In the past Dallas (my husband) and I have not been big on celebrating Valentine’s Day. We are the kind of couple that likes to do things for each other whenever the thought strikes us, not just on the day you are supposed to do something for your loved one. This year is a bit different. With Lance being in school he is much more aware of the holidays and the fun that is associated with them. So, this year I am giving in to the hype of Valentine’s Day, but only for Lance. We will be celebrating as a family, just by showing each other our love. One way I will be doing that is to bake…big shocker right!!! While my men are out galavanting around the King of the Hammers race tomorrow, I will be baking. I was reading one of my favorite blogs and came across this super simple idea, heart-shaped brownies. I thought to myself, “I can whip those up is 5 minutes, and oh so EASY and cute!” You can pop on over to Life as Mom to read her version, as well as find many links to Valentine’s Day recipes in her ultimate recipe swap that she hosts every Thursday.
Now, you can do this with any of your favorite brownie recipes or from a boxed mix. Although brownies are so easy, there really is no need for a boxed mix! I had a hard time finding a brownie recipe I really liked. I liked the texture of the boxed brownies better than most of the homemade ones, but I hate using a mix! So, I finally found one that is similar to the boxed mix and it quickly became our favorite around here. They only take a few basic ingredients that should be staples in any baker’s or semi-baker’s pantry. I even carry all this stuff in my motorhome to whip these up while camping.
Mmm-Mmm Better Brownies from allrecipes
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional) We never add nuts around here…we are nutty enough as it is! Oh…and we don’t like the crunchy texture in baked goods.
Mix oil, sugar and vanilla, beat in eggs. Combine dry ingredients and stir into egg mixture until blended. Stir in nuts. No need for a mixer! Bake at 350° in a greased 9×9 pan for about 20 minutes.
To make these into spiffy Valentine’s hearts, line pan with parchement paper. After they come out of the oven pull them out of the pan and let cool on a rack. Cut with a heart cookie cutter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost or decorate however your heart desires. Buh dum psh…pun intented!
As a side note, you can healthify these by using unsweetened applesauce or pureed prunes (baby food works well) in place of the oil. It does change the texture a little, but we still like them around here.
EDIT: So my men requested a sweet treat for their outing tomorrow and I decided to whip these up and cook them while we were eating dinner tonight. They turned out very tasty! By the way, I did not use any parchment and just cut them straight in the pan and had no trouble at all getting them out.