Simple and delicious!

An even easier option would be to drizzle the chocolate wine (sans cooking at all) over ice cream or pound cake or angelfood cake or…  you get the idea, right?

Using The Force when you create desserts can be a lot of fun.  Try to imagine the taste of what you’re creating and then see if you can break that taste down into ingredients.  Even using a store-bought chocolate sauce and adding some of Cooper’s Noche to thin it out can take your dessert to a whole new level.

Eating wine for dessert instead of drinking it… quite a different concept, yes?  Enjoy!




Recipe: Brownies… with wine

This is probably the single most incredibly easy recipe I could possibly share with you.  Each and every time I mention this in the tasting room, the reaction I get just makes me laugh.  I’m not a scientist and don’t claim to be one, so I have no real clue what it is that wine does to brownies, but let me tell you… they’re incredible.

To make this recipe, you want to find a box of brownie mix.  Not just any brownie mix, but find one that actually calls for the same amount of oil and water in the mix.  Don’t be daunted by the idea that you might not end up using the “name brand”… a generic brand will work just fine.  Keep searching on the back of the box to find one with this ratio.  I have no idea why it’s important, but it is.

Second step?  Replace the water in the recipe with an equal amount of red wine.  Here’s the thing… you can use a dry red wine, like a Cab Franc or a Malbec… you can use something with some Residual Sugar like Hanover Red (from James River Cellars) or Rad Red (from this same winery)… you can use a red Flip Flop wine if that’s what you’ve got on hand.  It’s all up to you.

Next step is to go back to the recipe and continue to follow it through the baking process.  I suggest underbaking these by a little, checking after the first time suggestion on the box.  If a knife, stuck into the middle of the brownies, comes out “mostly clean”, go ahead and take them out of the oven and let them cool.

Once your wine brownies are cool, cut them and enjoy them with your friends and neighbors.  Since the alcohol in the wine is cooked out, these are fine for kids to eat as well… provided they’re allowed to have this kind of chocolate-yummy-goodness.

You’ll probably be asked for the recipe…. feel free to point them toward this blog.  I love sharing my recipes, as you can tell by this blog!