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Shortbread Red Wine Brownie Bars

Shortbread Red Wine Brownie Bars Recipe By: Cece Kirkwood 

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Decadent chocolate paired with a beautifully buttery shortbread… These Shortbread Red Wine Brownie Bars are the perfect baked good to enjoy with your loved one this Valentine’s Day. 

Shortbread Red Wine Brownie Bars

I really love this recipe because it requires very little equipment and is a great introduction to baking more difficult things like tarts or pies. It gives you practice with blind baking, while keeping the recipe simple using brownie mix instead of baking everything from scratch. 

I have a huge confession… I really dislike baking brownies from scratch. I will avoid cocoa powder every chance I get, so any excuse to use a deliciously perfect brownie mix is my favorite! 

But, I always like to give the box mixes a little special Baking By Cece twist. This recipe calls for swapping the water for red wine in the brownie mix. The red wine is a natural pairing with chocolate and the alcohol intensifies the decadent chocolate flavors. I also throw in a couple extra chocolate chips for good measure. 

And of course, lying underneath these perfect crinkly top red wine brownies, is the best shortbread you will ever eat. 

The shortbread recipe was passed down from my Grandma and it is the perfect combination of flakey and buttery. 

Ready to dig in? 

The Process 

Prep for the Shortbread Red Wine Brownie Bars:

  • Preheat the oven to 350ºF and pre-measure the ingredients for both the shortbread & the brownies. 
  • Grease an 8×8 aluminum pan. 
  • Gather all the rest of the tools needed for the recipe.

Prepare and blind bake the shortbread: 

  • Combine the melted butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl using a rubber spatula. 
  • Then add in the flour and salt and combine. The dough will be a little buttery and greasy but don’t worry, that’s how it should be!
  • Dump the shortbread dough into the baking pan and using either your hands or a rubber spatula, begin to press and spread the shortbread until it reaches the edges of your pan. 
  • To blind bake the shortbread: Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the shortbread crust and fill it with pie weights, rice or dried beans. 
  • Blind bake the shortbread for 15 minutes

Meanwhile, mix together the brownie mix: 

  • In a large bowl, add the red wine, egg and vegetable oil. Whisk together until nice and bubbly! 
  • Then add the brownie mix and chocolate chips and whisk until completely combined. 

After 15 minutes, remove the shortbread from the oven: 

  • Turn the heat on the oven down to 325ºF 
  • Carefully take the parchment paper and beans from the top of the pie crust (they will be hot)! 
  • Prick the shortbread crust with a fork all over. This will help the moisture escape and the heat distribute evenly throughout this next step of the baking.
  • Add the brownie batter on top of the shortbread and bake for 35 – 38 minutes.
  • To tell when the brownies are done…
    • Use a toothpick and dip into the center of the brownie and see if it comes out clean. 
    • And/or you can also “listen” to the brownie. If it is still fizzing a bit, it likely needs a few more minutes. 

The finishing touches for the Shortbread Red Wine Brownie Bars:

  • Remove the brownies from the oven and top with sea salt. 
  • Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting in and devouring! 

The Tips 

While simple, there are a lot of common questions for the Shortbread Red Wine Brownie Bars, so be sure to read through if you’ve got any of the following questions! 

Can I use a different brownie mix other than Ghirardelli’s Dark Chocolate? 

The Ghirardelli’s Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix is my absolute favorite and my personal preference. But if you have a different favorite brownie mix, you can certainly use it. Make sure to pay attention to the ingredients and baking temperature that is detailed on the box as it may be different from my directions below, which uses the Ghiradelli’s directions. 

Do I have to add red wine to the brownies? 

No, but it definitely enhances the flavor! However, if you do not drink alcohol, you can simply replace the red wine 1:1 with water instead! No other changes are necessary. 

Do I have to bake this in an 8”x8” Aluminum Pan?

Not really, but it is best in an aluminum pan.If you decide to use a glass pan, you will need to adjust the temperature and baking time of this recipe. Check out more information on baking with glass vs. aluminum pans in my baking basics here

The size though is pretty important. You could probably take this recipe into a 9”x9” pan, but anything bigger will require more shortbread dough! 

Why is this Shortbread Red Wine Brownie Bars recipe in grams?

Baking is a science and in science you want things to be exact and precise. The best way to do this is by weighing out your ingredients using a simple scale. Ever baked a cookie using the same recipe, yet somehow it turns out slightly different each time? That is because when measuring by volume, you can’t be as precise. It is vital that your ingredient ratios are accurate for a reliable bake every time.

However, for this recipe, I did add the cups equivalent to the recipe below. 

How long can I store the Shortbread Red Wine Brownie Bars?

I like to store my brownies in an airtight container in the fridge. I really love a cold brownie shortbread bar and if I want it warmed up, I simply place it in the microwave for about 30 seconds. The brownies will last up to a week in the fridge! 

Is a blind bake of the shortbread necessary?

Short answer is yes! Both to prevent the shortbread from puffing up in the oven and to actually bake it! The shortbread won’t bake fully if you place the brownie batter right on top of an unbaked shortbread dough. 

To prevent the shortbread crust from puffing up in the oven, start with a blind bake. 

  • If you have some extra parchment paper and pie weights, rice or dried beans – then you can weigh the pie crust down while baking it, just like you would a pie. Before putting the shortbread in the oven, simply place a little bit of parchment paper on top of each tart base. Then fill them up with the weights and bake away. After the first bake, remove the parchment paper and weights and continue on with the directions.

What if I don’t have pie weights, rice or dried beans? Can I still blind bake the shortbread crust? 

No pie weights, no problem. I’ve got two options…

  1. Bake the shortbread as directed and then as soon as they come out of the oven after the first bake, use a spoon to gently push the warm shortbread down flat. Then, continue on with the baking directions. 
  2. You can use other pans! Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the shortbread dough and then place 2 pans that are smaller than the 8”x8” pan to weigh things down. 

How do I make the brownie tops crinkly?  

To get the “crinkle” in crinkle top brownies, whisk the egg and other liquid ingredients together before adding the dry ingredients. Whisk for a few minutes until things are nice and bubbly! Those bubbles help create the crinkle. 

The Shortbread Red Wine Brownie Bars Recipe

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Shortbread Red Wine Brownie Bars

  • Author: Cece
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 40 min
  • Total Time: 1 hr
  • Yield: 1 tray of Brownie Bars 1x

Ingredients

Scale

Shortbread Base:

  • 115g unsalted butter, melted (approx. 1 stick)
  • 65g powdered sugar (⅔ cup)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 180g all purpose flour (1 ½ cups)

Brownies:

  • Ghirardelli’s Dark Chocolate Premium Brownie Mix
  • 2550g of chocolate chips (¼½ cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 54g red wine (¼ cup)
  • 72g vegetable oil (⅓ cup)
  • sea salt to top

Tools Needed:

  • 8”x8” Aluminum Pan
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Whisk
  • Parchment Paper
  • Pie Weights or Dried Beans

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and pre-measure the ingredients for both the shortbread & the brownies.

Prepare and blind bake the shortbread:

  • Combine the melted butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl using a rubber spatula.
  • Then add in the flour and salt and combine. The dough will be a little buttery and greasy but don’t worry, that’s how it should be!
  • Grease an aluminum 8”x8” baking pan.
  • Dump the shortbread dough into the baking pan and using either your hands or a rubber spatula, begin to press and spread the shortbread until it reaches the edges of your pan.
  • To blind bake the shortbread: Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the shortbread crust and fill it with pie weights, rice or dried beans.
  • Blind bake the shortbread for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together the brownie mix:

  • In a large bowl, add the red wine, egg and vegetable oil. Whisk together until nice and bubbly!
  • Then add the brownie mix and chocolate chips and whisk until completely combined.
  • After 15 minutes, remove the shortbread from the oven:
  • Turn the heat on the oven down to 325ºF
  • Carefully take the parchment paper and beans from the top of the pie crust (they will be hot)!
  • Prick the shortbread crust with a fork all over. This will help the moisture escape and the heat distribute evenly throughout this next step of the baking.
  • Add the brownie batter on top of the shortbread and bake for 35 – 38 minutes.

To tell when the brownies are done…

  • Use a toothpick and dip into the center of the brownie and see if it comes out clean.
  • And/or you can also “listen” to the brownie. If it is still fizzing a bit, it likely needs a few more minutes.
  • Remove the brownies from the oven and top with sea salt.
  • Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting in and devouring!

 

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