Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Chocolate Box Brownie

This year I wanted to surprise my wonderful husband with something. I saw a similar idea to this a while back on Bakerella's site, and decided that with a few tweeks, this would be perfect for him. Here is how I did it:

I started off by making some red modeling chocolate out of a bag of red Wilton candy melts and corn syrup. It is super easy to make and great to work with. I decided to do this instead of using red fondant as directed in Bakerella's instructions because I can make it myself for cheap, and get a really rich red color. I also haven't found a good recipe yet to make homemade red fondant that is really red, and I hate spending so much on a little amount of fondant at the store. You can find the recipe at the end of the post.

I rolled out my red modeling chocolate about 1/8" in thickness and cut one heart the size of my heart cake pan, and one about 1/2" larger around. The easiest way to do this is roll it out on wax paper, then trace the heart on another piece of wax paper in both sizes needed, cut out the heart, lay it on the modeling chocolate, then use a knife to cut it out.

This can be done a few days in advance, and left on the wax paper until needed.

You then need to bake your cake in the heart pan--whatever flavor you want--or if your husband doesn't like cake you can do as I did and bake . . .

a yummy heart shaped brownie. Delicious. Level it off and place it on top of the larger modeling chocolate heart. Now if that doesn't look good enough, just wait . . .

Yes. Ganache. Everything tastes better with ganache. I made up a batch to act as my icing to glue things together. You can use frosting if you want, but nothing is much better than some rich ganache.

Carefully spread it over the top and sides of the brownie. The sides can be a wee bit tricky, so do those especially carefully. It doesn't require a lot of ganache, so if you are like me and make a full batch, you may have a lot left over. Put it to some good use. I recommend microwaved smores with a layer of it as your chocolate. Mmmmm.

Next place the smaller red heart on top. The ganche will help it stick to the brownie.

For the sides of the box, roll out the rest of the modeling chocolate into a long strip.

Cut a band long enough to wrap around the entire brownie, and wide enough so that it sits up about 1/2" higher than the box. Then starting at the top center of the heart wrap the piece around the entire box and cut off the excess. The seam smooths together quite well with the modeling chocolate.

And there you have a completely edible Valentine's box. Now what to fill it with? . . .

Well, I decided that if it was going to be for my husband, it would have to be one thing--chocolate covered strawberries. His favorite. These are quick to make. Just a bunch of washed and dried strawberries (really dried--we don't want any water ruining our chocolate), and some more candy melts--this time white and cocoa colored. Melt them according to the pkg. instructions and dip away. Once they've hardened you can decorate with the other color. I found that an easy way to do this is pour the chocolate into a ziploc bag, seal, and snip a TINY hole in one of the corners. Then all you do is squeeze while moving you hand back and forth.

Oops. That one in the center got a little too much . . . I might have done that on purpose. I mean really--I can't just let my messups go to waste.

Fill the box with the best ones. Do what you like with the rest. That shouldn't take too much imagination :)

A Valentine's treat sure to put a smile on his face.

Well, we had a great Valentine's Day. My 2 year old wanted to make something for daddy too, so we used up the rest of the brownie batter to make a small brownie heart that we covered in lots of ganache, and she went to town on decorating.

Isn't her creation beautiful? She had a blast decorating it, and her daddy LOVED it.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Modeling chocolate recipe:

1 140z pkg wilton candy melts
1/3 cup light corn syrup

Melt the candy melts according to pkg instructions. When all melted stir in corn syrup and stir until all incorporated. Turn out onto some wax paper and let set up for a couple hours, then wrap in saran wrap and store at room temp until needed. Usually works better if you make it up at least a day before hand.

When ready to use it start kneading it until it is smooth and can be rolled out. It may be pretty hard at first so you might need to knead a little at a time until it is pliable and easy to use. Sprinkling a little cornstarch on your surface will help prevent it from sticking. I like to roll it out on wax paper for that purpose too.

It can be stored for several weeks at room temp.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I got to do a Tangled/Rapunzel themed cake this week for a friend's daughter who was turning 4. I have to say, I had a lot of fun making this cake. I got to try a few new techniques that I have been wanting to do, and had fun learning as I went along.

What would a Rapunzel cake be without the tower? I molded this tower out of rice krispy treats, and covered it in modeling chocolate. I heard on Cake Boss one time that modeling chocolate is definitely something good to have in your "arsenal of cake decorating methods"--and now I see why. It is easy to smooth out seams when covering something, and is great for molding shapes and objects.

This was my favorite part of the cake--the quaint rock bridge--also made out of modeling chocolate. Can I have one in my backyard? Blue piping gel over a blue piece of fondant made a very real looking river.

The cascade of hair was fondant with gumtex. I put some wire in it to give it a little more structure. I tried texturing it a little with a razor blade to make it seem a little more like hair, then brushed it with some gold luster dust.
The trees were also a modeling chocolate experiment. It worked. I just wish I would have thought earlier to make a little "Wanted" poster for Flynn Rider to stick on one of them.
A few final touches with some candy rocks, piped grass, and fondant flowers made it a fairy tale ending.