In a stock pot or dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onions, brown sugar and 1 teaspoon salt and saute until caramelized, stirring frequently about 35 - 40 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 1 - 2 more minutes.
Add beef stock, red wine, Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar and deglaze the pan. (You know, scrape up the good crusty bits!)
Add thyme, bay leaf and pepper to taste and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
Preheat oven to 400º.
Remove about one cup of onions from the soup and strain.
Cut large circles out of wonton wrappers with the end of a soup can and place a wonton in each reservoir of the escargot dish. Fill wontons with onion mixture.
Spoon about 1 teaspoon of soup broth on and around the french onion soup dumplings (the broth will serve to soften/steam the wontons). Bake at 400º for 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and add a crouton on top of each dumpling; cover escargot dish with shredded cheese. Place under broiler for 1 ½ - 2 minutes until cheese is golden and bubbly. Top with sliced chives, if desired.