Perfect Brownie Bites

Perfect Brownie Bites

To be honest, I’m not much of a Halloween girl. I used to be, of course, when I was a kid. I was a princess, and the lion from the Wizard of Oz, and a sassy pirate. My dad would wear a ridiculous monster mask and take us around the neighborhood, and later my brothers and I would sit around a trade candy and eat too much and get stomach aches. It was great.

But between then and now, I discovered that I hate all horror movies. And carving pumpkins is a cold, slimy, messy business. I abhore spiders, and people stick giant ones everywhere this time of year. I don’t like spooky things. Dressing up in costumes just isn’t the same as it used to be. Vampires and zombies don’t really do anything for me. Somewhere along the line, I became a little bit of a Halloween Grinch.

The holiday does have one saving grace for me, though – it happens to fall during my absolute favorite time of the year. Deep into fall, before it gets too cold, when the anticipation of the holiday season is just beginning, and the leaves are still firey and brilliant on the trees in New England. And every year, to pay homage this seasonal perfection, a few of my closest college friends and I will get together and have a day of fall festivities: Wine sipping, apple picking, and a requisite viewing of the best Halloween movie of all time, Hocus Pocus.

But this year, another of our closest friends from college moved to Boston. Once she, her husband, and 2 adorable puppies settled in, they threw a joint party – housewarming, halloween, and his birthday party, all rolled into one. So in lieu of our standard fall plans, we all reminisced. Its amazing how time flies. Marriages and mortgages and jobs. When did we become adults?

I wanted to bake up something easy but classic – and something that would transcend all of the party’s purposes. I landed on brownies. The deciding factor was that I was in the mood for chocolate – but all in all, they ended up being pretty perfect for the occasion.

These adorable bites make me think of childhood birthdays and Halloweens gone by, when chocolatey treats were worthy of excitement for days and you didn’t have much else to worry about. Chewy chocolate, glazed with sweet vanilla, and those sprinkles. There’s something about rainbow sprinkles that is irresistible and makes me giddy like a kid all over again.

I adapted this recipe from Dorie Greenspan, and didn’t change much – after all, its a classic, and they come out perfectly. I happened to have a tin for heart-shaped mini muffins, which only added to their cute factor. I love that this recipe is so un-fooled-around-with – it has everything that brownies should have, and nothing more. Perfect.

Perfect Brownie Bites

1/2 stick unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg

Optional vanilla glaze:

1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup milk
1-2 cups confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

…and rainbow sprinkles!

Preheat oven to 350°F and butter mini muffin tin.

In sauce pan over low heat, melt butter, chocolate, and brown sugar, stirring frequently to avoid burning or seizing. Meanwhile, sift together flour and salt.

Once the chocolate mixture is smooth, remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Then, stir in vanilla and egg until fully blended. Slowly add flour mixture and combine only until incorporated. The batter should be smooth and glossy.

Spoon the batter into the mini muffin tin until the cups are about 3/4 full. Bake for about 14 minutes, or until the brownies are springy to the touch.

If you’re opting for the vanilla glaze, cool brownies completely before applying it.

For the glaze:

Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Add milk, vanilla, and salt and stir to combine. Slowly add confectioners sugar a bit at a time, until the glaze is a smooth consistency with a ribbon-y texture.

Dip the tops of each brownie bite into the glaze. Allow excess to drip off a bit before turning over. Immediately top with sprinkles and set aside to allow glaze to harden.