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The Ultimate Valentine Brownies
There Is Nothing Like Chocolate For Valentine's Day!
And, there is nothing like brownies to give you that warm fuzzy glow and make every fiber of your being smile. Creating brownie hearts just makes them extra special for Valentine's Day. We all know brownies are great, you just have to decide if you like cake-like brownies, fudgey brownies, fruit brownies, boozy brownies, blonde brownies or whatever. You can check out my other hub on Ultra Decadent Brownies to see other delicious flavors.
This lens is going to give you a couple of fool-proof brownie recipes but will concentrate on decorating the hearts and show you some simple decorating ideas and some that are a little more challenging.
Are You A Fudgey, Chewy or Cakey Type Brownie Person?
If you have a favorite brownie flavor you can make it into a chewy, fudgey or cake-like brownie simply and easily. Brownies that have a smaller butter to flour ratio will be more cake-like in texture. Using the creaming method of beating the butter and sugar together instead of melting the butter or using oil will also produce a cake-like brownie. If the recipe calls for a touch of baking powder or milk, yogurt or sour cream, the texture of the brownies will be softer, lighter and more tender.
Two ingredients, eggs and chocolate make a chewier brownie. The type of chocolate used also helps determine the final texture. Unsweetened chocolate has the highest starch content of all the different types of chocolate, making the brownie a bit stiffer. To give a creamier finished product, semisweet chocolate is used. By using unsweetened, semi-sweet and cocoa powder you get a creamier, chewier brownie.
Fudgey brownies are spoken about as being the best by the majority of brownie lovers. They have less flour, up to 1/2 cup less and there is no leavening agent used. Melting the butter or using an oil product also turns out a more intense fudgier product. So you see, by simply adjusting the ingredients, you can predetermine whether your brownies will be chewy, fudgey or cake-like.
How To Make Heart Brownies
There are two simple ways to make heart brownies, one is to bake your brownies in heart shaped cups in a special pan and the other is to bake your brownies in a square or rectangular pan and cut them with a cookie cutter. The brownie scraps from the cookie cutter you can make into brownie pops on a stick or you can use then as a garnish for ice cream, as the crust under a special dessert or other creative ways.
Different Ways To Make Heart Shaped Brownies - They're fun to decorate too!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Fudgey Brownie Hearts Recipe
7 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
1 cup butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
Line the bottom of a 13- x 9-inch (3.5 L) metal cake pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on the ends for handle; set aside.
In heatproof bowl over saucepan of hot (not boiling) water, melt chocolate with butter, stirring occasionally. Let cool for 5 minutes.
In large bowl, beat eggs with sugar until pale and thickened; stir in vanilla. Pour chocolate mixture over top. Sift flour with salt over chocolate; fold in until blended. Scrape into prepared pan.
Bake in center of 350°F (180°C) oven until cake tester inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging, about 30 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes.
Run knife down sides of brownie pan to loosen brownies. Using parchment paper, lift brownies from pan onto cutting board. Using 1-3/4-inch (4.5 cm) heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out brownies, rinsing and drying cutter between cuts.
Place on parchment or waxed paper-lined tray; cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let cool completely. (Make-ahead: Store brownies in airtight container for up to 5 days.)
For clean edges, rinse cutter in hot water and dry between cutting brownies.
Refrigerate brownie scraps in airtight container for up to 2 weeks (or freeze for longer storage) and use to top ice cream, to make brownie pops or to use as the crust for a decadent dessert..
Cakey Brownie Hearts
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Line the bottom to an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper leaving enough to fold over the rim of the pan for a lifting handle. Set aside.
In large bowl, beat butter with sugar until combined; beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Beat in vanilla. Beat in unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Spread in parchment paper–lined 8-inch (2 L) square metal cake pan.
Bake in 350°F (180°C) oven until tester inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging, about 20 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack. When cool, lift out of pan with parchment paper handles and peel off end of parchment paper. Cut into heart shapes and decorate as you like.
Chewy Chocolate Brownies
Chewy Chocolate Brownie Recipe
4 oz Unsweetened baking chocolate
3/4 c Butter or margarine
2 ts Vanilla
2 c Sugar
1 1/2 c All-purpose flour, sifted
1 c Pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 12"x 8" pan with parchment paper with enough to hang over ends to form handles Butter parchment paper and set aside.
. Melt chocolate with butter over low heat, stirring constantly; or melt in microwave bowl on HIGH for 1-1 1/2 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Set aside. In large bowl, cream sugar and eggs about 5-6 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Fold chocolate, flour and nuts into sugar mixture, just until well blended.
Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes. Cool. Lift brownies from pan with parchment paper handles. Cut with heart cutters. Frost with your favorite frosting and decorate as you like. Refrigerate about 1 hour; Store in refrigerator.
Tips On Making Brownie Hearts
If you are putting nuts, candy bar bits, chocolate chips or other additions, you are better to bake your heart brownies in mini heart shaped tins. The additions to the brownies can interfere with the cutting of the hearts and make them look mashed and distorted.
If you are cutting your brownies into shapes with a cookie cutter, use a deep cutter so that the edges of your brownies are not squashed or misshapen.
Wash your cookie cutter with hot water and dry it between cuts. The heat on the cutter makes a cleaner cut as does the clean crumb-free cutter.
If you are going to ice your brownies, you can put a thin layer of thinned icing called a crumb coat over the brownies to set the crumbs so when you ice them you will not get crumbs in your icing.
Icing Design Press Kits
The Imprint sets you can press into the icing on top of the brownie heart, then trace it with icing to create a design on top of your brownies.
The leaf and butterfly can be stamped out of modeling chocolate (Check out my lens on modeling chocolate cake and cookie decorations - its really easy to make and use.) and put on top of brownies as decorations.
Ways To Decorate Your Valentine BrowniesClick thumbnail to view full-size
For the best tasting chocolate brownies, make sure you use the best chocolate you can afford, whether it is powdered cocoa, unsweetened, semi-sweet or milk. Also be sure to read how to adjust your brownies to either fudgey, chewy or cake like.