valentine sweets for my sweet!

because of one thing or another related to my mom's death, my wonderful hubby and i have not gotten to spend the last 2 valentine's days together. this year, being as broke as we are, has tested the creativity a little more!

i had already wanted to make brownies and cut them into heart shapes and decorate them for us. when i remembered an idea i had seen from how about orange about making a coffee stencil, i thought it would be perfect for a little valentine's love brownie. i had actually tried a similar idea several years ago for M's birthday, when we were newly married and [also broke] and i didn't have a lot of cake-decorating-type things on hand. i can't believe i still have a picture of it!
by the way, this is what a powdered-sugar-stenciled cake is supposed to look like. i on the other hand, think i literally cut the letters out of a sheet of printer paper, set it on the cake, and sprinkled away.

so i thought i'd try a coffee/cupcake/brownie stencil for my heart-shaped brownies, seeing as how i already had the materials on hand... sharpie, x-acto knife, and a plastic lid [thank you, recycling bin!]
then i traced a design from online, traced it onto the lid, and cut it out with the x-acto knife.
now, if you're looking at this design and wondering how it would show up at all once powdered sugar was sprinkled on it, seeing as how it is so detailed, you would be totally right. i think it needed to be bigger to be read-able- it really didn't work at all, and i ended up tracing my smaller heart cookie cutter [though i realized right after that i could have just cut out the 'love' part from the middle to make a simple heart].
i set the stencil on top of the brownie, put some powdered sugar in my wire mesh pasta-drainer and tapped the side of it gently until my little heart was solidly covered. then i added a little red frosting border with a can of that red spray-frosting stuff that i hadn't opened during my christmas cookie making spree this year.
yay! you could also use this with cocoa powder on your latte or cinnamon on your pancakes, powdered sugar on your french toast, etc!

so it worked, but i thought it needed something a little more. i wanted to try a 3d chocolate letter idea i had in mind for K's birthday but never tried. i printed out 'love' in pretty script [it's important for all the letters to touch] put a piece of wax paper over it, and melted a handful of hershey kisses in a ziplock baggie in the microwave. then i cut the tip of the baggie and used it like a frosting piper to trace over the letters.
squeeze it out nice and thick if you want it to stand up when it hardens. i had some extra chocolate so i made a swirly heart.
i stuck them in the freezer for a few minutes to harden up, peeled them off the wax paper, and gently put them on my little valentine brownie cake. this is so fun! i may never make another cake/cupcake/brownie without a chocololate monogram/message ever again! [just make sure it doesn't melt before serving!]
ps- i think the heart-cookie-cutter brownie thing would work much better if the brownies were flat and fudgey, but it was actually M who mixed up the brownie mix, and he knows i love them cakey. if that's not love...

can't wait to present him with his love brownie!
::: edited to add:::
i had so much fun with these, i made a little heart brownie tower for our awesome neighbors, who had secretly left us cutely-wrapped heart sugar cookies earlier in the week. M made some fudgier brownies, which definitely worked better with the cookie cutters. we stacked a smaller heart on top of a big one [glued on with a little icing] lined the small one in icing, and did a powdered sugar stencil heart on the top. so fun!

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