Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Chocolate Mocha Sweethearts

I'm planning to make Chocolate Mocha Sweethearts tomorrow night to take to the office on Valentine's Day (so if you know my co-workers . . . shhhh . . . don't ruin their surprise!). I've had this recipe for a few years (long enough to forget where it originated), and seem to make it only on Valentine's Day each year. I'm not sure why . . . they could easily become "Chocolate Mocha Stars" or "Chocolate Mocha Leaves" or even just "Chocolate Mocha Squares."

I'm also going to make some for my friend Amanda, because I messed up our plan to go to Chocolate Night at the Busy Bistro tonight. We went last year, with our friend Amy, and it was absolutely incredible. Every part of the meal included chocolate - the salad, the entree, and the seemingly endless desserts . . . it was heaven . . . but I haven't been feeling well so I stayed home and made homemade chicken noodle soup instead. Maybe I'll host my own chocolate night sometime this spring since we didn't get to go. It would be a daunting task to try to make it as good as Busy Bistro's, but if I don't try, even though I'm sure I'll be feeling better . . . I'm still going to feel bad about causing us to miss the big event.

I'll post pictures in a few days, but thought I'd post the recipe in case you'd like to make them for your sweetheart this Valentine's Day.

Chocolate Mocha Sweethearts
4 squares unsweetened chocolate (such as Baker's) (4 oz. total, if substituting another brand)
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs (room temperature)*
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 cup instant coffee granules
6 squares semi-sweet chocolate, melted (such as Baker's) (6 oz. total)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (325 if using a glass baking dish). Line 9x13 pan with foil; grease foil.
2. Melt unsweetened chocolate and butter together in double boiler (or microwave . . . about 2 minutes on medium power in a large bowl . . . stir until chocolate is completely melted).
3. Stir in sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add coffee and flour; stir until well blended.
4. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out with fudgy crumbs. Do not overbake. Cool in pan.
5. Remove foil & brownies from pan. Cut into heart shape (with a cookie cutter**); dip top of each heart into melted chocolate. You might need to refrigerate the hearts until the chocolate has set.

* Tip: to bring eggs to room temperature, immerse them in a bowl of warm - not hot - water for 5-10 minutes.

I rely on this tip often - I can never remember to get the eggs out in advance . . . and the one time I did remember, the eggs rolled off the counter and busted on the floor . . .

** Another tip: freeze the brownie scraps leftover from cutting out hearts in a freezer-type storage bag. Use later for snacking or stir into ice cream.

Post script: I found the original recipe on kraftfoods.com - complete with nutritional information . . . and guess what? They're really not as bad for you as you might think (plus chocolate has heart-healthy antioxidants)! Based on the recipe making 17 total servings (two 1.5 inch hearts are one serving), a serving yields 160 calories, 9 g fat, 1 g fiber, and 4 points. The original recipe also calls for 1/2 cup suisse mocha mix (instead of 1/4 cup instant coffee), which would probably result in a milder, slightly sweeter brownie. If you don't like coffee, you could reduce the coffee flavor by using the mocha mix instead, or by further reducing the amount of instant coffee granules (down to 1 tbsp.). Whatever you do, don't substitute 1/2 cup instant coffee granules for 1/2 cup mocha mix - that will result in brownies with a strong (slightly bitter) coffee taste.

No comments: