Heart swap (white and dark chocolate brownies)
Mid-February is packed with things Amanda and I are celebrating. Of course there was Amanda’s dad’s birthday last week. Sunday marks my mom’s birthday, which I’m probably more excited about than she is. And before we hit that date, we hit February 17th – the end of my brother’s 6-month stint as a vegan. I can finally stop buying disgusting fake butter and make him care packages without thinking about substitutions! Additionally, this week marks the first week Connecticut is predicted to hit the 50s. Birthdays be damned, this is the best news of the week. (Sorry, Mom!)
There was also yesterday of course – Valentine’s day. I’m generally not for or against Valentine’s day, but I do try to do a little something each year. Last year I handed out awesome hologram Hannah Montana valentines to confuse my friends, but this year I think I’ve done much, much better. I promise Amanda and I don’t run entirely on baked goods, but when I saw this recipe Friday, I knew I had to make it immediately and I knew I would change not a thing about it. It’s whimsical, it’s clever and it’s fudge-filled goodness.
I had initially had a hard time deciding whether the white or the dark chocolate brownies tasted better, so thankfully there’s a bite of each in every brownie. Although, I guess I shouldn’t pretend as if I have enough self-control to limit myself to one brownie. You all know me better than that.
Don’t worry – eventually I was able to pick a clear victor in the battle of the brownies. The white chocolate ones were nothing short of divine – soft and silky with just that hint of sweet cream.
Did I mention it’s a one-bowl recipe? Well, one-bowl per batch I should say. With that fact alone, these brownies stole my heart.
This won’t find you until it’s too late for Cupid’s special day, but the idea itself is versatile and there’s no holiday where brownies are inappropriate. If I hadn’t made these for yesterday, I’d be doing a St Patrick’s day version with a baby clover cut-out. Or just a simple flower design for spring or birthdays. The worst thing that could happen is they look silly and you’re stuck eating the whole batch yourself. What a pity that would be.
Brownies with Heart
From Smitten Kitchen
3 ounces (85 grams) semisweet or high quality white chocolate, coarsely chopped*
1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (175 grams) sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup (83 grams) all-purpose flour
1-inch cookie cutter
*Good quality for white chocolate typically means a nice white chocolate in bar form, NOT chip form. The white chips are usually white baking chips that don’t actually have white chocolate in them. Great for cookies, but they’ll cause a giant, unappetizing mess if you try to throw them in a double boiler.
Preheat your oven to 350°F and get water boiling in a medium pot. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with two layers of foil in opposite directions. Use butter to grease the foil.
We’re of course making two batches of brownies here, so pick one to go first. Melt the white or dark chocolate and butter together in a large bowl over the boiling water. Even if you have a double boiler, I like using the improvised one here; it allows you to mix everything up in that bowl and makes one fewer dish to clean up. Once melted, stir mixture until smooth and then whisk in sugar. Whisk in one egg, then the other and then add vanilla. Add flour and salt and stir just enough to incorporate those dry ingredients. Spread the mix into your pan. The dark chocolate brownies will go for about 25-30 minutes, while the white chocolate ones take a little bit more time to reach perfection (30-35 minutes).
I would tell you to use the baking time to lick your spoon, bowl, whisk and fingers clean, but my law student blogging partner might get mad at me for encouraging possible salmonella problems. So whatever you do, do not enjoy every last drop of the ooey gooey chocolaty mess. Mmm.
Repeat the process with the other brownie batter. If you only have one 8-inch pan, wait for the first pan to cool somewhat before using the foil ends to pull out brownie type one.
Once both brownies are baked, cooled and out of the pan in their foil sleeves, throw them in the freezer for about 30 minutes, or until frozen. This step is absolutely vital if you want your brownies to look professionally cut. Once frozen, remove the foil and use a bread knife to cut the brownies into squares about 2×2 inches. At this point, I found it good to pop the brownies back into the freezer for a bit and pull them out a few at a time for the heart swap. Use a 1-inch cookie cutter to carefully punch out the center of each brownie. Insert the white chocolate hearts into the dark chocolate bars and dark chocolate hearts into the white chocolate bars.
Brownies store well in the freezer or in an air-tight container at room temperature.