After pastry school many years ago, I sort of went nuts buying heart-shaped pans and around Valentine’s Day these pans come in real handy. I own everything from mini-muffin heart-shaped pans, to larger 9-inch cake pans. I even own some heart-shaped chocolate molds for truffles, that I need to put to good use right about now. I still find these heart-shaped pans so charming to bake with, even after all of these years, and they make me smile a little deeper every time I use them.
A giant fudgy brownie has given me a little inspiration to whip out one of my pans and whether its Valentine’s Day around the corner or not, you’re going to want one. This brownie isn’t like just any brownie. For starters, it has praline that is baked on top and crunchy pecans that give it southern charm. Let’s just say, it tastes like the pralines of New Orleans, but with a big dose of chocolate underneath. I think the scale of it adds to its marvelousness. There’s something so satisfying about carving off a hunk of a heart-shaped brownie with pecans gently rolling off the sides.
I used a 9-inch heart-shaped pan, but if you don’t want to invest in this sort of thing, you can always use a round 9-inch cake pan. It won’t change the flavors a bit, and you’ll still end up with the tastiest brownie on the block.
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks, or chips
1 cup toasted pecans, divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray pan with cooking spray or brush with oil, set aside.
- In a saucepan, add granulated sugar and 1/3 cup water. Place over medium-high heat and leave alone to boil. When sugar begins to turn golden, turn off heat and swirl gently, until deep golden brown. Remove from heat and add cream and whisk. Add butter, and stir until smooth. Place over simmer or low heat to keep warm, while you prepare brownie.
- Add unsweetened chocolate to a microwave safe bowl, heat for 1 minute, stir. Repeat once more, stir until smooth. Cool.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Make a well in the center and add eggs and sugar, whisk to incorporate. Add melted butter and vanilla, stir until smooth. Add melted cooled chocolate, stir. Fold in chocolate chips and half of pecans. Pour into prepared pan and smooth out on top.
- Using a whisk, drizzle praline mixture over brownie, you may have a little leftover. Bake in oven for 22-25 minutes until set. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining pecans. Cool completely before removing from pan. Enjoy!