Sunday, 14 February 2016

Recipe: Valentine's Brownies


Valentine's Day doesn't have to be about expensive gifts and the fanciest chocolate or champagne you can get your hands on. Showing someone you care can be just as effective through a sweet and simple gesture, even more so if you go the extra mile and create something home-made. A gift you've made yourself gives it originality and a personal touch and the lucky recipient will undoubtedly appreciate the effort that you've gone to.

This year I decided to make my boyfriend some Valentine's brownies, for three reasons:

  • He totally loves my brownies and keeps asking me to make them
  • He's horribly hard to buy for
  • I'm on a student budget, and what could I buy that's better than brownies, anyway?

The idea came to me when I was in Tiger a few weeks ago and came across a heart shaped cake tin. Not only could I make brownies for Valentine's Day, I could make a giant heart shaped one! I felt so on the ball. I got all my ingredients together in advance and bought some extra bits to decorate the brownies so that they'd be extra Valentine's-y, then I was ready to go. If you fancy baking some yourself, these brownies are incredibly easy to make. This is what I used to just make enough for the one tin:

130g unsalted butter/margarine
100g plain flour
245g caster sugar
150g plain chocolate
2 large eggs
Decorations (I used mini marshmallows, marbled hearts, grated aero chocolate and a little Nutella for sticking.)

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F and line your tin with greaseproof paper.

2. Break the chocolate into pieces and put it in a heatproof bowl with the butter. Now, you need to melt the two together until smooth. The best way to do this is to put your heatproof bowl over a saucepan with a few inches of simmering water in it and let it melt gently, but if you don't have a suitable bowl you can melt the two together in the microwave. (If you're doing this, just be careful if you're using a low quality chocolate as there's a chance that it may seize when melting via this method.)

3. Add your flour, sugar and eggs and stir well until you have a smooth, thick mixture. I used an electric whisk to quickly run through the mixture but a wooden spoon works just as well for the less lazy.


Steps 2 and 3 

4. Spoon the mixture into your lined tin and place in the oven for around 30-40 minutes. You want them to be flaky on top but quite gooey in the centre - test the consistency with a fork to determine whether they're done.


Before and after cooking

5. Leave them to cool. Be patient! If you're anything like me you'll be keen to get onto decorating but if you leave them for a few hours they won't crumble as you remove them from the tin. This was especially important for the Valentine's brownies because they had to stay in their heart shape!

6. Decorate as preferred, or enjoy them as they are!


Ta-da!

I don't usually add anything to my brownies but wanted them to look special for the occasion. First I spread a very thin layer of Nutella over the surface of the brownie (not all over, just enough for the toppings to stay in place). Then I grated some aero milk chocolate and sprinkled it all over, before positioning the marshmallows in a heart shape using a little more Nutella. Lastly I added the marbled hearts in the centre as a finishing touch. I think the end result looks pretty good, and I'm sure they're going to taste amazing too!

Of course, brownies are suitable for any occasion so this recipe isn't just for Valentine's. Let me know if you make them yourself, and happy Valentine's Day!







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