By Sean-Patrick M. Hillman
From The Big Game to Valentine’s Day, February is an incredible month to be a lover of all-things food. For Valentine’s Day, I love to make my wife a special dinner or dessert. And knowing how tired people are of take-out and outdoor dining in the cold, I thought this month I would focus on one simple thing: A Deep Fudge Brownie! This may sound more pedestrian than normal for me, but when it comes to brownies, this is far from the norm!
1 cup unsalted butter (melted and hot)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
4 large white eggs, at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (needs to be high quality)
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ teaspoon of confectioner’s sugar per brownie for dusting
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease an 8x12-inch baking pan with either butter or cooking oil spray. Whisk together melted butter, oil and sugars in a medium-size bowl until well-combined. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating for about a minute (until the color turns light brown). Sift in flour, cocoa powder and salt. Gently stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until JUST combined (do not over mix as it will make the brownies less fudgy). Stir in 3/4 of the chocolate pieces. Spread batter into baking pan, using a spatula to even out the top. Sprinkle on remaining semi-sweet chips. Bake for 30 minutes for a very fudgy texture (you want to make sure that the chocolate is set; gently shift the pan to make sure that it doesn’t jiggle). If you prefer more cake-like brownies, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and sit on counter for 15 minutes. Once cooled, cut evenly in 2-inch squares. As you want to be sure your brownie is served in the best possible way, buy a heart-shaped cookie cutter. Place the heart brownie on a plate, dusting with confectioners’ sugar. For an extra special display, dust the plate around the heart brownie with red sanding sugar.