In the whirlwind of the everyday, the mind can barely find a little window to think beyond the menial tasks piled up on one’s head. There’s not a minute to spare for heeding the murmur of the imp of the perverse, urging one to reach for that piece of candy..or scoop out a some ice cream in the middle of the day. The luxuries are few and far between, even if they only orbit around the littlest of things, like perhaps sitting by the window, shuffling up bittersweet memories of yesteryears..or just looking in the mirror and smiling a little..or just closing one’s eyes to take in a joyful moment. And then a day like February 14 comes along, bearing hopeful promises wrapped in red ribbons and sprinkled with pink confetti. But it doesn’t take a pince-nez to see, even from a hazy distance, that the ribbons and confetti constitute an extravaganza that is strictly meant for one’s sweethearts, both big and small, and both inside and outside the confines of home. Of course it is implicit, unless specified by said sweethearts, that the extravaganza will be fashioned by one, leaving nothing but traces of soft confetti curls adorning one’s head, and perhaps a jagged-edged piece of sellotape lodged in the ridges of one’s elbow.
Once the tiers of the sponge cake, the hubby’s favorite that in one’s own world is, well..rather vanilla, have been conjoined with fruity fillings and drizzled with a simplified ganache, ready for the after-dinner surprise time..and the sugar cookies frosted with pink and red buttercream, have been sent off to the little one’s class party..a whiff of an idea floats by, tickling one’s suddenly alert senses, like a Dylan-esque answer to the mundaneness, blowing in the wind. Taking a cue from this instance, one happily submits to the moment, thinking hedonistic thoughts for a change, and lining up the perfect bunch of ingredients that will produce quick-setting, candy-coated results..while the devil on the shoulders breaks into a slowdance, sending a signal snaking down to one’s own two-left-feet, to follow suit. Of course, one takes note, while whipping up the two-good goodies, one’s brownie points were truly well-deserved..
Nutella Brownie Sandwiches
(Makes 12 sandwiches)
- 1 Box Brownie Mix (We used Duncan Hines Chewy Fudge Mix)
- 2 Eggs, at room temperature
- 1/3 Cup neutral tasting oil
- 3 Tablespoons water
- 1 Cup chocolate chips, optional
- Creamy Nutella Filling (recipe follows)
- Sprinkles, colored sugar or confectioners sugar for decoration
Prepare 2 large cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper. Draw 3″ hearts on the paper, about 2″ apart. You will need 24 hearts, but you can bake them in 2-3 batches.
Mix all the ingredients except for the filling in a large bowl and stir a few times until well mixed. The batter should be thick but loose enough to be piped out. Transfer some of the batter to a piping bag with a large opening. You do not need to use an icing tip. Pipe out the brownie batter in heart shapes on the prepared cookie sheet. Dip your finger in a bowl of water and pat down the hearts if needed. Bake for about 13 minutes or until set. Cool for 2 minutes on the sheet and then carefully transfer to a cooling rack.
Once the cookies are cool, sandwich the hearts together using dollops of the Nutella filling. Dip the edges in sprinkles or colored sugar, or dust daintily with confectioners sugar.
Creamy Nutella Filling
- 1 Cup Nutella
- ¼ Cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 Cups confectioners/icing sugar
- 1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- A pinch of salt
- 2-3 Tablespoons milk
Cream the Nutella and butter together using an electric mixer, until fluffy. Beat in a cup of the sugar. Add the vanilla and salt to the bowl. Continue mixing in the rest of the sugar, along with tablespoons of milk until the filling is thick and creamy.