Valentine’s Day is coming up, and what better way to celebrate than by sharing something sweet with those you love? Since brownies are so customizable, but uniformly adored, coming up with a few versions of fun Valentine’s Day brownies seemed like the perfect way to share some sugary love this season.
Brownies are a classic American chocolate dessert, and though reportedly initially developed at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago during the late 1800’s as a “fork-less cake” boxed-lunch dessert option (complete with apricot glaze), the brownie maintains strong New England ties thanks to its inclusion in a large number of publications to come out of the region during the early years of the twentieth century, including the 1906 Fannie Farmer Cookbook, which certainly helped spread its popularity.
Like the chocolate chip cookie, it seems no two brownie recipes are exactly alike. Some folks like their brownies light and cakey, while others crave them chewy or even gooey. Some like them chunky with nuts or chocolate chips, while others prefer them frosted or swirled with cream cheese. Some eat them plain, and some dream about them a la mode, warm and soft with a melting scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.
I started by whipping up a batch of Raspberry Brownies, which get a boost of color from a generous swirl of seedless raspberry jam, not to mention of the addition of the berries’ sweet and juicy flavor. In truth, I thought the amount of jam called for was perhaps too much (hard as that is to believe) because the brownies had a hard time cooking in areas where it was thick, so I’ve updated the original recipe to lighten things up.
Then it was time to try something unusual, a recipe from the Yankee recipe archives for Inside-Out Brownies.
The recipe called for a thick, dry chocolate batter to be wrapped around a chocolate kiss and then rolled into a ball and baked before being dipped in chocolate. These are my favorite kinds of recipes — the head-scratchers that leave you guessing until you take your first bite.
And what a bite it was! The firm, chocolate “brownie” had baked up around the chocolate kiss, and once cooled, the kiss had hardened back into a solid chocolate core. My fellow Yankee staffers adored these, remarking that unlike cookies where the chocolate kiss sits on top and can be awkwardly hard, in this cookie it pairs perfectly with its surroundings.
I jazzed them up for Valentine’s Day by using red candy melts, but you can keep things 100% chocolate by dipping the cooled brownie bites in melted semi-sweet chocolate instead.
No matter what, we think that if you celebrate cupid this year by making fun Valentine’s Day brownies, both your sweetheart and your sweet tooth will thank you.
Happy Valentine’s Day!