Stay Home Fabulously For Valentines And A Bake To Melt Many A Heart
How do you feel about staying at home this Valentine’s Day? Personally, I am all for it. Not because I don’t like to celebrate but precisely because I do. [After all, this was the day I received my marriage proposal😊]
The thing about going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day is that I find it a bit of an awkward construct to be sitting with any number of other unknown diners sort of celebrating the same thing. For me, staying home fabulously is somehow the smarter, more meaningful option… as long as there is chocolate!
A sense of occasion is vital and how better to not feel drab indoors than by wearing some fabulous jewellery?! Earrings and necklaces are the best high vis options for dinner dates, be they via Zoom or in person, since they frame the face. For full-on feminine glamour, I love our Pink Givenchy earrings and for a more subtle and sweet look, our Chanel necklace speaks from the heart.
Just before lockdown, I added the Dior Étoile Danseuse Choker to the BagButler collection and we literally all want to wear it all the time! I like to think this could also be a piece worn by many for a very long period of time.
Staying firmly with the full-on heart theme we also have these incredible matching pieces from Chanel.
I did mention chocolate as a Valentine essential and so here I offer you my recipe for the perfect way into any chocoholic’s heart.
The BagButler Brownie
- A rectangular baking tin 20 x 30 x 3cm approx. Mine has a removable bottom. This needs to be carefully lined if you want neat corners, as I do.
- 200g of dark (as you dare) chocolate which has been broken into small pieces. (For preference I use Lindt 85% but, in an emergency, will use chocolate rabbits, reindeer or teddies)
- 200g of butter.
- 3 large eggs
- 300g of granulated sugar. (I find this gives the best texture).
- 1 teaspoon of instant coffee
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- 125g of plain all-purpose flour
- Optional extras include crunchy peanut butter, walnuts, After Eight mints or large white chocolate buttons.
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees fan or the equivalent.
- Start melting the butter and then add in the chocolate pieces and stir together to fully melt. Stir in the salt and allow to cool slightly. This step is conventionally done in a bowl over a pan of simmering water but I tend to just use a saucepan on low heat. By getting the butter melting first I avoid any issues with the chocolate overheating.
- In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk the eggs, sugar and coffee so that the mixture looks really thick, creamy and voluminous.
- Slowly pour the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and combine. Folding gently is good but not essential as I use my hand whisk on its lowest setting.
- Now add the flour and mix in until it cannot be seen.
- If you are going for an optional extra, pour and spread half the chocolate mixture into the cake tin and then add, in a single layer, your choice of filling. In the case of the peanut butter just put a small dollop into each portion-sized section. Cover with the remaining mixture and spread out gently using a pallet knife. If you aren’t using a filling then just scrape the whole mixture into the tin.
- Place into the preheated oven and cook for between 20 and 25 mins. You are looking for a crack to start forming around the edge but for the middle to still be a bit gooey. This does depend a little on whether you have used a filling and a lot on your oven. For me, the perfect Brownie is achieved after 23 minutes. Bear in mind that the bake will continue to cook a little when it comes out of the oven.
- Allow to cool in the tin a little before cutting into portions.
Eaten warm or cold these are delicious and as a bonus they freeze brilliantly. In my opinion the texture actually improves when frozen and then gently warmed to serve.