Introduction: I (heart) Accuracy Brownies
First Prize in the
Valentine's Day: Sweet Treats Contest
These aren't just moist and delicious, they're also anatomically correct.
If you're going to make brownies for Valentine's Day (or any other day, for that matter), why not accurately express how you really feel?
Thanks to everyone for your comments and votes!
Step 1: Making Brownies
You'll Need. . .
- large bowl
- measuring spoons and cups
- wire whisk
- knife (to chop chocolate)
- 8 inch square baking dish
- small mesh sieve for stencil (I'm using a large tea ball here)
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 ounces chopped chocolate (2 ounces each of milk and dark used here)
- cooking spray
- powdered sugar for stencil
Step 2: Mmm, Brownies. . .
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees
2. Place butter in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high for 35 seconds or until melted
3. Add sugar and cocoa powder and mix well
4. Microwave an additional 45 seconds, mix again
5. Allow to cool slightly
6. While it's cooling down, chop the chocolate into small pieces
7. Add the eggs to the cocoa-butter mixture one at a time, mixing well after each
8. Add salt, vanilla, and flour. Mix well
9. Stir in chocolate chunks
10. Pour into pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray (be sure to spray it really well; I didn't do it, but it's probably a good idea to flour the pan as well as these are really moist and gooey brownies, and they will stick)
11. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean
12. Allow to cool fully (I usually pop the pan in the freezer to speed this along and help make sure they're solid).
Step 3: Making the Stencil
While they cool, make the stencil.
1. Some paper
2. A computer with Photoshop or similar
3. A printer
4. A small sharp blade
5. An image of a heart (or whatever you'd like to use)
6. A small piece of thick-ish plastic (larger than the image - having a couple pieces on hand may be a good idea in case you mess up)
7. Double-sided tape
Step 4: The Nitty-Gritty
The screenshots and images below illustrate each step:
1. Select the portion of the image you'd like to use - I'm using only the heart
2. Convert the image to black and white
3. Turn the brightness up to around 25, and the contrast up to 100
4. Carefully erase the filled areas leaving only the lines of the image. I zoom in to do this since it makes it easier to see what's going on. (Image 5 below shows with all the areas erased)
5. Add a new blank layer above the one you've created and begin painting over the lines with black (Image 7 shows the two layers)
6. Delete the original layer and cleanup the lines on the outline layer. It is best to connect all the areas so that the stencil is more solid. this will also make cutting easier
7. Print your image (I sized mine to print as about a 2.5 inch square)
8. Tape the plastic over the printout
9. Cut out the areas that are blank, leaving only the lines
10. Remove your fancy plastic stencil.
Step 5: The Fun Part
1. Cut around the edges of the pan, and divide the brownies (because of the size of stencil I used, I was able to make four brownies from the pan - they're pretty big though)
2. Remove a brownie from the pan and place on a serving plate
3. Place the stencil on top of the brownie
4. Put a few spoonfuls of powdered sugar into the sieve or tea ball
5. Hold over the brownie and stencil and tap the side gently
6. Hold the edges of the stencil and lift straight up quickly
7. Behold your pretty pretty brownie!
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