This is my final recipe for the Food for Romance Cookalong, and is the best course of all, dessert!
Brownies have always been my go to dessert, so much so that at one stage I used to be able to whip up a batch of the batter in under 10 mins while the oven heated and be eating them 20 mins later.
This recipe is a slight modification from the one printed in my very first cookbook; The Usborne First Cookbook. Which, by the way, is a brilliant first cookbook for kids, I still use lots of recipes from it.
As with my previous two cookalong recipes, this is another easy to make but looks really impressive dish. The one you love will find it hard to resist you after a dish like this.
I like to use a mix of milk and dark chocolate in my brownies, but if you prefer just plain chocolate then leave out the milk and double the amount of plain.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Weigh out the chocolate and butter and place in a glass bowl.
Pour some boiled water into the saucepan enough so that it won't boil dry but not enough that it will touch the bottom of the glass bowl. Place the bowl with the chocolate and butter on top and allow to melt over a gentle heat, stirring occasionally.
While the chocolate is melting weigh out the flour, sugar and baking powder into a mixing bowl.
Break the eggs into a seperate smaller bowl and beat them together.
Add the beaten eggs to the dry mixture and whisk together with the electric beater until it is well combined.
When the chocolate is completely melted, pour it into the mixing bowl with the other ingredients and beat together.
When everything is thoroughly mixed together, pour into the well greased swiss roll tin and spread the mixture out so that it is evenly distributed about the tray.
Put the tray into the oven and bake for 20 - 25 mins.
The brownies are ready when they are just set in the middle. Take the tray out of the oven and leave to cool.
Once cool, take your bigger heart shape cutter and mark out 2 large hearts. Then take your smaller heart and mark out 2 little hearts. Try not to cut too near the edge as you get a better looking shape near the centre of the tray. I was making for 3 and I had plenty of brownie left to enjoy the next day with the leftover cream. Bonus!
Using a spatuala, cut a square around the hearts and gently leaver the square up to remove the heart from the tray without damaging it. Put the cut out large hearts on plates and the leave the small ones to one side for the moment.
Time for the vanilla cream. Pour the cream into a bowl and beat until it has soft peaks.
Now take your vanilla pod and split it open. Run the back edge of the knife over the inside of the pod to collect the seeds.
Add the seeds to the cream and fold in using a spoon or small spatula.
Put a large spoonful of the vanilla cream onto the large heart and gently spread it across the top until it is completely covered.
Carefully place the small heart on top and dredged with icing sugar using either a sieve or dredger.
You can then leave them as is and serve or add a little garnish. I used a glace cherry leftover from the Christmas baking on the top of mine, but a mint sprig would also work really well.