13 February 09 • MAV

My only New Years resolution this year was as follows: Give More Love. I have often felt that I have more love to give. It is certainly not that I am critical of the love I have been giving, it’s simply that I feel I have more. I was so happy then that we scheduled the 3191 Miles Apart launch right on St Valentine’s Day weekend. It’s no secret to those who know me well that I am not usually a Valentine’s Day celebrant but this year it’s time to forget the past. This year I am Giving More Love and what a better time than these days of LOVE to give it a true spirited start?

Love, for me, happens to be this hairdo. Love also happens to be tartan plaids and tweeds. Love also happens to be tucking a sweet little bag into your everyday bag for grocery runs. And perhaps naturally love also happens to be sweets!

My celebrations always start with baking something special and this time I went with the most simple (and one of favorite) of sugary recipes: chocolate brownies. I like basic recipes with straightforward instructions and ingredients. For this project ease was also imperative because although I did want to Give Love, it was also a work-day!

Chocolate Brownies
slightly adapted from the Tartine cookbook

170 grams butter (around 3/4 cup)
450 grams bittersweet chocolate (around 1 pound)
130 grams light whole wheat flour (just over 3/4 cup)
5 eggs, room temperature
340 grams light muscovado sugar (around 1-1/2 cups)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Note: you can use all purpose flour and regular brown sugar.

Oven: 350º F / 180º C
Butter: 9 x 13 inch pan or 13 x 18 inch jelly roll pan if you’re doing cutouts

Melt butter over low heat. Remove and add chocolate pieces and stir until melted (bring back to low heat if not completely melted on its own). Set aside to cool. Sift flour, set aside. I know you might not be a sifter but it’s worth it, trust me.

Use a mixer and beat the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla on the highest setting for 5 minutes. At the end the mixture should be light in color and you will spot lots of sweet little air bubbles in the batter.

Using a spatula, gently fold in the cooled chocolate and then gently fold in the flour. Do not over-mix, just take your time folding. Gentle is key here.

Pour batter into your prepared pan and smooth the top with your spatula. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is slightly cracked. Keep a close eye because these are better under-baked than over-baked. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes and then slowly cut out your shapes or just cut and serve warm. These are great with vanilla ice cream!

Voila! Chocolate brownie hearts. Typical, perhaps, but I truly think when adults are given a heart-shaped anything it swells their own hearts just like when they were little. So this little measure of Giving Love took me just over an hour tops. Once I had the hearts cut out (in two sizes) I used parchment paper and twine to wrap them and just some paper I had around the house to write simple notes to my family/friends … then I made some quick (and secret) drop offs in mailboxes around town.

So far, I am really enjoying Giving More Love (and I got to have the chocolate scraps). I say, bring on the next chance, please!!