It’s almost Hearts and Candy Day! And whether you’re celebrating with a special someone, a whole bunch of special someones or just your own radical self, Valentine’s Day is a fine excuse to gorge on some chocolate.
Of course those heart-shaped boxes of chocolate truffles are a classic and quick candy fix, but they’re so boring. So I made those chocolates better by baking them into the center of bite-sized brownies and topping ’em with a rich ganache glaze. Delicious!
Bonus: It’s super easy to do. The one-bowl brownie recipe can be whipped up in about 10 minutes, and you’ll never need to break out the mixer. You can have these mini chocolate bombs ready within an hour, in fact, which makes them the perfect project for the procrastinating Valentine. If you’re baking them for a crush, pair a plate of them with a hand-drawn card or a sweet Valentine’s mix-tape. Or, forget everyone else and keep them all to yourself—they can be your hot date to your private Adventures of Pete and Pete marathon!
This recipe makes about 35 bite-sized brownies.
For the brownies you’ll need:
- 4 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
- 20 chocolate truffles*
For the chocolate ganache topping you’ll need:
- 4 ounces good-quality semi-semi sweet chocolate
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 4 ounces white chocolate, optional
- red food coloring, optional
- assorted sprinkles, optional
Pre-heat the oven to 350° F. Use mini cupcake papers to line two 20-cup mini cupcake tins (if you only have one pan, that’s okay—you can bake them in two batches). Cut your 20 chocolate candies in half and set aside.
To make the brownie batter, place the butter and unsweetened chocolate in a medium-sized microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 90 seconds. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir the mixture until all the chocolate is melted and combined with the butter. (Take a whiff—it smells sooo good.) Next, stir in the sugar until it’s well combined. Then add the eggs, one at a time, completely stirring in each egg before adding the next. Next, stir in the vanilla and salt, and then finally add the flour and stir until just combined.
Using a small spoon or a cookie scoop, fill the paper-lined mini cupcake tins with a heaping spoonful of the brownie batter so they’re about 2/3 of the way full. Lightly press in one piece of chocolate candy and cover with a little bit more batter until the cups are 3/4 of the way full. Bake for about 20 minutes until the brownies have set. (Take care not to overbake.)
Allow the brownies to cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan (they’ll be fragile at first), then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.
To make the ganache, place the bittersweet chocolate and cream into a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 20 second increments, stirring after each, just until the chocolate is smooth. It should take about a minute.
Take your cooled brownies and, one at a time, dip the tops of them into the melted chocolate. Allow the excess to drizzle off, then place them back on the wire rack. Repeat until all the brownies have been coated with ganache. If you want to add sprinkles to some of the brownies, it’s best to do that while the ganache is still wet, so you can do that as you go along.
To make the cute pink decorations, line a large plate or cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper. Place four ounces of white chocolate in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 10 seconds increments (it melts a bit quicker than dark chocolate. Stir until smooth. Add a few drops of red food coloring, until you reach your desired shade of pink or red.
Take a small ziplock or sandwich bag and snip off a tiny piece of one of the corners. Pour the pink chocolate into the bag and gently give it a squeeze. Draw out hearts, XO, love, or any other small messages on the parchment paper. It might take some practice, so be patient! It’s okay if you get a few ugly mess ups. No one has to know. Place the white chocolate decorations in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. When hardened, use a sharp knife to peel the chocolate decorations off the wax or parchment paper and place them on the ganache. (Don’t use your hands—the warmth will melt the chocolate.)
*Pro tip: The chocolates with the whipped centers don’t work very well with this recipe. Because the airy filling is so delicate, it just melts and ultimately dissolves in the oven. Bummer. For the best results, use the chocolates with the dense centers—coconut, caramel, nougat, etc.