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Get your sweet side out this Valentine’s

Rich chocolate brownies

Ingredients
1 packet dark cocoa chocolate (350g, divided)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 tbsp wine (Cabernet Sauvignon, divided)
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
1¼ cups dark brown sugar (firmly packed)
1¼ cups cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1¼ cups all-purpose flour

Method

Step 1

Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray 13in. x 9in. pan with vegetable pan spray. Measure out half cup dark cocoa and set aside.

Step 2

In a large saucepan, cook one cup of wine over medium-high heat until it reduces to three tablespoons, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium low and add butter, brown sugar, cocoa powder and salt, stirring occasionally until completely liquid and very warm to the touch. Remove saucepan from heat. Quickly add eggs and vanilla and whisk until combined. Add larger portion of candy and stir until completely melted. Add flour and stir until batter is very shiny and combined. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 24-26 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre of pan comes out clean.

Step 3

Let cool completely in pan on cooling grid, then use heart cookie cutter to cut out shapes.

Step 4

When ready to serve, combine remaining half  cup dark cocoa and remaining two tablespoons wine in a microwave-safe container. Microwave at half (50 per cent) power one minute or until candy is melted. Whisk candy mixture until smooth and serve warm sauce drizzled over brownies.

Chocolate-covered strawberry muffins

Ingredients
6 oz. dark cocoa chocolate
White sprinkles (optional)
Gold sugar pearls (optional)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
⅔ cup sour cream
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries (plus additional whole strawberries for garnish)
½ cup solid vegetable shortening
½ cup butter (1 stick)
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (about 450g)

Step 1

Preheat oven 180°C. Prepare muffin pans with baking cups.

Step 2

In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

Step 3

In large bowl, beat sugar and oil with electric mixer until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add vanilla; mix well. Add flour mixture alternately with sour cream, mixing until just combined. Divide batter among prepared pans, filling about half full.

Step 4

Bake 16-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in pans for five minutes. Remove to cooling grid; cool completely.

Step 5

For icing, puree strawberries in food processor. Strain puree, discarding seeds (½ cup puree should remain). Discard solids.

Step 6

In large bowl, beat shortening and butter with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Slowly add puree; beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Pipe or spread icing onto cupcakes. Top with sprinkles, if desired.

Step 7

For garnish, melt dark cocoa according to package directions. Dip 24 strawberries and place on parchment paper. Drizzle dipped strawberries with remaining melted candy and chill until candy sets. Top cupcakes with dipped strawberries immediately before serving.

Recipes courtesy of wilton.com

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