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Easy Red Wine Brownies

Easy Red Wine Brownies


Easy, delicious and fudgy red wine brownies. The perfect Valentine's Day dessert idea, girl's night treat, or mid-week pick me up! You are going to love how seriously quick and simple this recipe is. Serve with ice cream and my red wine chocolate sauce for the ultimate wine-lovers dessert!

Whenever I do a poll on Instagram asking what recipes you'd like to see, recipes with red wine always make the list! And especially red wine and chocolate. So here we are! Deep, rich, delicious chocolate? Check! Full, deep and fruity wine flavor? Check!


I definitely wanted this red wine brownie recipe to have a noticeable red wine flavor. I mean otherwise, what's the point? So I have two great options for you:

1) Use port! Port is a naturally sweet, red fortified wine. If you love red wine, I'm going to guess that you'll also love port. Because it has a stronger flavor, more of that deliciousness comes through in the brownies. You can find port at your local grocery store in the wine section, and it is usually not expensive. I used this port from Maryhill Winery, since it's my current favorite!

2) Make a red wine reduction! If you'd rather use your favorite red wine, you can easily reduce it on the stove. This will help concentrate the flavors so that you really taste them in your brownies. It's super simple to do, and you can read about how I reduced red wine in this recipe for Merlot Chocolate Truffles. I'd recommend using any wine that usually pairs well with dark chocolate, such as Merlot, Syrah or Cabernet Sauvignon.


Brownie Ingredients:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cups cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup port (or red wine reduction - see note above)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Brownie Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 baking dish, and line with parchment paper. I like to create an overhang of parchment paper for super easy removal.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through salt. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine the butter, port, vanilla and eggs. Add the dry ingredients in two batches, stirring with a spatula until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking dish, and bake 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs.

Serve with ice cream and chocolate wine sauce! 

Chocolate Wine Sauce Ingredients: 

2 Tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup port (or red wine reduction)

Chocolate Wine Sauce Directions: 

Combine the heavy cream and chocolate chips in a microwave safe dish, and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir until melted and smooth. Stir in port, and serve immediately.




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Kirsten Bell
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Sweet, Spicy & Salty Bourbon Peanuts

Sweet, Spicy & Salty Bourbon Peanuts


These amazing sweet, spicy and salty glazed peanuts are perfect for baseball games, football watching parties (Super Bowl, anyone?), or enjoying with a movie! Incredibly quick and easy, these delicious nuts are sure to be a hit at your next party. The woodsy and peppery rosemary compliments both the warm Brown Sugar Bourbon and spicy cayenne perfectly - these nuts are a flavor explosion with every bite!


When I'm entertaining, I love recipes that can be made ahead of time so there's one less thing for me to think about! These peanuts can be made ahead of time, and stored in an airtight container for up to a week. They're great warm or at room temperature - to reheat just warm in the oven at 350 for about 5-10 minutes!

Serve these nuts alongside a glass of Brown Sugar Bourbon, and scroll to the bottom of the this post for more delicious bourbon recipes!





Ingredients: 

1 tablespoon butter, melted
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar Bourbon
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on desired spiciness
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 cups unsalted peanuts

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine all ingredients except the peanuts in a large mixing bowl, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add the peanuts and stir to evenly coat. Spread the peanuts evenly and in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Allow to cool for a few minutes, and then gently break the nuts apart with your fingers. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in an airtight container, and eat within a week!




Love bourbon? Check out these other bourbon recipes: 


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Kirsten Bell
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Peach Bellini Cupcakes

Peach Bellini Cupcakes


Happy Friday everyone! I hope you've all been having a wonderful holiday season, and it's not over yet! New Years Eve is just a few days away, and I'm so excited to ring in a new decade!

These super easy peach bellini cupcakes are the perfect champagne inspired dessert for however you plan to celebrate! Whether it's with a full blown party or pajamas on the couch watching movies (that will be me!), you'll love these fun and festive cupcakes. Full of fresh fruity peach flavor, and topped with delicious champagne frosting, these are the perfect New Years treat.


Even thought these cupcakes are cocktail inspired, they actually don't have any alcohol in them and can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike! The delicious fruity flavor comes from my new obsession: Amoretti Peach Compound. It tastes like real fresh peach, and flavors the cupcakes in a subtle and delicious way. Also it uses natural flavors and no high fructose corn syrup, which are both wins in my book! For the frosting I used Amoretti Champagne Extract for something extra fancy! 





Makes 12 standard cupcakes

Peach Cupcake Ingredients: 

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 Tablespoon Amoretti Peach Compound
1/3 cup Sour Cream (or full-fat plain or peach yogurt)
1/4 cup buttermilk

Champagne Buttercream Ingredients: 

1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon Amoretti Champagne Extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon heavy cream, if needed 

Cupcake Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through salt.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Mix in the sugar until combined. Add in the eggs, peach compound, sour cream and buttermilk and mix on low until all ingredients are incorporated. Then add the flour mixture, mixing on low until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Spoon the batter into the lined muffin tin, filling the liners evenly to about 1/2-2/3 full. Bake 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Allow to cool before removing from liners.

Buttercream Directions: 

Whip the butter until light and fluffy. Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add champagne and vanilla extract. Increase the speed to high, and mix about 2-3 minutes. Frost the cooled cupcakes, and serve!






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Kirsten Bell
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A Merry and Bright Christmas Tea

A Merry and Bright Christmas Tea


Christmas is just 5 days away, can you believe it? This whole month of December we've been celebrating by baking cookies, making festive cocktails, and of course, my annual Christmas tea!

I hosted this year's Christmas tea early in the season, and it was such a fun way to kick off the festivities with friends. I would totally use this same set up for a fun Christmas or New Years Eve brunch too!

Last year I opted for a traditional red and plaid table, so this year I chose a Merry and Bright theme with pinks and blues. I love how happy and relaxed this table feels. Read on for all the details!

Used In This Post: 



I knew I was going to focus the table on light pastels, and just about jumped with glee when I found these adorable nostalgic village salad plates! I love that each plate has a different winter village scene - they are so pretty! I love how the snowflake napkin rings tie in with the plates, and also add just a bit of glam to the table.


My centerpiece was incredibly simple this year, with some bottle brush trees in different colors and  pretty candles, set on a simple pink table runner. It doesn't get much easier than that, and we've been enjoying the bottle brush trees as decoration around the living room too!


For desserts, I set up a hot cocoa bar with all the fixings, and a fun tiered tray full of various sweets! I love this 3-tier stand, because it makes every cookie whether homemade or store-bought look beautiful! It's one of my go-to dishes when I'm entertaining!



If you have any questions about anything on this table or how to host your own Christmas tea (or party of any kind), check out my 6 Tips For An Easy and Beautiful Christmas Tea, or leave a comment below!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!



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Kirsten Bell
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Gingerbread Cake with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting

Gingerbread Cake with Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting


Do you love gingerbread? Me too! Spicy, moist and festive - this Gingerbread cake is all the delicious gingerbread flavors in cake form! The perfect dessert for Christmas dinners and New Years festivities. This cake is sure to become everyone's new favorite dessert, even for the busy cook since it takes just a few minutes to come together and is beautiful to present!

Also, I personally love semi-naked cakes! They're so quick and easy to frost, and especially when the cake is such a pretty color like this one, I love seeing the cake layers peeking through the cream cheese frosting!


The star player of this cake is the Brown Sugar Bourbon drizzled over each layer of cake, and in the cream cheese frosting! So warm and delicious, and a perfect way to elevate the cake for special occasions. The bourbon perfectly compliments the brown sugar and molasses flavors in this cake, and it's basically a dessert and nightcap in one!

If you enjoy bourbon, scroll to the bottom of this post for my other favorite bourbon recipes!





Cake Ingredients: 

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
 2 eggs
1 1/4 cups brewed coffee
1 cup molasses
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Brown Sugar Bourbon (plus more for drizzling)

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350, and grease and line the bottoms of three 6" cake pans or two 8" cake pans. Set aside.

Whisk together the dry ingredients, flour through cloves, and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the softened butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, molasses and coffee, mixing until combined. Your batter will look piecy at this stage, and that's ok! It will all come together in the next step.

Add the dry ingredients in two batches, mixing on low speed until just combined and making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl often.

 Evenly divide the cake batter between the prepared pans. Bake for 32-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting: beat together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, mixing on low. Add the Brown Sugar Bourbon and mix until light and fluffy.

To assemble, drizzle 2-3 teaspoons of Brown Sugar Bourbon on the top of each dry cake layer, and then frost. Allow the bourbon to settle into the cake for a few hours before serving, and enjoy!



Love Bourbon as much as I do? Check out my other Bourbon recipes!




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Kirsten Bell
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