When it comes to Valentine’s Day, nothing is really set in stone for me. I’ve never been particularly fond of Valentine’s, mostly because I think the holiday excludes other kinds of love and affection that aren’t romantic and that are just as important if not more so than romantic love. I don’t like the artificial pressure put on relationships by this Hallmark holiday, because at the end of the day, a relationship is made up of so much more than this one day when we celebrate Cupid’s erratic arrows. I also feel annoyed that all stores switch to pink-and-red themed sweets almost immediately after Christmas and New Year’s. If you ask me, it’s a bit too much to deck out every store in pink and red and put hearts everywhere! For me, the only redeeming aspects of Valentine’s Day are flowers and chocolate, and of course, all the people I love.
On Valentine’s Day, I always want to celebrate the affection I have for friends and family, and not just my romantic partner, so I focus more on the Galentine’s aspect of the holiday. If the stars happen to align and I’m feeling particularly benign toward February 14 that year, I also tend to take the opportunity to make something sweet and chocolatey that can be easily shared with family, friends, and colleagues. These fudgy mini brownie hearts are the perfect Galentine’s/Valentine’s treat to share informally with all your loved ones, and not just your special sweetie! They have soft, dense, fudgy centers encased in a crisp shell of pure chocolate and decorated with fun pink-and-red sprinkles, which are the required colors of the season. If you’re looking for inspiration and nothing feels right, you might find that these brownie hearts are just the very thing. They are pretty easy to make to treat yourself on a day that is not Valentine’s if you’re needing a chocolate pick-me-up. (We all have very important chocolate needs!) My favorite part is that they’re miniature and beautiful and full of chocolate decadence, and the sprinkles do add a nice crunchy texture to complement the soft consistency of the brownie.
Finally, I do want to say a word about the special place brownies have always had in my heart. Brownies were one of the first recipes I learned how to make, and my friends from Buenos Aires fondly remember the many batches that emerged from my kitchen practice back when I was a teenager and I knew all of three recipes. The classic recipe for fudgy brownies I used to make back then is very similar to the brownie recipe I’m sharing with you today. My friends and I used to indulge in these fudgy brownies after weekly band practice. Sometimes the brownies were accompanied by mate, and sometimes they were washed down with many cups of tea, and the munching and biting of these chocolatey treats punctuated our laughter and lively conversation. Some of my favorite moments in life ever were shared with these friends: moments of music, camp nights under the stars, singing and strumming guitars by the bonfire, being rebels without a cause, getting to know the city of Buenos Aires by train and by foot, and just sharing life as we grew up together. How grateful I am for them, for those years back then, and also for their continued friendship into the present day! And somehow, these fudgy brownies are associated with that time in my life and with all those memories. My friends have requested this recipe many times, the most recent on being last October for one of their big birthday parties. I was able to join in the celebration from the other side of the world thanks to WhatsApp and the Internet, and one of my dearest friends in life ever had made a plate of brownies using my recipe so as to transport me there in food form so I could be part of the celebration. My friends’ requests for updates and recipes was one of the things that inspired me to start a blog, so that no matter where I was on the globe, I could still share recipes with loved ones and there would be a space where to share the anecdotes, recipes, and photos of food that is not only delicious but steeped in nostalgia and memories, like these brownies.
So with my recipe for these mini brownie hearts, I am hoping to celebrate the love of all my friends who encourage me and support me each day, and who have made me the person I am. They understand us, sing with us, laugh hysterically with us, give us a shoulder to cry on, and somehow always have the best word of advice when it’s most needed. So Happy Valentine’s and Happy Galentine’s, y’all! I hope on this holiday you will remember all the people who love you, and that you get to celebrate with them I person or in spirit. I also hope you will make these brownies. You will love them! Make it your week’s goal to surprise someone special to you with a batch of these darlings!
Mini Brownie Hearts
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 18 minutes
Decorating time: 20 minutes
Servings: 28 miniature brownie hearts
- 5 tbsp butter
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla powder
- 1 ½ cups dark or milk chocolate, as you prefer
- 1/8 cup sprinkles of your choice, preferably pink and red
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. While the oven preheats, make sure you have a silicone candy mold pan or miniature silicone brownie pan readily at hand. There is no need to grease this pan. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan over medium to low heat, melt the butter with the brown sugar until combined.
- Add the honey and stir until uniform. Set aside.
- While the butter and sugar cool, in a separate bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
- Once the mixture has cooled, add the egg and yolk to the honey and butter mixture, whisking until combined.
- Stir in the vanilla.
- Finally, add the dry powder mixture to the butter and sugar mixture, mixing with a wooden spoon. Make sure no clumps of dry ingredients remain, but avoid over-mixing, so that the batter is not over-worked.
- Pour the batter into each one of the miniature cavities in your silicone pan and bake for 18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Remove the pan from the oven and allow the mini heart brownies to cool in the pan.
- While the brownies fully cool, melt the chocolate of your choice in a double boiler. Whisk constantly to make sure that the chocolate doesn’t burn.
- When the chocolate has reached the right consistency, it will be shiny and have a sheen to it. It will flow easily when stirring it in the pan and will not stick to the bottom of the pan. Dip each individual mini brownie into the melted chocolate to coat and rest them on a metal wire rack with a baking sheet underneath to catch the chocolate drips.
- Sprinkle with your pink and red sprinkles, let set, and enjoy!
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