February 10, 2012

Easy Valentine Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate brownies are fabulous desserts that can easily be packed in a lunch or served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.

There are hundreds of brownie recipes, but I have found that some of them can be quite time consuming and they require a lot of planning ahead.

I think the recipe for Double Chocolate Brownies is the very best, but it takes a little bit of effort and costs more to make, especially if you use a high quality chocolate.

When I am rushed for time and I do not have my favorite chocolate bars in the pantry, I make this easy brownie recipe instead.


I came up with this recipe for those days when a chocolate dessert sounds good but I don't want to go to the store for special ingredients or spend a lot of time melting chocolate.

This recipe is not too sweet and not too buttery.  It is the perfect consistency to serve with vanilla ice-cream or a tall glass of milk.

If you prefer a slightly more buttery brownie add an additional 3 Tablespoons butter to the batter.

For a really delicious dessert, serve with vanilla ice-cream, sliced almonds and your favorite topping.  (I used caramel topping above - yum!)

The basic recipe is quick and easy.

Super Simple Chocolate Brownies

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark - whatever you have in the pantry)
1/2 cup butter (pop in the microwave to melt)
2 Tablespoons water
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder (Nestle works great, but any unsweetened cocoa will do)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Optional Topping:
mini marshmallows if desired

Here is the easy part:

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

In a separate bowl mix all other ingredients.

Stir dry ingredients into the mix along with the chocolate chips.

Spread into a prepared 13x9x2 pan lined with parchment paper.

Bake 350 degrees for about 28 minutes.  (Test by sticking a toothpick into batter 1-inch away from the edge of the pan.  If it comes out clean it is done.  Do not overbake).  Cool.  Wrap individual brownies in plastic wrap.

FOR OPTIONAL TOPPING:

If you are using marshmallows there are two options:

1.  Place them on top right before it goes into the oven to bake.  This will leave a slightly carmelized coating on the brownie when they are baked, or

2.  Sprinkle marshmallows on top after 20 minutes of baking.  Return to oven to finish.

Wrap leftover brownies in plastic wrap and store in an air tight container.



Valentine's Day Treat

For a special Valentine's treat, use a heart shaped cookie cutter to make heart shaped brownies.  Press gently into cooled brownie.  Carefully remove heart.

Hearts are also great for school lunches or a special surprise at work.