Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine Brownies - put a heart on it

Valentine Brownies - made February 9, 2013 from Saltbox House
Valentine's Day kinda crept up on me.  It's not like I didn't know it was on February 14.  More like, wow, it's already February.  And then, it's not even early February anymore.  In my defense, a lot of occasions/holidays seemed to come stacking up on top of each other all at once and I just couldn't keep up.  Chinese New Year (didn't get to do anything with this although now I'm dying for a cocktail bun), Mardi Gras (King Cake - check), Valentine's Day and of course, the annual arrival of Girl Scout cookies which is always good for a cookie theme or two.  But you (or I) can always "cheat" with a shortcut.  I didn't do anything fancy or Valentine-y like a cutesy play with red velvet or anything pink or red.  But you have to go with chocolate for Valentine's Day and that's what I did with this frosted brownie recipe from Saltbox Lunch.  My cheat was embedding a chocolate heart on top of each piece, burrowing it into the thin layer of frosting so it would adhere.  Tada - Valentine brownies.  Work with me here.  I sent these to my nieces for a Valentine's care package.  The brownies are a nice, basic fudgy brownie and the frosting, while a tad sweet, is a good complement to it.  I had hoped to find caramel-filled chocolate hearts so you're not just eating a big chunk of chocolate on top of the brownie but I couldn't find any when I did an emergency run to the store to Valentine-ize these (yes, I know that's not a word).  But I like how they turned out and satisfy my criteria for a Valentine's treat.  So if you're pressed for time and need a fast treat to mark the occasion, just go with the chocolate hearts - your friends and family will still love you.

1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup cocoa, sifted
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Melt butter and stir in cocoa, whisking until smooth.
  3. Add sugar then eggs and vanilla extract.  Add flour and mix until smooth.  Do not overmix.
  4. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs.  Let cool 10 minutes then frost.
Chocolate Frosting
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
Dash of Salt
  1. Whisk cocoa and powdered sugar together.  
  2. Beat in softened butter then milk.  Beat until smooth.  
  3. Frost brownies 10 minutes after you remove them from the oven.  When cool, cut into squares and place a heart-shaped chocolate at the center of each square.

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