Valentine's Day Baking

For my birthday, a thoughtful friend bought me some cookie cutters, since I complained that I couldn't find any in Madagascar when I was making Christmas cookies. One of the shapes I received was a tiny little heart.

I knew Valentine's Day was coming up, and although I'm not hugely into v-day, I thought I'd make Sergio a gift for the occasion.

My brownie recipe is based on this one, from Kraft Foods.

First, I measured out all the ingredients:
4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate (all I had was 65% dark)
2 cups of sugar (I thought this was a ridiculous amount and I wasn't using unsweetened chocolate so I took out about 3/4 of a cup of it)
3 eggs
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla (I used vanilla bean)
3/4 cup of butter

My plan was to make a less sweet brownie, and then cut up peices of Mars bars and spread them all throughout the brownies. Except MG is out of Mars bars, so I had to replace them with a less quality, cheaper version we have called Bar One.
Also through the baking process, I had to stay on top of my emails because I had left work a little bit early. (I know, the horror!!! But it's a Saturday!!!!)
First start by melting the chocolate and butter. The pots we have are officially the worst peices of crap, but they worked okay. I was a bit worried about melting chocolate on the stove so I used the lowest setting possible.
I remembered we had these glass bowls and I could have made a bain marie/double boiler so that I wouldn't scorch the chocolate....but....that was halfway through the melting process and it was already too late.
Just a quick side note. Groceries that us vazas use are ridiculously expensive. This 200 grams of butter was 11000 Ariary (about $5.50 CDN).
Next step was to prepare the vanilla. I bring back vanilla beans to my friends and family, but often people don't know what to do with them. Here's the "how-to".
Another side note, MG vanilla is like the world's best vanilla.
First lay the vanilla bean on a cutting board, and using a small knife, split the bean in half.
Then scrape out the black specs in the middle. I'm not sure of the vanilla bean to liquid vanilla ratio . I used one bean and it worked out well. When I was making Christmas cookies, I would use two beans.
Pour the melted butter and melted chocolate into a bowl (another reason I should have used the bain marie).
Pour in sugar.
Add in eggs, blending after each addition.
Mix in the flour.
I tasted the batter at this point. It tasted like very good dark chocolate. (MG has great high quality chocolate. Some of the chocolate shops that I went to in Belgium had MG chocolate showcased as a special item.)

Anyway, good quality dark chocolate does not mix well with a fake Mars bar. So I changed my mind and added some chunks of dark chocolate into the batter.
I had to use the internet to find out what temperature to cook these babies because my oven is in Celcius. Also, it's a convection oven, so I knew I couldn't cook them for as long as the recipe called for. I baked them at 175*C for about 25 minutes.

And again, another a side note. I hate dishes. And I have one gibbled hand from my little fall. But I didn't want Sergio to know that I was baking, so I nicely stacked the dishes and put them under the sink for the cleaning lady to wash up tomorrow.
Judge me if you will. A move this lazy calls for it. But....well...I don't have any excuses. I just really didn't want to do dishes.
Twenty five minutes later, I pulled these out of the oven. Obviously had to taste them to make sure they were cooked enough.
I let them cool on the counter for awhile, and then I put them in the fridge so that they would cool quicker.

And then started the heart shaped cookie cuttering.
How cute are these!?! Even more exciting, I used the stove and the oven in Madagascar and didn't cause injury to myself or anyone else, nor did I blow up anything!!! Woo hoo!!!
They tasted awesome. They turned out perfectly!!

There's some good and bad news though. The good news is that cutting the brownies gives you plenty of scraps to eat!! The bad news? There are plenty of scraps for you to eat! I went a bit overboard and ended up with a stomach ache. Ick.

Sergio & I had our Valentine's Day exchange today, since we're both crazy busy tomorrow and work all day. Also, I wanted him to have these to have something to have as a dessert on a Sunday.
Sergio gave me some maple whisky (apparently this is amazing), some chocolate, and some Cadbury Creme eggs (of course!!!). What can I say, I'm spoiled.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!


  1. Awww too cute! you're such a good little house wife ;) wf!

  2. We knew you could do it. They look very tasty. Although I can't believe you would eat the crumbs. Very out of character for someone in our family. Yeah right. Hope you enjoyed your treats. Love G@G xx00

  3. Look at you go! Getting all "domestic"...
    I'm sure Sergio enjoyed them very much, as they were made with love!