Recipe: Brie Toast with Chardonnay-Soaked Golden Raisins

Brie Toast with Chardonnay-Soaked Golden Raisins

Who wants some??? This looks so delicious and I can’t wait to try this recipe from Arisanal Cheese


  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 cup Chardonnay
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half vertically
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 12 ounces Fromager d’Affinois cheese sliced into 24 pieces (or use any double-crème brie)
  • 24 slices baguette cut ¼ inch thick
  • 4 tablespoons ( ½ stick) unsalted butter, melted


  • In a medium-size saucepan, combine the water, wine, and sugar.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Turn off the heat. Scrape the insides of the vanilla bean into the liquid and add the remaining bean.
  • Add the raisins. Let steep uncovered for at least 1 hour at room temperature.
  • Refrigerate overnight.
  • Drain the raisins, reserving the liquid. Discard the vanilla bean. Put the liquid back in the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to about 1/3 cup, or until the syrup turns a deep golden color, 10 to 15 minutes. Watch carefully so the syrup doesn’t burn. If it starts to foam, remove from heat immediately. The syrup will continue to thicken as it cools, and have a texture similar to light maple syrup. Cool completely.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
  • Brush butter onto both sides of the bread slices. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely.
  • To assemble: Put a slice of cheese on each toast. Sprinkle with a few raisins and drizzle syrup over the top.

Makes 24

Note: If you have any raisins and syrup left over, combine them and refrigerate in an airtight container. They will keep for 2 weeks.

Wine Making Class: Week 3 – Vegas and Fortified Wines


If you haven’t read my prior weeks Wine Making Class, click the links below to view:

Wine Making Class: Week 1

Wine Making Class: Week 2


Unfortunately, I missed Week 3 Wine Making Class because of a conference I had to attend in Vegas (Bitter/Sweet). However, I did have my fair share of wine and amazing food while there.

    • Night 1…Dinner at Carnevino! I had an absolutely delicious Maine Lobster Tail over Lobster Anolini Pasta with a glass of Bastianich Rosato di Refosco (2010) and my colleagues shared a Dry Aged Bone-In Ribeye with Mashed Potatoes and their wine of choice. The food was great, but for the expensive price $$$ they should give you more…I was still hungry after leaving!


  • Night 2…Welcome Receptions catered by The Venetian/Palazzo which was a variety of  fairly good food and an open bar of cheap wines and beer.
  • Night 3…Three Cocktail Hours, Dinner and a After Party:
  1. Cocktail Hour at Wolfgang Puck’s Cut – Amazing appetizers and unlimited wine & cocktails…I had 1 glass of Wolfgang Puck Chardonnay (Pacing myself for the night)
  2. Cocktail Hour at Wolfgang Puck’s Postrio  – More amazing appetizers, but the Prime Beef Slider is sooo worth mentioning…I had 1 glass of Wolfgang Puck Cabernet Sauvignon
  3. Cocktail Hour at Lavo Lounge – More amazing appetizers…Water Please : )
  4. Dinner at Emeril’s Delmonico’s Steakhouse – By dinner, I wasn’t really hungry but I had to attend since it was hosted by a Business Partner. I ordered Emeril’s BBQ Salmon, and it was superb! Too bad, I only could stomach 1/2 of it. I also had a glass of Merlot (Unsure of the Brand); however I’m not too sure how much I had, since the waiter continued to top off our glasses.
  5. After Party at Tao Nightclub – By know, I had my fair share of wine but still had to attend the after party and of course there are more drinks. So, I went with a Mojito to close the night out.

Needless to say I was completely exhausted the next day, but still had to put on face at the conference until my flight home later that evening.


Fortified Wines

I did however, have one of my fellow classmates recap Wine Making Class for Week 3 for me on Fortified Wines. To add a little background, I am a Fortified Wine Lover. So, when I heard this was the class I would be missing I almost canceled my trip (Not Really, but I thought about it…LOL).

So, what is a Fortified Wine….It is a wine that has very high alcohol content due to the addition of a distilled spirit, normally Brandy. The original purpose for fortifying wine was preserving it for longer periods than traditional wine. Most (but not all) Fortified Wines are really sweet. This is due to the distilled spirit being added during the fermentation process and forcing the wine to stop fermenting because of the high level of alcohol being added. In other words, the yeast that is used to ferment the wine, will crap out once the alcohol content reaches 18-22% and will leave unfermented sugar in the wine making it sweet. The following are some of the known Fortified Wines:

  • Port (My Favorite…Checkout my Wine Review on a White Porto)
  • Sherry (My 2nd Favorite…Great for cooking!)
  • Marsala
  • Maderia
  • Vermouth

This class was instructed by one of DeFalco’s Wine Club Member’s who is great at making Fortified Wines. He covered his techniques which involved using Everclear vs. Brandy. The main purpose of the use of the Everclear was to avoid changing the taste of the wine, because when you add a distilled spirit, typically the flavor profile changes.

The class tasted a lot of fortified wines that night….I believe 10 total. Mind you, fortified wines range from 18-22%, so a glass or two if you have a good tolerance level, is enough to get most people tipsy.

All in all, I missed a great class for my favorite type of wine; however I’m glad I got the Cliffsnotes!

Check out Week 4!!!!

Cooking with Wine: Cabernet Sauvignon + Blackberry Dijon Mustard

Grey Poupon Rouge

I received a jar of the Grey Poupon Rouge this past Friday and was really excited to cook with it over the weekend. It’s not everyday you see such a unique combination of flavors blended together like this.

I was hopeful the Grey Poupon Rough would make an amazing dish and decided to grill up some wings and toss them in the sauce.

Below are the results:


You can’t tell in the picture, but the wings had a purple glaze, similar to the color in the jar picture above.

I couldn’t taste any of the Cabernet Sauvignon, however the sauce had a robust mustard flavor with a hint of sweetness.

Ultimately, I was not a fan of the Grey Poupon Rouge on my chicken wings, however it may be better suited with other dishes. The Kraft Foodservice website has a list of recipes that may pair better.

I’m not sure if Kraft has plans to release this flavor to retail consumers, but you may find it on some restaurant’s menus.

Until next time!

Recipe: Red or White Wine Ice Cream

Red Wine Ice Cream

Here is a detailed recipe for Red Wine Ice Cream from Jo and Sue  and an easy recipe for White Wine Ice Cream from Bobbi’s Kozy Kitchen. They seem to be interchangeable, so choose which one suite you best.


Red Wine Ice Cream


  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup 1/2 & 1/2 cream


  1. Pour whole bottle of wine into a large pot. Over medium low heat allow to simmer until reduced to 1 cup of liquid. (This can take up to an hour, depending on heat, – keep checking it!) Set aside.
  2. Whisk together brown sugar and whipping cream in a medium pot. Cut vanilla bean in half and scrape seeds. Add seeds and bean pod to cream.
  3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture begins to steam but not boil.
  4. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer, beat egg yolks until light colored.
  5. Remove bean pod from pan and very slowly pour in the cream mixture to the egg yolks. (If you go too fast you will curdle the eggs!)
  6. Return mixture to pot and place back over medium heat. Cook and stir until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat.
  7. Place a strainer over a large bowl. Pour in the 1 cup of 1/2 & 1/2 cream. Pour in the thickened egg/cream mixture through the strainer to get out any yucky bits.
  8. Lastly, stir in reduced wine.
  9. Chill in fridge for at least several hours.
  10. After it is thoroughly chilled, give the mixture a stir and pour into the canister of your ice cream maker (Process according to manufacturer’s instructions).

Note: It does freeze a little hard so simply take it out about 5-10 minutes before you serve it.

white wine ice cream

White Wine Ice Cream


  • 3/4 cup Riesling
  • 3 heaping tablespoons super fine sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream


  1. Add the wine and sugar into a large bowl and whisk together until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Gradually whisk in the heavy whipping cream until it begins to thicken.
  3. Pour mixture into a plastic container with a lid and freeze until firm, about 3-4 hours.
  4. Scoop into a bowl and top with seasonal fruits and a splash of Riesling.

Recipe: Apothic Dark Red Wine Cake



I came across this amazing recipe for Apothic Dark Red Wine Cake from Chasing Delicious.

Apothic Dark Red Wine Cake


  • 6 ounces flour
  • 2 ounces cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 14 ounces vanilla sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1⅓ cup sweet red wine (try Apothic Dark)
  • 1 cup cinnamon red wine sauce, recipe below


  1. Preheat an oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter and flour or grease a bundt pan. Set aside.
  3. Mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Beat the sugar and vanilla together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and then the vanilla, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Add half of the dry mixture and mix in well. Pour in the wine and mix in well. Add the rest of the dry mixture and mix until the batter is smooth.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out just clean.
  8. Let the cake cool upright in the pan for a few minutes. Turn the pan over on a rack, and let it cool completely before unmoulding.
  9. Before serving, drizzle on a little cinnamon red wine sauce.

Cinnamon Red Wine Sauce


  • 2 ounces unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces vanilla sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 1 cup sweet red wine (try Apothic Dark)
  • 1 cinnamon stick


  1. Place all of the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan.
  2. Heat the mixture over high heat and bring to a boil. Stirring occasionally, maintain a boil until the sauce is thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Vanilla Sugar: Both recipes in this article contain vanilla sugar. While not readily found in stores, vanilla sugar is easy to make. Save any spent vanilla beans after using. Place the vanilla bean(s) in an airtight container with sugar (I usually do 2 cups sugar per vanilla bean). Store in the container, tossing and stirring occasionally, at least 2 weeks before using.

Red Wine Chocolate Truffles

Red Wine Truffles

Here’s another one for Valentine’s Day! I’m sure the love of your life would eat every bite of these Red Wine Chocolate Truffles. The recipe is from Sprinkle Bakes, please check her site out for all sorts of yummy goodness.

When preparing to make these, you’ll want to put together the ganache first

Red Wine Chocolate Ganache


  • 9 oz. fine grade semi-sweet or dark chocolate
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 5 tbsp. dry red wine, such as Chianti
  • ¼ tsp. red gel food coloring (optional)


Chop chocolate and place in medium sized bowl. In a small sauce pan heat the heavy whipping cream until small soft bubbles form. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Mix until Melted. Add red wine (and food coloring if desired.)

Red Wine Chocolate Truffles


  • 2 to 3-1 lb. bags of dark chocolate meltable candy wafers
  • Small craft brush with sturdy bristles , Clean (preferably new)
  • Candy Mold, or Mini Silicon Pan


Melt dark chocolate candy wafers in batches as you need them (aprox. 1/2 bag at a time). Fill the molds about 1/4 of the way up with melted chocolate, and begin brushing the chocolate up the sides of the molds, coating the mold completely.  When finished, put the mold in the freezer for about two minutes. After taking it out, check for thin spots in the hardened chocolate by holding the candy mold up to a light source. Paint on more chocolate until the chocolate cups are no longer transparent. Return to freezer. Repeat these steps until chocolate is completely opaque. (aprox. 3 times.)

Fill chocolate painted molds with the red wine ganache.  DO NOT fill completely to the top. Transfer to the freezer for a couple of minutes.  Remove, and top ganache with additional melted chocolate candy to enclose.  Be sure it comes to the top of the mold and makes a flat surface.  You want your truffle to seal properly and have an even surface to rest on when unmolded.  Return to the freezer until set.  Gently unmold truffles by pressing from the bottom of the mold upwards.  Embellish as desired.


Red Wine Lollipops

SprinkleBakes Red Wine Lollipops 7SprinkleBakes Red Wine Lollipops with glass of wine

Since Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, how about making your love or yourself some Red Wine Lollipops. I found this recipe via Pinterest, which direct me to Sprinkle Bakes: Red Wine Lollipops website. The site has some amazing recipes for any of you foodie’s

Red Wine Lollipops Recipe:

Yield: About 12 lollipops

  • 1 1/2 cups sweet red wine -wine should be no more than 18% alcohol  by volume (I used Port)
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 12 Lollipop sticks
  • A hard candy lollipop mold or a silicone mat


  1. Bring red wine to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Simmer wine until reduced to 1/3 cup, this should take about 20-25 minutes.  Remove from stove-top and let cool completely.
  2. In a medium saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and wine reduction.  Stir until combined.  Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Stir occasionally with a heat-proof spatula until all sugar granules have dissolved.  Boil until candy temperature registers 298-310 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  3. Remove from heat and fill greased lollipop molds with the hot candy.  Place lollipop sticks in the stick crevices and rotate until the stick is coated in the hot candy.  Alternatively, you may also drop the hot candy from a spoon onto a silicone mat or parchment paper, making two to three-inch disks and leaving room to place -and rotate- the lollipop sticks.
  4. Allow the lollipops to harden completely. These are best if you wait a day to consume them, as this gives the red wine flavor plenty of time to develop.
  5. Embellish with luster dust if desired and store between sheets of parchment in an airtight container