Fudgy Heart Brownies (and Brownie Truffles)

Happy Valentines Day!

Mike and I don’t go all out for the holiday, but we do like to try and surprise each other with something small. I made the Outrageous Brownies from Barefoot Contessa for him the first Valentine’s Day we were married, but last year we were traveling and kitchenless, so I couldn’t keep that tradition going. This year, I decided to make the recipe again, but with a few festive changes.

When the brownies were still a little warm, I pressed a large heart-shaped cookie cutter into them. Then I let them cool for about 10 more minutes, cut out around the hearts, and saved those scraps to make brownie truffles. I decorated the hearts simply with powdered sugar, and dipped the brownie truffles in white chocolate. With just one recipe, you can make two great treats for your Valentine!

By the way, since these are based off an Ina Garten recipe, they’re VERY rich and gooey. If you’re more of a cakey brownie person, you probably won’t like these!

(adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten)

2 sticks (8 ounces) butter
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 large eggs
2 tbsp instant espresso
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
powdered sugar, for decoration
1 cup white chocolate chips (for truffles)
sprinkles (for truffles)

Grease a 13 x 9″ pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in the top of a double boiler over simmering water, and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool.

Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder onto a sheet of wax paper.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and instant espresso. Pour in the cooled chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Stir the flour mixture into the batter and stir gently until all the flour disappears. Pour into the greased pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Place the pan on a wire rack to cool. After about 5 minutes, press a 4″ or 5″ heart-shaped cookie cutter into the brownies. Cool for about 10 or 15 more minutes, then carefully carve out the pieces around the heart and place in a medium bowl. Leave the heart pieces in the pan and transfer to the refrigerator to cool completely.

Use the scraps to make the truffles. Mix the scraps with your hands, and form into 1″ balls. Place them on a plate and put them in the freezer for about 10 minutes, so they firm up. Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Carefully dip the truffles in the white chocolate, turning to coat completely. Place them on a piece of parchment and decorate with sprinkles. Transfer to the refrigerator to set the white chocolate.

When the brownie hearts are cool, decorate with powdered sugar. Cut heart shapes out of a piece of paper, and put the paper on top of a brownie. Sift powdered sugar over the paper so that it leaves heart shapes on the brownie. Carefully remove the paper.

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