Crew’s Mess: Brownies with Merlot Glaze

Jan 12, 2020 by Capt. John Wampler

Crew’s Mess: by Capt. John Wampler

It’s unclear exactly when chocolate came on the scene or who invented it. According to Hayes Lavis, cultural arts curator for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, ancient Olmec pots and vessels from about 1500 B.C. were discovered in southern Mexico with traces of theobromine, a stimulant compound found in chocolate and tea. 

Chocolate was unknown to Europeans until the 16th century. Although Christopher Columbus encountered cacao on his fourth voyage to the New World, it wasn’t until after the conquest of the Aztecs by Hernan Cortez that chocolate was exported, first to Spain and then the rest of Europe. 

When it comes to great discoveries, chocolate ranks high in my book. Not only does it have heart healthy properties, it has also been said to be an aphrodisiac. 

Ingredients for brownies

  • 1/4 cup merlot      
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Ingredients for merlot glaze

  • 2 tablespoons merlot
  • 2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter      


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the chocolate and butter until smooth. Add wine and whisk until fully incorporated, then remove from heat.

Add eggs and whisk until smooth. Add sugar and vanilla, and whisk well. Add flour, salt and cocoa powder, and mix well.

Next, pour batter into a 9-by-9-inch, tin foil-covered baking pan. Bake in oven for 25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

To make the glaze while the brownies are baking, melt the butter and semi-sweet chocolate until smooth. Then whisk in the wine and set aside.

After removing the brownies from the oven, let them cool. Then drizzle the glaze over the brownies and spread the topping using a rubber spatula. Enjoy.

Capt. John Wampler ( has worked on yachts for over 30 years. His recipes are casual enough for anyone to prepare. Comments are welcome below.