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High Country Baking: Fudgy brownie hearts

Vera Dawson
High Country Baking
These soft, moist and very chocolatey heart-shaped brownies are the perfect Valentine’s Day treat.
Vera Dawson/Courtesy photo

Want a palate-pleasing way to say, “Happy Valentine’s Day”? These soft, moist and very chocolatey heart-shaped brownies may be your answer. Whip up this easy recipe for cocoa brownies, use cookie cutters of various sizes to create the hearts and top them with a drizzle of white chocolate. They’re fun to make and wonderfully decadent to eat.

The recipe results in a thick brownie, so be sure your cookie cutters have sides that are higher than the slab of brownies and edges that are sharp metal so that they cut through to the bottom of the slab each time they’re used.

Drizzling each heart with white chocolate is a pretty and tasty decoration, but dark chocolate and caramel drizzles are good alternatives and a rosette of whipped cream is a gorgeous one. If you’re making these with children, an easy white frosting that can be decorated with sprinkles always gets smiles.



Fudgy brownie hearts

Make in an 8-by-8-inch shiny metal baking pan with 2-inch sides. Cut shapes with metal cookie cutters. Recipe works at any elevation. Yields 10 2-inch and 10 half-inch hearts.

Brownies



  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee powder, optional
  • 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar, preferably Baker’s
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 1/3 cup bleached all-purpose flour, spoon and level

White chocolate drizzle, optional

  • 2 ounces real white chocolate, in chips or chopped fine
  • 1/2 teaspoon mild vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 325, with a rack in the middle position. Line the pan with nonstick or regular aluminum foil, extending the foil several inches past two opposing sides to use as handles when removing the brownies. Grease the regular foil and any exposed parts of the pan with a baking spray that contains flour.

Cut the butter into 12 pieces and melt them in a large saucepan over medium-low heat or in a microwave-safe bowl in the microwave. Remove the melted butter from the heat, and whisk in the cocoa and coffee (if using) until smooth. Stir in the sugar and the salt. The mixture will be very thick. If the batter is so hot that it will cook the eggs, set it aside until it cools. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla with the last egg. Add the flour and gently fold with the silicone spatula only until it is no longer visible.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smooth and level it. Bake until the top is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with bits of moist brownie sticking to it. This usually takes about 30-35 minutes. Don’t overbake or you’ll lose the fudgy texture.

Remove the pan to a cooling rack and cool completely. It’s easiest to cut the slab of brownies into hearts when it’s chilled, so cover and refrigerate in the pan until it’s cool to the touch but not hard. Use the foil handles to remove the slab of brownies from the pan, and invert it so the smooth bottom side is now the top. Grease your cutters with butter or baking spray, place one on the brownie slab and push straight down until it reaches the bottom, then gently lift it. (If the slab is too cold to do this with ease, let it warm up a bit.) Remove any scraps from the cutter’s edges. Gently press down on the brownie until it slides out of the cutter and, if needed, smooth and reshape the sides. Clean and grease the cutter before using it again.

Make the white chocolate drizzle, if using: Combine the white chocolate and vegetable oil in a small microwavable bowl, and warm in a microwave oven at a low temperature (white chocolate burns easily) until the chips/pieces are starting to melt but still hold their shape. Remove from the oven and stir until fully melted, smooth and shiny. If necessary, return the mixture to the microwave for 15-20 seconds at a time. Drizzle over the brownie hearts.

Refrigerate the cut-out hearts, covered, for up to two days. Serve at room temperature or cold.

Editor’s note: This recipe is a variation of one published in Fine Cooking Magazine.

Vera Dawson

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