Valentine's chocolate brownie

Video guide to Valentine's chocolate brownie

Hi, I'm going to show you how to make the most delicious and romantic frosted heart-shaped chocolate brownies.

Ingredients for chocolate brownies

Now for this recipe what you need is 250g of cubed butter, this is unsalted, and I've got 200g of dark chocolate, chopped up. I've got 400g of caster sugar, 185g of sifted plain flour, four eggs that are beaten together and here I've got two teaspoons of vanilla extract.

Melt the butter and chocolate

So I've got my oven pre-heated and you need to pre-heat your oven to 170 degrees centigrade, if you've got a fan oven, about 150 or gas mark three. Let's get started then. I've got the butter here and I'm going to add in the chopped chocolate and this goes over a saucepan of simmer water. Now, be patient with this and give it a good stir round as it's going. It's important that we melt everything very slowly and that we don't burn the chocolate.

With this also it's very important that you don't let the bottom of the glass bowl touch the water, it has to be a little way above it and it's actually the steam that heats it and therefore melts everything gently.

OK, I can see that's pretty much all melted and I don't want it to get too hot so let's turn that off now and let's bring it down on to the work surface. That looks gorgeous and smooth and perfectly melted. So next I'm going to add in the sugar and the beaten egg.

Combine with the sugar

There we go, and mix these together. Just make sure that the sugar gets really well combined throughout the mixture because you don't want clumps of sugar. I can feel that that's getting nice and smooth.

You might have noticed that I put the sugar in first and then the eggs. You wouldn't want to put the eggs in to a really, really hot chocolate mixture because it would obviously start to cook the eggs in the wrong way. The sugar's cooled it down and thickened it slightly and now the eggs add a kind of emulsion.

Add vanilla extract and the flour

We're now going to add the two teaspoons of vanilla extract. Just quickly stir that through and then the flour. This is already sifted so it's quite OK for me to pop it in.

Now you don't need to go mad with this mixing, you just need to make sure it's all combined. Because these are brownies you're making, the texture doesn't have to be perfectly smooth, it can be a little rough in places and that just adds to the dish.

Oven bake the brownies

There, that's combined perfectly. I'm not going to over mix it. Now, over here, I've got a 21cm square cake tin which I've prepared by greasing lightly with a little bit of butter and then lining with baking paper. So I'm simply going to pop the mixture in to there. Really looks good enough to eat, there we go, we don't want to waste any. Pop that to one side. All you need to do with this is give it a very, very gentle shake, it'll find its own level. So I'm now going to pop this in the oven for about 40 minutes.

Now the brownie is cooked and cooled nicely. When I first got it out of the oven, I did check that it was properly cooked, using a skewer. Now, normally in a cake, you would pop it in the middle and make sure that that skewer came out clean but with brownie, it's nice and squidgy in the middle so I checked it more towards the edge and that's the best way to check that it's cooked.

So that's all done perfectly, I'm just going to lift this out, move that away and I'm going to take the wrapping off. Just peel off the baking parchment and carefully slide the brownie off.

Make the frosting

So before I cut this up, I'm going to get to work on the frosting. Now, for this I'm using 50g of unsalted butter, and you can see that this is at room temperature, I've got a tablespoon of milk and I've got 125g of sifted icing sugar. I'm going to use my electric mixer for this. I'm going to pop the butter in first, then the milk and then the icing sugar. Now a really, really useful tip when you're doing anything like this with icing sugar and in the mixer, is get a clean tea towel and cover it over and that stops the whole room getting covered in icing sugar. So I'm going to whizz this together now for about 40 seconds.

OK, so that's had about 40 seconds and a good tip now is to just move the whisk out of the way and make sure that you've got all the icing sugar from around the side. Make sure it's all getting mixed in and then you're going to pop this on for another minute, minute and 20 seconds, and then it should be all ready to go.

And now you should have a really lovely smooth and creamy frosting. Next I'm going to spread this on the brownie and then we're going to cut it up.

Cut the brownies

Best thing to do is try and get as much as you can on your first scoop and dollop that right in the middle. Get your final bits out. You don't have to be too perfect about this, it's just a case of spreading this around. As close to the edge as you feel safe. I can feel that the brownie is beautifully crumbly and probably chewy underneath. I'm just going to leave that like that.

And now, over here, I've got these little heart-shaped cutters. These are brilliant because they're quite deep so this will enable me to cut out these very romantic heart shapes. You have to make sure that you press right down to the bottom, bring it up and then push it upwards and you'll have a nice clear edge on your icing and your brownies.

OK, so I've got seven made there. I would probably get another five out of that but I'm just going to work on these seven right now. Let me get the plate. So if I just put these on one by one. It's worth taking a bit of time over this, isn't it?

Sprinkle with chocolate shavings

And now I'm just going to do some chocolate shavings. So here I've got 50g of white chocolate at room temperature and I'm just going to use a shaver here, or a grater and just grate some nice little curly shavings off. And these I'm just going to sprinkle over, very pretty. I think that is looking gorgeous.

So there you go, frosted heart-shaped chocolate brownies; perfect for a romantic treat.

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