When I asked what my community wanted to see more of, one of the responses was “chocolate desserts”. Now I must admit, I am not a master chocolatier but I am teaching myself to work with chocolate more and more. And with Valentine’s Day coming up (just in case you weren’t already aware, or you needed a reminder) this Friday (14th February, again just in case you weren’t already aware), I figured what better to time to present you all with a Valentine’s Day chocolate dessert.
Now whether you enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day or are more of a Galentine’s Day kind of person, this recipe is a winner. It’s packed full of chocolate and has that hidden bit of strawberry, because life is all about balance! I used Perugina 70% Dark Chocolate in the brownies along with their Amaro Cocoa Powder which, when combined with the sugar, was neither too sweet nor too bitter. For the ganache, I also used Perugina chocolate, but this time their 50% Dark Chocolate (it’s not quite milk chocolate but isn’t as bitter as their super dark chocolate) which worked perfectly when melted in the cream. I would recommend using a good quality chocolate when making these as it really does make a difference! In the UK, I would normally use Greene & Black’s, Lindt or a baking chocolate which you can buy in most supermarkets!
So, regardless of whether you want to be lovey dovey, or you just plan to spend Valentine’s Day sat watching a chic flick on Netflix with your besties, why not throw these fudgey brownies together and just spend the evening in Valentine’s Chocolate Heaven. Oh and if you happen to have some strawberries left over, make sure not to waste any of the silky chocolate ganache if you happen to have any left, you can dip them in, or simply use a spoon to lick up every last drop.
Not a fan of strawberries? You can simply remove them and just pour the ganache straight on top of your chocolate brownie because you can never really have too much chocolate can you? Be warned, they aren’t the neatest of desserts to eat but who cares!
Now that doesn’t sound like a bad Valentine’s Day in the slightest…
Makes: 16 brownies
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes + cooling and setting time Total Time: 1 hour + cooling and setting
Ingredients Brownies 240g Unsalted butter, melted and cooled 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil 1 1/4 Cups White sugar 1 Cup Soft brown sugar 4 Eggs, room temperature 2 Tsp Vanilla extract 1 Cup Plain flour, sifted 1 Cup Cocoa powder, sifted 1/2 Tsp Salt 200g Dark chocolate (70%), roughly chopped
Ganache Topping 260ml Double cream (Heavy cream in the US / Panna fresca da montare in Italy) 260g Dark chocolate (50%), chopped into small pieces 200g Fresh strawberries, stem removed and halved Method
Preheat the oven to 190℃ / 170C Fan. Grease and line a brownie tin or baking tin with baking paper – I used a 20cmx30cm tin for this one. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the butter, vegetable oil and sugars until well combined.
Add the eggs one-by-one, beating softly until each egg is combined, followed by the vanilla extract. Beat for around a minute until the mix changes to a light colour.
Add in the sifted flour, cocoa powder and salt, folding gently into the wet ingredients using a spatula or wooden spoon until just combined. Don’t overwork the brownies at this stage.
Fold in most of the chocolate pieces, but keep a handful aside for the toppings.
Pour the batter into the brownie tin, smooth out so it is evenly spread and add the last pieces of chocolate on top.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the brownies are slightly underdone but are still soft to the touch in the centre. Remove and leave to cool in the tin for a further 20 minutes before removing and allowing to cool on a cooling rack. Once completed cooled, put the brownies back into the tin.
Once your brownies are completely cooled and back in the tin, ensure you have enough baking paper covering all the sides of the tin with some excess to help you remove the brownies later on.
Ensure your chocolate is chopped into small pieces – this will help it to melt quicker, and place into a heat-proof bowl.
Gentle heat the cream in a saucepan over a medium-low heat – don’t let it boil. Allow to just simmer for a couple minutes and then pour over the chocolate.
Let it sit for 5 minutes before stirring with a spatula until all the chocolate has melted and is silky smooth.
Meanwhile, place the sliced strawberries on top of the brownies, cut-side down so the top is completely covered.
Pour the ganache evenly over all the strawberries, ensure all the corners are covered and filled.
Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge for a few hours until completely set.
Cut into chunks as large as you want and store in an air tight container for 2 days – the strawberries may cause the ganache to melt as they sweat if left out so this is super important!