A package arrived the other day, the accompanying note read - Dear Amy, with the colder weather settling, we are now firmly in Gluhwein season. Gluhwein season I thought, how interesting. I had never heard of this term before and so was intrigued.
Inside the small cardboard box, a small drawstring bag held treasures in the form of vanilla bean sugar, delicate infuser bags and a packet of Gluhwein Gewurz. I opened it up and inhaled what can only be described as festive joy - cloves, cinnamon, orange, lemon all danced under my nose. I continued reading the note...
To brew add 2 tsp of Gluhwein Gewurz to the infuser bag, pour a bottle of red wine into a large pot, add 60g vanilla bean sugar and gently heat for 20-30 minutes, Serve with sliced oranges or a cinnamon quill.
Not one to enjoy a glass of mulled wine I immediately began to dream of all the ways I could incorporate these soul-warming elements into a baked treat. Is it any wonder chocolate was a front runner, paired effortlessly with red wine? Lush. Decadent. Rich. Warming.
A sprinkle of fragrant vanilla bean sugar on top results in a crisp outer shell which pairs perfectly with the fudgy, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth insides. It can, of course, be enjoyed still warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or, if like me you prefer a truffle-like texture in small bite-sized pieces it can be eaten straight from the fridge, just don't go eating too many pieces all in the one go...I speak from experience!
Makes a 20cm x 20cm slab
*Recipe inspired by Broma Bakery
115g unsalted butter
115g dark chocolate, chopped
220g brown sugar
100g caster sugar
zest of an orange
2 free-range eggs, at room temperature
125g cocoa powder (try and use the best you can afford, I love using Callebaut)
60g plain flour
2 tsp Gluhwein Gewurz (you can find this at Gewurzhaus) If you don't want to purchase it, however, you can use 1tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4tsp ground cloves, 1/4tsp ground fennel, the zest of an orange and the zest of a lemon along with a few cracks of black pepper
a pinch of salt
1tsp vanilla bean extract
1/4 cup red wine
1tsp vanilla bean sugar, for sprinkling on top
Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius, fan-forced. Grease and line a 20cm x 20xm square cake tin, overlapping the baking paper in a criss-cross pattern to make it easier to remove the brownie once baked.
In a large saucepan over medium heat melt butter, then add in the chocolate and whisk until it's smooth and glossy. Remove from the heat and whisk in the spice/s. Whisk in the sugars followed by the eggs and the orange zest and then combine well.
Sift the cocoa and flour over the top and then add the salt, vanilla and red wine stirring until everything is lusciously combined. Spoon into the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon or an offset palette knife. Scatter over the vanilla bean sugar and pop into the oven for 30-40 minutes. Remove and allow to cool in the tin for at least 15 minutes before taking out of the tin and placing on a cooling rack. You can now enjoy it warm or wait until it's completely cooled before placing it in the fridge to enjoy its rich, decadent truffle-like texture. It will keep for at least a week, maybe longer, in an airtight container in the fridge.