Recipe: Espresso Wine Biscotti

I really love to snack.  I know it’s not what we’re supposed to do to maintain (or lose) weight, but I find myself wandering around the house when I’m bored, looking for something that might be delicious.  This recipe has saved me multiple times by being easy to make, yet satisfyingly delicious while still being fairly healthy.  Since I love to incorporate wine into anything I make or bake, this recipe has become one of my own after starting as one from a published cookbook (Simply Delicious).

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  EspressoWineBiscotti
  2. Mix your dry ingredients together:  1 1/8 cup flour, 1T ground espresso coffee, 1 t baking powder, 1/4 t cinnamon, and 1/8 t salt.
  3. Whisk your wet ingredients until frothy:  1/2 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 1/2 T brewed espresso, 1/2 t vanilla, and 1 T red wine (I used a Merlot in this recipe, but use whatever red wine you like).
  4. Combine your dry ingredients into the wet, until they just come together.
  5. Roll the dough gently, on a floured board with floured hands, to form a log. Carefully transfer the log onto the baking sheet and pat it into a form about 3/4 inch high and 2 inches wide.
  6. Bake the log until it’s firm to touch, about 20 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board and allow to cool for 5 minutes or so.  Reduce heat in oven to 300 degrees.
  7. While log is still warm, cut into 1/4 inch slices, using a serrated knife, and lay the slices back on the baking sheet in a single file.  Bake biscotti for 10 minutes, flip, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until dry.  Remove to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.  The biscotti will become more crisp as they cool.
  8. If you want to add an extra touch, warm chocolate chips and drizzle over an end of the biscotti.  This is not necessary but is a delicious addition if you’re not planning to use these for dunking in coffee or hot cocoa.

I really liked the addition of the red wine to this recipe.  The flavor was just a touch deeper and it didn’t alter the consistency of the biscotti in any discernible way.  I like keeping these on hand for when someone stops by to visit… it’s always nice to seem prepared for company with such an elegant thing to add to a shared cup of coffee.  Hope you find them as tasty as I do… I love these!

Recipe: Another twist on brownies

Every once in a while, I get a craving for brownies.  Today, my craving was for a simple recipe for brownies that wouldn’t take much in the way of time or effort… the Army/Navy game was starting at 3PM and I just didn’t want to get too invested in the “how” of making brownies.  Enter the Shake and Pour Brownies Mix container (as shown in the picture).702733_10151373537062953_589848861_n

This interesting item that I found in the baking aisle of the grocery store instructed me to simply “add 1/2 cup water and shake” to be able to make brownies… how much simpler could that be?  My next thought was how the  brownies would taste if I substituted red wine in place of water… I mean, why use water if I can use wine, right?

I brought the package home and added a shy 1/2 cup of James River Cellars Rad Red wine.  Once I poured the mixture into my 9×9 pan, I added a small amount of wine into the container to finish getting all the remaining traces of brownie mix and poured that into the pan as well.  I gently mixed everything together (since it was already in the baking pan) and popped it into the oven.  In true “Using The Force” style, I sprinkled the end of a bag of Bits o’ Brickle onto the top after the first 10 minutes of cooking time.  If you wanted to add chocolate chips or candy bits, this would work equally well.

I baked them a little too long (in my opinion) but otherwise I think they turned out nicely.   This would be an easy thing to keep on hand for those last minute times when you need to send a baked good along with someone, whether they’re going to work or headed back to school.

Try your own version of these easy brownies… maybe use espresso or coffee in place of the water?  Who knows… you might come up with the perfect new dessert for your family!  Use The Force… it can be so much fun and oh, so tasty!

Recipe: Mocha Wine Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting

This is my spin on a recipe that a friend posted recently.  After looking at it closer, I realized that it was a similar version of my favorite chocolate cake recipe (Althouse Chocolate Wedding Cake) that I’ve been using ever since our wedding in 1988.  I adore this recipe.  Since it’s a chocolate cake that uses oil and vinegar instead of milk, butter, and eggs, it’s an easy recipe to have on hand anytime.  I’ve made this in a 9×13, 9″ rounds, 8″ rounds, as well as cupcakes… it freezes beautifully and thaws just as well.  Simply put, this is the one chocolate cake recipe to keep on hand for any occasion.  NOTE: This recipe is a “half recipe”… if you want to make a 9×13 or two rounds, you’ll need to double this recipe.

Mocha Wine Chocolate Cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

3 T cocoa

6 t oil

1 T apple cider vinegar

1 t vanilla

1/2 cup coffee (I used espresso)

1/2 cup red wine (I used a Meritage, dry red)

Mix together and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.

Nutella Frosting:

6 T Nutella

4 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 t vanilla

Mix together, using an electric mixer, until thoroughly smooth.

I have each of these ingredients on hand at any given time, so it’s easier than worrying if I have a cake mix in the cupboard.  I might not have all the ingredients for the frosting in my cupboard, but even pre-made frosting tastes pretty darn yummy when paired with this cake.

This is my very favorite chocolate cake recipe and I hope that it becomes one of yours as well.