The recipe for these brownies actually comes from a rather unassuming but in fact excellent children’s cookbook (by Dorling Kindersley no less), and I have made them so many times that the pages are nearly stuck together from accumulating various elements of the recipe over the years (there’s probably a whole deconstructed and uncooked brownie in there…!) Despite being a kid’s recipe, these brownies are really delicious, and although I have tried more complicated recipes that call for about 4 different bars of 80% cocoa solids chocolate, I always come back to this one.
I bake these brownies all year round, but I thought it would be fun to jazz them up a little for Valentine’s by adding homemade chocolate decorations. They’re really easy to create and make the brownies pretty enough to give to someone as a Valentine’s gift if you wish (or equally just to keep to yourself!).
Ingredients for 12-16 brownies:
- 90g plain chocolate, I use own-brand which works perfectly fine (£0.85, Tesco)
- 150g unsalted butter (£0.85, Tesco)
- 125g plain flour (£0.40, Tesco)
- 15g cocoa powder (£1.99, Tesco)
- 300g soft light brown sugar (£1.39, Tesco)
- 2 eggs (£0.89, Tesco)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (£1.09, Tesco)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder (£1, Tesco)
- 100g added extra of your choice – the recipe calls for pecan nuts but this time I chose white chocolate (£0.80, Tesco
- Preheat oven to 190C (the recipe says 180C but I find that’s not hot enough) and grease and line a baking tin or pyrex dish.
- Break the chocolate into a bowl and add the butter. Melt the butter and chocolate over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally. When it’s melted remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Sieve the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a separate bowl. (To be honest I don’t always sieve it and it still turns out fine!)
- In a third bowl, beat the eggs and then add the sugar and vanilla extract. Stir the ingredients until they are just combined.
- Fold the melted chocolate into the beaten egg egg mixture, then fold in the flour mixture and the white chocolate.
- Spoon the mixture into your tin and bake for about 30 minutes. To see if it’s done give the tin a little shake and if it’s very wobbly then it’ll need another 5 minutes or so.
For the chocolate decorations:
- bar of white chocolate (£0.80, Tesco)
Make sure that the brownies are completely cooled before you start decorating them, as if they’re still warm the chocolate will just run off.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of water (as in step 2 but without the butter). Then place a sheet of baking paper on the work surface so you can practice and get the hang of it first. I’d never done chocolate decorating before and it’s not hard, but I think it’s worth trying it out first.
I found that using a teaspoon worked best, roughly half full, to make the heart shapes. If your practice ones go well, you can refrigerate them and use them for decorating fairy cakes for example, or even give them as a gift in a little box.
There’s so much scope with the chocolate decorations – you can of course do any shape, and play around with it.
Happy Valentine’s! ❤