With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I have lately found myself bombarded with shiny red and pink packages, teasing me with sugar and sweet sayings every time I walk into the grocery store. While in Wal Mart I actually saw a giant teddy bear for $40 holding a heart that said “I love you”. If my hubby bought me a stuffed bear for $40 what the heart should say is “I got a huge raise so I can afford to spend $40 on a bear”.
They say Valentine’s Day is a day for love. But let’s not kid ourselves. It is a day of chocolate… and sex, but mostly chocolate. You either love the day or hate it and that usually has to do with whether or not there is a sweetheart in your life, but single or not, we all love chocolate. It is there for you when your man uses it to get you in bed, and it is there to console you when there is no one else in your bed. So now, surrounded by the shiny packages and over-priced stuffed animals, it is no surprise I cannot get the stuff off my mind.
Even in the Beaumont library where there is no chocolate for sale in sight, I still managed to stumble upon an appropriately titled book in the new release section: Pure Chocolate by Fran Bigelow. The book is dark and seductive with its black cover and dark chocolate concoction being scooped up by a spoon. I grabbed it and on my way out picked up the movie Chocolat with Johnny Depp- just to really get me in the mood.
I figured with all of the chocolate that is going to be flying around this month, I might as well have some that isn’t tied up in cellophane and tastes like cardboard. I aimed to make at least one of the recipes I found in this book with the purest and most local and fresh ingredients possible. I believe I was successful and the difference in taste is like a packet of hot chocolate and real Mayan cocoa. Armed with fresh eggs from my mom’s chickens and San Francisco chocolate I turned to the page with an old favorite: brownies.
I am going to give you this brownie recipe because there is no point in teasing you with all of this chocolate talk if you don’t get anything from it. But know that I take no credit for this recipe; it is taken directly from the book Pure Chocolate by Fran Bigelow. The only complaint I have about this delicious recipe is that the batter is so good it almost didn’t make it to brownie-dom! It tasted like a chocolate mousse and I just couldn’t keep my fingers out of it.
If you are looking for a fun new twist on treats to give away to your honey, try using a heart shaped cookie cutter to cut out the brownies and dip them in candy dipping chocolate. You can even put the brownies on a stick (there are candy sticks available at cake supply stores or Michael’s in Redlands) and create delicious brownie pops!
Truffle Brownies from Pure Chocolate
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
½ lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar
6 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp pure vanilla
1 cup flour
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and lightly butter a 9 by 13 pan. In a double boiler over simmering water, combine the chocolates and melt. Remove from the heat when nearly melted and continue stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool. (I melted my chocolate in the microwave to make less dishes. It worked just as well, but it is a personal preference.)
With a mixer beat the sugars and butter until light. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the side of the bowl. Add the vanilla and continue beating until smooth. Pour in the cooled chocolate and mix well. If the butter begins to melt when the chocolate is added, stop pouring and let the chocolate cool further. The finished mixture should be glossy and smooth. (My finished mixture did not come out glossy because the chocolate did melt the butter. The result was still good brownies but they were more cake-like than truffle-y. I definitely recommend trying for the truffle version!)
With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour until all traces of white have disappeared. Be careful not to overmix!
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is dull on top and a toothpick comes out with wet dark crumbs on it. Let it cool in the pan for about 1 hour.