Brownie

Giant Chocolate Bar, Tiny Cream Pie, And 2 Other (Easy!) Desserts for 2

February  7, 2018

Valentine’s Day makes me ten kinds of giddy. I’m not even the kind of girl who’s all about gift giving or fancy meals out. To me, it’s just an excuse to make extra pretty desserts (usually pink ones). Whether you’re baking for your best bud or the love of your life, these desserts make exactly two servings. This means one of two things: You can still stick to your New Year’s resolution afterward, OR you can make a nice variety of treats so your sweet tooth doesn’t get bored with too many boxed chocolates.

These are so simple to whip up you might as well make all four. Photo by Bobbi Lin

Mini Brownie Layer Cakes

This treat couldn’t be easier to pull off, or more decadent to eat. Bake a 9x9 pan of your favorite brownies (here are mine). Even if your recipe doesn’t say to do so, line your pan with parchment paper, and let the excess hang over the sides by an inch or two. This gives you a convenient “handle” to help lift the brownie slab out of the pan in one piece.

Save the extra for sadder times. Photo by Bobbi Lin

Once it’s out, use a round cookie cutter (or the rim of a glass) to cut four circles from the brownies. Snack on the scraps on the spot, or store them in a zip-top bag for freshness: They’re particularly delicious frozen, and make great swirl-in to ice cream. Whip up some heavy cream with a little powdered sugar and vanilla (pastry chefs call this never-fail blend “chantilly cream”). I like to pipe the whipped cream for a fancier look, but it’s totally a-ok to just scoop and spread, too.

It'll be just as good with ugly—er, rustic—dollops. Photo by Bobbi Lin

Use 1/4 of the whipped cream on top of one brownie layer, and place another layer on top. Finish with another 1/4 of the whipped cream. Then, repeat it all with the remaining two brownie layers. You can serve them with a drizzle of warm seedless raspberry jam, or even crumble a few of your brownie scraps on top, if desired.

Chocolate-Strawberry Cream Pie for Two

This pie requires a small (6-inch) pie or cake pan. You can also make it in two standard size ramekins, or any other small, oven-safe baking dish. The crust is no-fuss, a chocolate cookie crust that you press into an even layer into the base and sides of the pan. It’s easy to work with, and easy to bake.

Press press press. Photo by Bobbi Lin

Chill it well after you’ve pressed it in, then pierce it all over with a fork. You can use pie weights, but they aren’t required, because the fork scores should do the trick. Bake the crust until it’s fully baked, then let it cool completely. The filling is basically a small batch of vanilla pudding with some homemade strawberry puree stirred in at the very end.

Pipe if you want to. Photo by Bobbi Lin

It’s looser than standard pudding, so this isn’t a pie made for slicing. It’s made for sharing right out of the dish with two spoons. I like to finish it with a few dollops (piped or spooned) of unsweetened whipped cream, and a sprinkling of cacao nibs.

Giant Chocolate Bar (to Share!)

This simple dessert is made by pouring tempered chocolate into a loaf pan, and sprinkling on tasty add-ins. Any loaf pan will work, but I will say I have two faves: silicone pans, which will leave the chocolate especially shiny, or disposable paper pans, which will hide a not-steller tempering job.

Tempering chocolate may seem daunting, but working with small amounts, it’s easier than you might think. When chocolate is tempered properly, it shrinks as it sets, which makes it super easy to unmold. Use 6-8 ounces of chocolate for each bar. I start by melting 4 ounces, then use the remaining 2-4 ounces to help get the chocolate to temper. Pour the tempered chocolate into the loaf pan, and scatter your favorite toppings on top.

Get creative. Photo by Bobbi Lin

You can use different kinds of chocolate and any type of toppings you want. I did a dark chocolate bar with strawberry, coconut, and toasted almonds; a white chocolate bar with dried apricots, macadamia nuts, and pearl sugar; and a milk chocolate bar with rose petals and cocoa nibs. Let the chocolate set until firm at room temperature, then unmold and serve.

Floating Islands

This is one of my favorite desserts of all time. It’s made of a few fancy-sounding components, but it’s super easy to create. First, you need vanilla sauce, or crème anglaise. Make it ahead and keep it in the fridge until you’re ready to serve.

Make in big batches. Photo by Bobbi Lin

Next, you need meringue. Since you’re only serving two, you don’t need much. I used two large egg whites and 1/3 cup sugar. Whip to stiff peaks with an electric mixer. When you’re ready to serve, bring 1 cup of milk to a simmer over medium-low heat. Spoon dollops of meringue into the simmering milk and poach until just set, 1-2 minutes. Remove from the milk with a slotted spoon and reserve.

A gentle poach will do. Photo by Bobbi Lin

When you’re ready to serve, simply ladle the crème anglaise into a bowl. To dress it up, I warm up seedless raspberry jam to loosen it, swirl about 1 tablespoon into each bowl of vanilla sauce, and place the meringues on top.

Let your spoon do some island hopping/dropping. Photo by Bobbi Lin

I garnish with raspberries and toasted pistachios. It’s the ideal not-too-sweet dessert, a perfect combination of fancy and effortless.

Take a gander at the individual recipes, below:

What will you be making this Valentine's Day? Let us know in the comments!

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