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Valentine’s Day snuck up. It really did.

Despite my intentions to bake up a luscious treat, it came to be 2 o’clock on Tuesday with no ingredients bought and no plan on the agenda. It probably had something to do with the fact that I had an impromptu cookie baking session on Friday and consumed practically an entire batch on my own, thus deciding I should probably nick the whole epic Valentine’s Day treat.

BUT, how would that be right??!! It just wouldn’t!

Accordingly, I decided I’d scrounge something up, no matter what. And by scrounge, I mean no trip to the store – using only what I had on hand. I’ll admit I felt like I was settling a bit, but flash forward to the end and I’ll tell you the dessert was definitely not settling. Not one bit.

Sorry for the lack of quality photos…I snapped these quickly in some pretty poor lighting.

I first was inspired by these brownies. I borrowed the idea of cutting out the center of a brownie with a cookie cutter and then filling it with something; however, I didn’t use that particular recipe. Those just got my creative juices flowing! :)

I baked up a simple, straight-forward brownie recipe with a few dark chocolate chips and white chocolate chips that I had on hand (recipe based off one from AllRecipes, but changed). Remember, I didn’t buy ingredients, so upon seeing a few left over chips from previous baking projects, I decided they would add a nice touch.

While they baked up, I whipped up – drum roll please………..that Cookie Dough Frosting I told you about! Now, I’m sure you’re all eager to hear the verdict on the frosting. I should start by saying you literally start by mixing up some cookie dough (sans a few typical ingredients) and then add it to a simple confectioner’s sugar based frosting. I am not a huge fan of frosting, so I was a tad bit disappointed that the completed frosting had more of that frosting taste than I personally would have liked. Even though it clearly is a frosting recipe, somehow I was imagining foregoing that typical flavor. Despite this slight disappointment, it still was delicious. I definitely stole my fair share of fingerfuls out of the bowl! :)

After chilling the brownies in the freezer, I used a pretty large heart shaped cookie cutter to cut two giant hearts. Then, I placed those hearts on my serving plates. Using a much smaller heart cookie cutter, I cut out hearts in the center of each giant heart shaped brownie. I filled each heart “hole” with a hefty amount of cookie dough frosting, and then sat the small cut-out heart on top of the filling. To finish, I lightly sprinkled powder sugar over the entire dessert.

Brownie pre-powdered sugar and cut-out topping, but post “filling” them with frosting.

I bake often; thus, it takes quite a bit to impress my family in the dessert department.

But let me tell you something…my family raved about these!

Even though there’s quite a few days weeks months nearly a year until next Valentine’s Day, I urge you to try this recipe out before then! After all, who doesn’t love a good, not to mention cute dessert any day of the year?! And, of course, you could always make them a different shape, too!

Rich Heart Brownies with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Frosting Center

using the cookie cutters i used: makes 2 giant brownies with many scraps and a bit of extra frosting which can be used on some of the scraps (note: one giant brownie is equivalent to one indulgent serving, or 2 or 3 smaller portions. i won’t judge. oh, and double the frosting recipe if you want more for the [delicious] brownie scraps.)

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For the brownies (adapted from AllRecipes):

1 cup butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 eggs, room temperature

1 generous cup flour (don’t level if off completely)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips*

1/3 cup white chocolate chips*

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a casserole dish or other large heat proof bowl, melt the butter. Add the sugars and mix until combined. Add the cocoa powder. Make sure your mixture isn’t too hot anymore, and then add the eggs and vanilla. Fold in the flour, baking powder, and salt until just combined.

Pour the batter into a prepared 13-in-by-9-in pan. Bake for around 20-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted a couple inches from the edge of the pan comes out nearly clean. Don’t overbake! At this point, you can get started on the cookie dough frosting filling.

Let cool completely. If needed, speed up the process by putting the brownies in the fridge or freezer. No matter what, freeze the brownies until no soft spots remain before carrying on.

*I actually didn’t measure these out…just threw some in. I’m just guessing with these measurements…so feel free to adjust to taste!

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For the cookie dough frosting filling (from Always With Butter):

Mixture 1:

1/8 cup butter, room temperature

1/8 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon water

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

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Mixture 2:

3/8 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 tablespoon milk.

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For mixture 1: Cream the butter and sugar until sufficiently combined and fluffy. Add in the water and vanilla, then the flour and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips.

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For mixture 2: Mix the powdered sugar, butter, salt, vanilla, and milk until combined. Add in mixture 1 to mixture 2 and stir to combine.

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To assemble:

Take your giant cookie cutter and cut out two hearts from the chilled brownies in the pan. You may have to cut away some of the scraps to get a spatula under the brownies in order to transfer them to your serving plates.

Take your small cookie cutter and cut out a heart in the center of each of your giant heart brownies. Set the cut-outs aside.

Fill each heart “hole” with cookie dough frosting. Lean the heart cut-out on top of the frosting center.

Using a sieve, top the entire dessert with a light sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

Should there be any leftovers, refrigerate them.

P.S. Hope to be back soon with some fashion week musings!

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