1. Red Velvet Chocolate-Swirled Brownie Bars
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- heaping 1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
- red food coloring, or as needed
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- pinch salt, optional and to taste
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- reheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
- Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
- Add the cocoa and whisk until smooth.
- Add the red food coloring and whisk to incorporate. I used 2 vials of red food coloring. I had to buy two sets of gel food coloring (red, blue, green, yellow) for the two reds I needed. Use any type of food coloring you like; you’ll need a lot of it because it takes a lot to turn a chocolaty batter red. Keep adding until desired shade is obtained.Add the flour, optional salt, and stir until just combined; don’t overmix.
- Add the flour, optional salt, and stir until just combined; don’t overmix.
- Turn batter out into prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula; set aside.
- In a small, microwave-safe bowl melt the chocolate chips, about 1 minute on high power. Stop to check and stir. Heat in 10-second bursts until chocolate can be stirred smooth.
- Drizzle the chocolate over the pan and swirl lightly with the tip of a table knife or a toothpick. To create the pattern shown, drizzle chocolate over batter in 5 wide, evenly spaced, parallel lines, each spanning the length of the pan. Like 5 rows of long train tracks. Rotate pan 90-degrees. With a toothpick, starting at the top of the pan, “draw” 5 evenly spaced lines through the chocolate. You’re dragging the toothpick perpendicularly through the first set of lines to create the swirling.
- Bake for about 28 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving; however, for optimal results, cool overnight so the chocolate has a chance to fully set up fully. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
2. No Bake Chocolate Strawberry Pie
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 ounce bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 7 ounces chocolate wafer cookies (about 30 cookies)
- 1 pint strawberries, trimmed and halved
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 6 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 tablespoon bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Lightly spray a 9-inch pie dish with nonstick spray. Place the butter and chopped chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, heat on high for 30 seconds or until just melted. Stir until smooth. Finely grind cookies in processor. Add chocolate mixture and process until crumbs are evenly moistened. Press crumb mixture into prepared pie dish. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Arrange strawberry halves in a single layer in the bottom of the crust.
- For filling, whisk sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, spices, and salt in heavy medium saucepan to combine. Whisk in egg yolks to form thick paste. Gradually whisk in milk, then whisk over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and boils 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in bourbon and vanilla. Cool 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Pour filling over strawberries until level with the top edge of the crust (you may not use all the filling). Chill until set, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Top with fresh whipped cream and more strawberries, if desired.
3. Slice n’ Bake Valentine Heart Cookies
- 3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 sticks butter, cold & cut into chunks
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons liquid red food coloring
- In a small bowl stir flour and baking powder together. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar together. Stir in egg, extracts and vanilla. Slowly incorporate dry ingredients. Once dough has come together, remove 2/3 of it to a separate bowl. Stir in the red food coloring to the remaining 1/3 of the dough until uniform in color.
- Roll red dough out into a 1 inch slab. Cut out heart shapes and stack them together.
- Roll remaining regular colored dough out and cover each row of stacked hearts being careful to keep them together. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and set aside. Remove cookie dough logs from fridge and slice into 1/2 inch rounds. Place onto prepared baking sheet leaving 1 inch around each cookie. Bake 8-10 minutes or until cookie is barely golden brown on the bottom and isn’t shiny. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes before cooling completely on wire rack.
- Serve immediately or store in airtight containers for up to 3 days.