I’m one of those people who likes Valentine’s Day more than I should admit. While feigning apathy and even disdain for this so-called Hallmark Holiday, I secretly love the idea that there is one random night every year where you are justified in splurging on a date night dinner, even when the remaning 364(ish) days of the year are spent with dinner plates on your lap while watching T.V. on the couch (not that I’m thinking of any particular couple here…)
Gennaro has always had a knack for the sweet but not gushy or sentimental. He has also, at times (ok, only once), had a knack for shooting himself in the foot when it comes to V-day plans. A fews years ago — my first Valentine’s Day living out in New York — he made reservations at a new “it” spot in the West Village. It was overpriced and underportioned, and we both left hungry and one of us left a few hundred dollars poorer. All in the name of love!
The following year was more successful, to say the least, and illustrated what has always been quite clear about the man I married: he gets me. Around 11 p.m. on February 13th, I was presented with a “menu” for the following day, complete with breakfast, lunch and dinner plans at my favorite spots around NYC. Curly’s Vegetarian vegan pancakes for breakfast, Caracas for lunch, and a new Mexican spot I’d been dying to try for dinner. Gennaro also threw in “snack” plans for a trip to Babycakes for some gluten-free cupcakes and brownies, but needless to say we were so stuffed after lunch (which was a stretch after our hearty breakfast as it was) that we nixed those plans in favor of a nice stroll around the East Village on that unusually warm February day. Did I land an awesome guy or what?
As you may have guessed, I made these brownie bites as a nod to Valentine’s Day — a day that it not entirely complete without a little chocolate. Ironically, these were inspired by those served at Babycakes, the one spot we never made it to on our February 14th NYC eating tour a few years ago.
Raspberry Brownie Bites:
Brownies are a contentious subject among many. I like mine super chocolately and not super sweet, kind of like a morsel of good, dark chocolate. If you refrigerate these they get even more fudgy, so feel free to do so. Note: for best results, use silicone muffin cups, which allow you to pop the brownie bites easily out of each cup after baking.
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice Flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup liquified coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut nectar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 hot water
1/4 cup brewed coffee
a few tablespoons raspberry fruit spread
1. Preheat oven to 325.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add remaining ingredients except for fruit spread and whisk until just incorporated.
3. Spoon tablespoon-sized scoops of batter into mini muffin cups (I used silicone cups, as the brownies pop out really easily this way). Using a 1/4 teaspoon rounded measure, scoop out raspberry fruit spread and place on top of each brownie, pressing in gently.
4. Bake in preheated oven until tops begin to crack and bounce back slightly when pressed, about 10-15 minutes (brownies, I find, can vary greatly depending on preference and oven). Set on a wire rack to cool, about 10 minutes, before removing from cups.