by Erin and Xani
I don’t think we’re alone when we say that Valentine’s Day (or Valentime’s Day, if you’re from north Baltimore) is a holiday designed to make money for the card stores, flower shops, chocolate shops, and fancy restaurants, while at the same time making single girls like us rue the day we didn’t call that guy back just because he was wearing a mock turtleneck. BUT, there is one good thing about V-day: it’s the perfect excuse to make adorable treats/crafts to give out to our friends!
It all started last Sunday, while we were in the midst of making Xani’s birthday dinner. We decided to make Ina Garten’s “Outrageous Brownies” since they looked so delicious and they would hold up for the few days before actual V-day. We thought about doing chocolate truffles or heart-shaped Linzer torts (like last year – so adorable AND delicious but alas, they were pre-blog so no pics!), but we finally decided on the brownies.
The brownie recipe began with a pound of butter (oh Ina...), unsweetened chocolate, and semi-sweet chocolate, melted together over a double boiler. Meanwhile, eggs, instant coffee, vanilla, and sugar (over 2 cups!) are mixed together and added to the cooled chocolate mixture.
Then, the flour, salt, and baking powder are mixed together and added to the chocolate mixture. Meanwhile, the chocolate chips (and walnuts, if you are using them - we didn't since we didn't want to run into any nut allergy issues) are tossed in flour before being added to the brownie batter. This is to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the pan during baking.
We buttered and floured a sheet pan and then poured in the batter (which, by the way, was better than any brownie batter we've ever eaten). It was baked at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or so until a toothpick came out clean. Then, you have to wait for the brownies to come to room temperature AND THEN refrigerate them before you can cut into them. What kind of patience do you think we have, Ina??
While we were waiting for the brownies to be done, we worked on the other parts of our little crafts - cutting ribbon, making little tags, and stamping hearts on the tags. After they were FINALLY cooled, we divided the brownies in half to be assembled at our respective homes later in the week.
We each had a little gadget we used in/during our assembly: EP chose to cut her brownies into hearts using a small cookie cutter, and Xani took her picture with the help of a new toy-- a portable lighting studio she received for her birthday! You'll definitely be able to tell which are her pictures!
Xani's secret weapon
Erin's secret weapon
We assembled our treats by putting the brownie in a little cellophane bag, along with 3-4 Valentine's Day-themed M&Ms. Then we tied the bag with one of four patterns of ribbon, and attached a little piece of cardstock with a heart-stamp and a hand-written V-Day note. If you didn't think it could get any cheesier, the hole-punch for the ribbon was heart-shaped!
We think they turned out pretty cute! Oh, and the brownies are DELICIOUS. Super-rich, but delicious. We're glad we cut them so small!
Happy Valentine's Day everyone, and if you like Valentine's Day, we hope it was a good one full of love, and if you hate it, you've got 364 days until you have to deal with it again.
E & X
ps. Bonus points for anyone who knows the blog title's reference!
pps. If you didn't get a treat, or you got one but it didn't have the super-cute ribbon/bag/card treatment-- sorry!! No offense intended. Until we hit that MegaMillions, the madness has to stop somewhere!!