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Guess what?! It’s almost Valentine’s Day! A day where eating chocolate is not only encouraged, but expected. I know that some of you are thinking how it’s just a cheesy holiday that provides people with an excuse to expect or give gifts. And guess what? You’re not completely wrong there. However, I will completely support any holiday that wants people to go out and celebrate how much they love one another. ESPECIALLY if that includes a fabulous meal with an even more fabulous dessert.

If you’re currently living that single life like me, then maybe you just go ahead and get the gals together to have a bake-a-thon as opposed to fighting the restaurant traffic that ensues on Valentine’s Day. Heck, even if you’re in a relationship and just want to stay at home and celebrate instead, I will absolutely support that too! If avoiding traffic isn’t reason enough, then this delicious recipe should do the trick. Talk about a rich, fudgy dessert for any occasion. Okay…maybe not any occasion if you’re trying to maintain some form of self control. What is self control on Valentine’s Day though? No such thing. Now, just like falling in love, let’s dive right into this recipe! Alright I will absolutely admit how cheesy that sounded, but I already committed to it and there’s no take backs in my kitchen…

Before you even think about touching those ingredients, definitely preheat your oven and prep your 9×13 dish, because preparing the batter will be done faster than you think. I used parchment paper to line my dish, but if you’re just in the mood to grease it up then I will not be the lady standing in your way of that.

Okay, now go ahead and grab the ingredients listed below and get crackin’! Place the butter into a microwave safe bowl with the first 2 ounces of chopped semi-sweet chocolate. Heat it in 30 second increments, stirring between each one. Be careful not to heat it for too long, because scorched chocolate is not ideal in ANY situation. That’s just every baker’s nightmare. Literally. I’ll probably have a nightmare about it tonight just for mentioning it. Anyhoo…add the granulated sugar and packed brown sugar then whisk it until completely combined. Then whisk in your eggs and vanilla until combined.

Next we’re gonna mix in the cocoa powder, flour, and salt with your wet ingredients using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Guess what? You don’t need to mix after adding each one individually. Just toss them all in at the same time and then mix in order to avoid extra work. Extra work = no thank you. Lastly, we’re going to grab those delicious dark chocolate morsels and the remaining 2 ounces of chopped semi-sweet chocolate and gently fold them in until combined. Bam! Done with that prep work! Pour the prepared batter into the 9×13 pan you set up earlier and evenly spread the batter throughout the pan.

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Next is a personal favorite step of mine; set that baby in the oven and leave it be for 30 minutes. If your oven is like mine and the temperature is questionable, leave a thermometer in the oven while it preheats to double check it. Every oven is different so my brownies were done at 32 minutes, but definitely stick a toothpick in around the 30 minute mark. If the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs then it’s done! Set the dish on a rack to allow it to cool more thoroughly.

After the brownies have cooled for around 15 minutes, go ahead and start on your white chocolate ganache. Grab another microwave safe bowl and place the chopped up white chocolate and the heavy cream in it. Heat it for 1 minute in the microwave. Then take it out and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Place it back in the microwave for 40 seconds and then take it out and mix it for 2 minutes. Remember what I said about not wanting to scorch chocolate earlier? That same rule applies here. Just keep mixing it until it becomes nice and smooth. Add in the 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract and then stir just until combined. See how smooth it is? Exactly what you want! Now go ahead and relax for a good 30 minutes and let the ganache sit as we wait for the brownies to cool.

20180211163121_IMG_0609Once the brownies have cooled, remove them from the baking dish. Grab your heart shaped cookie cutters. Mine were around 3 inches in size, so feel free to use smaller ones if you are making these for a party and want a larger number of them. Actually, that sounds super adorable, and I completely encourage that! You can become creative with where you place your cookie cutters if you are trying to get as many hearts out of it as you can. I went ahead and fit mine in by alternating between the heart being upright and upside down. Also, DO NOT throw away the yummy extra brownie pieces! Use the extra crumbled up brownie bites to throw on some ice cream or as a fun snack later.20180211171807_IMG_0625As you can see from the picture above, you might have an ugly duckling or two in the pack, but we’re really not trying to win a beauty contest here. Especially if you’re using some of the edge pieces to make your hearts. Plus, you can just cover it up with that yummy white chocolate ganache and call it a day!20180211171737_IMG_0623Once you’ve gotten as many hearts as you can out of it, grab your settled ganache and give it a quick stir. The next part is as simple as you want it to be. Grab a knife or icing spatula and spread as much ganache on each one as you want. As you can tell from all of the pictures, I kept my decoration simple for the sake of everyone’s time and sanity. If you’re making these to impress people, then definitely take your time with spreading it or don’t let your ganache settle as long in order to pour it more so than spread it.20180211163630_IMG_0616Take a look at these cute sprinkles! They’re just your every day sprinkles, but who doesn’t love an assortment pack of sprinkles? Variety is the spice of life, after all. Right after you spread your ganache on each heart, dash some sprinkles on top and that’s it!20180211180854_IMG_0663Even if you don’t enjoy Valentine’s Day, I truly hope you enjoy this recipe! Everyone deserves a little something sweet on Valentine’s Day, regardless of who you’re with or how you feel about the day!


Valentine’s Day Brownies with White Chocolate Ganache

yields: 10 hearts (3 inches)        prep: 30 minutes        cook time: 30 minutes        inactive time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

Fudgy Brownies

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • one 4 ounce semi-sweet chocolate bar, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate morsels or chunks

White Chocolate Ganache

  • two 4 ounce white chocolate bars, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

 Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°(F). Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper, or generously grease with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place the unsalted butter and 2 ounces of the chopped semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for thirty second increments until melted, stirring between each increment.
  3. Whisk the granulated sugar and light brown sugar with the melted butter and chocolate mixture. Then add in the room temperature eggs and vanilla, whisking until completely combined.
  4. Add in the cocoa powder, flour, and salt to the wet mixture and stir using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Gently fold in the dark chocolate morsels and remaining 2 ounces of chopped semi-sweet chocolate.
  5. Spread the brownie batter into your prepared 9×13 pan. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Mine took 32 minutes, but ovens vary. Brownies are done when a few moist crumbs appear on the toothpick. Set pan on a cooling rack for 1 hour.
  6. After brownies have been cooling for at least 15 minutes, begin the white chocolate ganache. Place all 8 ounces of chopped white chocolate into a microwave safe bowl. Heat for one minute, then stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. Heat for 40 seconds, then stir for a full 2 minutes. Add in the vanilla extract and stir until combined. Set aside and let settle for 45 minutes.
  7.  After the brownies have cooled (approximately 1 hour after being removed from the oven), lift the brownies from the pan using the edges of the parchment paper. If you greased your pan, then leave your brownies in the pan to cut out the heart shapes.
  8. Grab your heart shaped cookie cutters and begin cutting out your heart shapes. Get creative with how they are placed, if you are trying to get as many hearts as you can. My cutters were 3 inches, so I has able to get around 10 hearts out of my pan.
  9. Give your ganache a quick stir then use a knife or icing spatula to spread your ganache on each heart. How much you want on each heart is up to you! Mine was at least 1 tablespoon each. Drizzle some adorable sprinkles on top and enjoy!
  10. Keep at room temperature in a tightly sealed container. They are best consumed within 5 days of making.

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