Every year, usually around the first of February, I start to get a very particular kind of internet envy. It has nothing to do with fancy flowers or cute boys or giant stuffed teddy bears. Instead, I suffer from more food-specific types of longing: cookie cutters, food coloring, and sprinkles. It may seem weird, lusting over pictures of other people’s cookies and cakes and OMG PINK EVERYTHING, but it’s so inspiring for me. I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day; I’ve never been one to obsess over who had a bigger heart-shaped balloon stuffed into their locker. But lately, it seems like my Instagram and Pinterest feeds are completely exploding with everything pink, red, and heart-shaped, and I’m jumping hard on the Valentine’s Day bandwagon.
Though I have yet to bust out any heart-shaped cookie cutters, I just couldn’t stay away from the pink food. I made a batch of these brownies to take to work and they were devoured within hours.
Thick and fudgy, studded with chunks of half-melted chocolate chips, these aren’t your typical boxed brownies. They’re almost as simple to make, requiring only one dirty dish to assemble, but they have a serious depth of flavor that boxed brownies can’t match.
I’ve been making a version of these brownies for years, but this is the first time I’ve ever topped them with anything other than a scoop of ice cream. The frosting definitely takes them over the top, so make sure to cut them into small squares and spread the hot pink love.
Adapted from Buns in My Oven
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper.
Add the butter and sugar to a saucepan set over medium heat. Mix continuously as the butter melts. Once the mixture is totally combined, cook for 2 minutes, making sure the mixture does not boil. Turn off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Once the mixture is cool to the touch, mix in the cocoa powder, salt, baking powder, and vanilla extract. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, ensuring each is completely combined before adding the next. The mixture will be thick and shiny. Add the flour and chocolate chips and stir to combine.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 26-29 minutes, or until the middle is just set—be careful not to overbake or the brownies will be dry. I tend to err on the side of underdone, because I like my brownies extra fudgy. Let cool completely and top with frosting/decorations of your choice. I used the frosting recipe below, but feel free to use your favorite!
3/4 stick unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk
Dash of gel food coloring
Cream the butter with an electric mixer (I used a hand mixer for this small amount, but a stand mixer works beautifully) until it is very light and fluffy. Add the salt and vanilla extract, beating until combined. Sift in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl often, making sure each cup of powdered sugar is completely combined before adding the next. Splash in a bit of milk with the final cup and beat until smooth. If the frosting is too thick, add more milk; if it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar. Once the frosting is the desired consistency, add the food coloring and beat to combine.