My whole life people have asked if I was born on Valentine’s Day.
Then they ask if I’m Italian.
My parents just liked the name Valentina.
Could my name be the reason that I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day?
I thought Valentine’s Day was so fun when I was little – exchanging little heart-shaped cards with friends and eating sweetheart treats.And as an adult, it never mattered if I was single or not on this day of love. I still always looked forward to it!
I don’t know why, really — it’s sort of silly to have a designated day to celebrate love, right? We should celebrate love every day! After all, my favorite time to get a surprise bundle of beautiful flowers from my husband is on an ordinary day, not a holiday.
Hearts should always be full of love.
And possibly also full of chocolate. Or in this case Nutella!So, spread a little love around on Valentine’s Day — and everyday — with these super cute, super delicious Nutella Brownies!
- About 1 teaspoon melted butter for the pan
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1-1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons Nutella
- ⅓ cup cocoa powder, sifted (I love Scharffen Berger)
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F and grease one or two non-stick mini-muffin pans with the butter, or use small cupcake papers. (My mini-muffin pan has 2 dozen spaces, and each is about ¾-inch deep with a 2-inch diameter.)
- Separate the eggs placing the whites in a medium-sized mixing bowl, and the yolks to another.
- Add the Nutella and cocoa powder to the egg yolks and mix until it's evenly blended. Set aside.
- Now, use the whisk attachment on an electric mixer, on a medium-high speed to whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes. (You can also use a hand whisk -- it will just take a bit more time and energy.)
- Fold the whipped whites into the Nutella mixture until they are fully incorporated.
- Then add the batter into the prepared pans, filling each space about ¾ full. This is easily accomplished with a small cookie scoop (a 1-1/4-inch scoop is the perfect size.)
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 minutes. They will have a crackled surface, and will rise a little above the surface of the pan. They will fall down a bit after they are out of the oven. Let them cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes.
- If you haven't used cupcake papers, use a small knife to go along the edges of each brownie to loosen it. Then they should pop out easily.
- Use a small heart shaped cookie cutter, or a paring knife to cut out a small heart on top of each brownie. (I use a heart cutter that's ¾-inch wide at the top.) DO NOT push the cutter all the way to the bottom of the brownie -- about half way is perfect. Once the cutter is in the brownie, gently wiggle it as you pull it up. This will pull out a bit of the brownie in a little heart shape, and will only work if the brownies are not too warm. If you use a knife, once you shape the heart, use the tip of the knife to remove a bit of the brownie. (Save these cute brownie hearts to eat!)
- Place the remaining 3 tablespoons of Nutella in a small zip-lock bag and cut a tiny bit off of one of its bottom corners. Then, holding the tip close to the bottom of each hollowed out heart, squeeze gently to fill it up.
- Place each brownie in a cute cupcake paper!
For an easier route, and if your making these for an occasion other than Valentine's Day, simply spread a thin layer of Nutella on top. (If you made them, they're full of love either way!)
You can also make these brownies in an 8 x 8 x 2-inch baking dish. The baking time will be longer, maybe 20 minutes or so. Let them cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting them into squares and serving.
1 hour ahead: Make the batter and bake the brownies.
At least 20 minutes ahead: Cut out the hearts and fill them up!
These can be made 1 day ahead, too. And you can freeze the baked brownies for a couple of weeks, wrapped tightly in plastic. When I do this, I like to warm them in the oven just before serving. Freezing them might be more successful without the Nutella filled heart — do this after you defrost them.