This is an easy Valentine Brownie Bouquet designed for a special someone Valentine dinner or a party with favorite friends.
This is a case when I’m planning the party and don’t have a lot of time to make a special dessert…when I want a special dessert. In a case like this I’m not afraid to use a good quality brownie box mix when I'm limited on time. It’s a quick mix and bake. Plus, it gives me more time for decorating these delish brownies and designing a special Valentine Brownie Bouquet.
This is probably one of the easiest ways to bake fool proof brownies. At the grocery store I grabbed one of my favorite brownie box mixes...Ghirardelli because it’s chocked full of full chocolate flavors. All I had to add was an egg, some oil and water. For good measure, I stirred in a half cup
of Ghirardelli chocolate chips at the end. I like to double up on chocolate flavors whenever I can, especially for a special holiday like Valentine’s Day. The layers of flavors are delicious.
This serves up a Valentine Brownie Bouquet with 4-8 blossoms, depending on how creatively you slice it and what sizes you are planning.
Prep your baking pan:
-Lightly butter brush my 8”x 8” square baking pan on the bottom and all four sides.
-Even though mine is a non-stick pan, I still layer parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, cutting it so the two layers overlapped each other and run extra paper up all four sides. The overlap of parchment paper lets you grab the ends of the paper to easily lift the big brownie out after it’s cooled. Then you can decorate and cut it in special shapes if you like.
Gather up your Ingredients according to the box directions:
1 Box Brownie mix
Egg, water, oil
½ C Chocolate chips, semi-sweet
Make and Bake:
-Preheat oven according to the package directions.
-Add and mix the ingredients according to the box directions.
-Stir in the chocolate chips.
-Pour batter into prepared pan.
-Bake for the allotted time in the preheated oven.
-Test for doneness. I normally check it about 3-5 minutes before the timer goes off, using the clean toothpick method. -Stick the toothpick in the brownie about 2 inches from one of the edges. If it comes out fairly clean, it’s done and time to take it out of the oven. It’s important NOT to overbake.
-Let the brownie cool in the pan for about one hour. Then I place the pan and big brownie, well wrapped, in the refrigerator until I’m ready to decorate. Sometimes I even bake ahead and freeze for a few days until I’m ready to decorate. Hopefully, no one will spot it and snitch any of the delicious chocolatey treat.
Planning to frost and decorate your bouquet of brownie flowers:
-On the day I plan to frost and decorate the brownies, I’ve already come up with a plan. Should I just frost and decorate the brownies in the pan? Should I pull out the entire big brownie and set it on a cake board, then frost and decorate? Or, should I cut out some Valentine shapes to set on a board and frost? Or glaze with a decadent dark ganache?
-Well, this time I plan to make a bouquet of brownie flowers on a cake board. After taking the brownie pan out of the freezer and letting it soften up for a few minutes, I’ll cut out some Valentine hearts. I decided to cut out my own hearts from a light stock cardboard or even from used greeting cards. Setting the brownie hearts onto a rack, I’ll set them back into the refrigerator while I make my ganache. I’ll make a thinner ganache so the coating floods over the top of each heart shape and drapes down the sides. Then, it’s back into the refrigerator so the ganache can set up a little. I like the ganache to solidify a bit so the decorations don’t slide around. If it doesn't look like it'll flow loosely, heat it up in the microwave for a few seconds.
-Pour the ganache on top of the hearts and smooth off the edges with a flat offset spatula. Cool in the refrigerator before piping any frosting on it.
-Now, it’s on to making the frosting. Of course, since Valentine’s Day is a decadent day for chocolate, I’ll be making a dark chocolate ganache frosting for piping on top of the ganache. Take some of your cooled chocolate ganache whip it with the electric hand mixer. It will come out fluffy and delicious. Stuff it into a piping bag with a favorite star tip and pipe away for edging or flowers in the center of the heart. Or, use special sprinkles in the center.
-Then the garnishes will be added. I’m sure DOVE heart shaped chocolates would be happy to settle into some of the delicious piped dark chocolate frosting.
-To make the two-dimensional bouquet, I’ll set the Valentine shapes on the cake board first. Part of the planning is to figure out how the hearts will appear as a bouquet. Then there are the stems and leaves for the bouquet. Pipe those on with curls and swirls. Will I have a “ribbon” to gather the stems? Or should I leave them lose like a bouquet in a box? It's up to you how you want to arrange your bouquet.
-I like my stems rustic looking with the heart piping the same way. It lends a little to the thorns on real rose bushes, and you can eat these with no problem!
-I keep the brownies on the counter in an loosely covered container. Or, on a serving platter with plastic wrap over it for about 1-3 days.
-Refrigerate this for up to 5 days, frosted and decorated. It never lasts too long in my house because it's so good.
-Bake and seal in an airtight container for the freezer. I freeze up to a month ahead. Then thaw on the counter, frost and decorate.
Have fun with this Valentine Brownie Bouquet, cutting shapes, draping all the brownie pieces with warm chocolate ganache and setting the bouquet design. However you end up decorating your Valentine Brown Bouquet, “Bake your own Memories!”