Friday, December 9, 2011

Champagne Brownies for Nelly!

Marnely of Cooking with Books, affectionately known as Nelly to many of us, is one of the kindest, most generous food bloggers (and people) I've had the luck to "meet." Though I haven't had the chance to greet her in person (yet), Nelly was one of the first to befriend me when I joined Twitter and was always there to help a girl out, whether that meant retweeting my latest posts or using her cooking chops (from her C.I.A. training and other experience) to answer my frantic questions O=).

Bubbly Brownies
So when Nelly announced not so long ago that Murray, the love of her life, had proposed and that they were about to embark on a journey of a lifetime together, you can imagine how delighted we were for her and how many of us wanted to give back just a little of what she'd given to all of us. Fortunately, Sanjeeta of Lite Bite stepped up to the plate and put together a fun n' fabulous blog hop today. There's just 1 day left before Nelly takes the big leap, and we wanted to send as much love to her as possibly before the Big Day!

Brownie Collage
I knew almost right away what I wanted to make for #NellysBigDay: a rich brownie with a champagne twist. Dark chocolate to remind them that while any real journey will have its high points and rough spots, taken together the experience will be most sublime. And both their love of each other and depth of appreciation for their life together will be greater as a result. Of course, the champagne is in tribute to the sweetness and exuberance of young love with the hope that they'll be as excited to be joined in 40 years as they are on Day 1. Congratulations, Nelly and Murray -- wishing you both a lifetime of happiness!

Biten Brownies
Fudgy Champagne Brownies [Printable Recipe]
Adapted from Lovescool via She Who Eats
Makes about 16 servings (9-inch square pan)

XIAOLU'S NOTES: Let the brownies cool completely before cutting. I recommend placing them in the refrigerator overnight or freezer for a few hours to set if you want really clean cuts. This is a great way to use up champagne that you've accidentally let go flat (not that we ever have that problem around here lol).

15 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed, plus extra for buttering the pan
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups sugar PLUS 1 1/2 Tbsp, divided
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup (4.5 oz.) all purpose flour
1 cup champagne, divided

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper (leave extra overhanging the edges for easy removal) OR line pan with heavy duty foil and generously grease foil with butter.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave or double boiler. If using the microwave, heat in 30 second increments and stir between each addition. Do not overheat or chocolate will seize.

Beat the salt, vanilla and 1 3/4 cups of sugar into the melted chocolate mixture. Let cool slightly (about 5 minutes). Add the eggs one at a time to the chocolate mixture and beat thoroughly to incorporate. Add the flour and mix vigorously for 2 minutes. Add 3/4 cup PLUS 2 tablespoons of champagne and mix slowly until the champagne gets evenly incorporated into the batter. Then return to vigorous mixing for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out moist, but free of batter, about 40 to 55 minutes.

In a small saucepan, bring remaining 2 tablespoons of champagne and 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar to a boil, then keep at full boil for 1 full minute. Immediately use a pastry brush to brush the warm brownies with the champagne glaze. The liquid should be completely absorbed into the brownies, leaving a moist, shiny top. Let cool then enjoy!


  1. OMG! Congratulations to Nelly ^^ so lovely!
    And also very sweet of you to make brownies for her~ Love the phrase about dark chocolate~
    I'm going to check out Nelly's recipe ^^


  2. Thank you so much for this post, I am definitely making these this holiday season!!!

  3. The pleasure's all mine, Nelly! Can't wait to hear about ur big day <3.

  4. Aww this is such a lovely post! Congrats Nelly!

  5. I love champagne, and what a way to celebrate brownies for a special friend! So happy to party with you virtually!

  6. Great brownies!Perfect for a wedding. congrats to nelly!



  7. Oooh! The name alone makes me want them!! What a great contribution to the shower:) And I love that you really thought about how the ingredients could be a metaphor for Nelly and Brian's marriage. Beautiful!

  8. aww congrats to the happy couple! Champagne in do you THINK of these things?!?!?

  9. Champagne in Brownies..a treat with a kick! Now you are exploiting our taste senses..can't wait to see how those Brownies look!
    Thanks Xiaolu for being a part of this wonderful virtual party and for your support. Love you.

  10. Champagne in brownies? Amazing! Love this idea!

  11. After seeing so many posts dedicated to Nelly, I feel like I really want to meet her :) What a great combination of dark chocolate and champagne, I hope to do something like this if I ever get married!

  12. Oo I remember seeing these brownies years ago and thinking they looked amazing! And yours look even better mmm so fudgey.

  13. Very nice photos! I love the idea of this brownies :>

  14. Wow that looks beautiful with crackly top and fudgy inside , how the way it should be .. Love the recipe as well with ur beautiful clicks.

  15. OMG!! These brownies are to die for! I am drooling...

  16. Champagne & brownies! How wonderful. I am loving this virtual shower :)

  17. They look super fudgy, sweetie! Exactly how I like my brownies to be. Delicious!

  18. wow your photos are so pretty! and these brownies sounds amaaazing! :)

  19. Champagne and chocolate....that's a match made in heaven...and such a sweet omen for Nelly for her wedding. Simply delicious Xiaolu...can I bribe you to make a batch for my wedding :p

  20. oh my gosh this is such a gorgeous thing to do and I love love love the brownie, oh I can't wait to make them, I'm a sucker for a good brownie and what better than champange wedding day ones!

    Also, congratulations of course to Nelly & Murray!

  21. I really like the sound of these and am going to have to make them as can't imagine exactly how the champagne flavours come through. How exciting! They look absolutely gorgeous - all dense and fudgy - what a lovely celebratory recipe :-)

  22. This is such a beautiful recipe. They look intensely chocolatey and rich, just the way I like them. Definitely worthy of such a special occasion!

  23. These look amazing, perfect for such a special celebration :) Love it!
    Heidi xo

  24. Do you need to let the champagne sit out and go flat before mixing it in?

    1. Nope! But if it's gone flat on its own, you can still use it just fine =).


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