Valentine's Day is one of those holidays that has a different meaning to everyone. If you're madly in love, it's magical. Just ended a relationship, it's crushing. Have a new baby, it's magical again (in a different way) and if you've been married 20 years, it's all about the chocolate. Forget the flowers. Valentine's Day is a great excuse to indulge, appreciate and savor how amazing chocolate is. So, in honor of Valentine's Day, here's a one-two punch chocolate dessert that will make everyone happy in your life, especially you.
Brownie hearts starts with a pan of brownies. You cleverly cut out hearts with a cookie cutter (found in most supermarkets and craft store this time of year). Keep the leftover bits and pieces of brownies when you've cut out all the hearts. Next the caramel fudge sauce. Don't be intimidated. It takes about five minutes to make in the microwave. Spoon over ice cream and top with brownie pieces. Serve with brownies. Hugs and kisses to all.
Prep time: 15 minutes plus cooling
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Makes about 20 brownies
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 lb (8 ounces) semi sweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 inch heart shaped cookie cutter
In a double boiler, melt butter and chocolate until smooth. Set aside to cool, about 30 minutes.
Line a 13 x 9 inch baking sheet with no-stick aluminum foil.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat both sugars, eggs and vanilla until light and fully mixed. While mixer is running, add chocolate butter mixture and mix until fully combined. Add flour and salt and continue mixing until fully combined, but don't over-mix.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs. Cool in the pan.
When brownies are cool, remove from pan by pulling up with tin foil. Cut out hearts with a cookie cutter. Scrape up edges and crumbs and place them in a bowl.
Caramel Fudge Sauce
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Makes 2 cups
30 caramels, unwrapped
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
5 oz can evaporated milk
1 stick unsalted butter, cut up
Vanilla ice cream
Place caramels, chocolate chips, evaporated milk and butter in a microwave safe dish . Cover with plastic wrap and punch a few holes on top. Microwave for 3 minutes, stir and microwave another 2 minutes. Stir again. If caramels are not fully melted, they will melt as the sauce will be hot.
When sauce cools, serve over vanilla ice cream and top with extra brownie pieces.
Patch food columnist, Amy Currie, a mother of three and teacher at the Kings Cooking Studio in Short Hills, is the author of Memoirs of a Home Cook, Every Great Recipe Has a Story and her latest cookbook, Secrets of a Home Cook. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Note: This story originally appeared on Patch in February of 2011.