Can you be a scrooge for Valentine’s Day? If so, that’s what I am (kind of). I’m just too practical to get caught up in the flowers, jewelry and drama of it all. If my husband came home with a dozen roses, the first thing I would say is “How much did you pay for these??!!” I don’t even buy cards – except for cheap drugstore ones for the kids to exchange at school. I think I must get this from dad – the king of romance. I remember one year he gave my mom a couple of sensible magazines like Good Housekeeping and Family Circle because according to his rationale it costs about as much as a card and at least you could get some use out of it. He never brought home flowers, unless they were of the potted variety so they wouldn’t be dead two days later. My mom was a good sport!
However, as much as I am “scroogey” about Valentine’s Day, I do enjoy any excuse to eat chocolate. My favorite thing to do is to hit the after-Valentine’s Day sale and indulge in a heart-shaped box of something “fancy.” I’ve also been inspired by my fellow bloggers and the delicious-looking creations they have been posting lately. This afternoon, rather last minute of course, I decided that I would bake something for my sons’ teachers in lieu of some store-bought candy or trinket. After raiding my pantry, I discovered I had nothing “cute.” I think I must be more of a utilitarian baker – I like cakes, pies, drop cookies – nothing too complicated. I didn’t even have a heart-shaped cookie cutter!
Well, I set out to find one without much success. I saw lots of Easter cookie cutters but no hearts. Pretty much anything relating to hearts was sold out. I did find some adorable red polka-dot mini-size baking cups and an idea was born. How about mini-brownie cupcakes with sprinkles? I let my boys pick out the sprinkles and of course they went for the gaudiest and most colorful ones they could find. I baked them quickly after supper. Threw on some sprinkles, with the help of little hands, and waa laa!
If you need to throw something together last minute, give these a whirl. And while I may be a scrooge about Valentine’s Day, let it be clear I’m a big fan of love. And I’m a big fan of home-baked love. Happy Valentine’s Day and enjoy!
Adorable Brownie Cupcakes (adapted from Hershey’s Firecracker Brownies recipe)
1 ½ sticks of butter, softened
1 ½ cups sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
¾ cups all-purpose flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
½ cup cocoa
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. sea salt
1 cup semisweet or dark chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 cup mini-muffin pan with mini-sized baking cups. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl. Add eggs one at a time. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt to egg mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. With a teaspoon, carefully fill cups almost to the top. Bake 15-20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of a center brownie comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle tops with white and/or dark chocolate chips and allow to soften for a few minutes. Spread melted chocolate over top and decorate with colored sugar or sprinkles. Allow to cool before removing from muffin tin.