Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Easy Valentine's Day Brownies

Nothing says "I Love You" on Valentine's Day like giving a card that says "I Love You".

Well, that, and a huge chocolate brownie covered in pink M&M's and then sprinkled with pink M&M's, and shaped like a heart.

This recipe is adapted from an Easy Cocoa Brownie recipe found in One Smart Cookie, which is one of my fave cookbooks. Not only are the recipes super-tasty and super-easy to make, but they're also fairly low-fat and lo-cal compared to other baked goods. It also stores really well - in the past I've baked brownies using this recipe, and have simply flipped the huge slab of brownie out of it's silicone pan, wrapped it up in plastic wrap, covered it in aluminum foil, and slid the whole thing in the freezer to enjoy another day.
To amp the brownies up a bit, I loaded them up with the special Breast Cancer awareness M&Ms purchased at my local supermarket. While I do feel good that 50 cents went to Breast Cancer research, I really bought them because they're pink, but let's not worry about the reasoning and let's get looking at the photos...

Here are the ingredients:

The brownies, cooling after being baked in their heart-shaped silicone baking cups:

Sitting pretty with the White Chocolate Cheesecake cupcakes:

Close-up of the brownies in their cutesy cupcake liners (pour me a tall glass of milk, please!):

Easy Valentine's Day Brownies

1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 tsps. water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups pink, white and/or red M&Ms or Smarties or other chocolate candies

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 12-cup muffin pan or 8"x 8" pan with nonstick spray.
2. In a large bowl, mix together butter/margarine and sugar until well combined.
3. Add egg, egg whites, vanilla and coffee and stir until thoroughly blended and smooth.
4. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Add to the egg mixture and stir by hand until just combined.
5. Add 1 cup of the M&Ms to the batter and combine.
6. Spread batter into pan and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of M&Ms.
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until edges just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, but center is still slightly soft. Do not overbake - I usually bake a pan for 30 minutes, and cupcake-sized brownies for 25. Let cool - makes 12-16 brownies.

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