I, like anyone else preparing for Christmas, am scrambling around buying last minute gifts, wrapping presents, packing for travel, and baking some treats to bring along with me. I needed a dessert that I could make ahead of time, so that I don’t have to fight for the oven when I get to my destination, but also something that I could pull together very quickly (because of aforesaid scrambling). I recently bought a copy of Better Homes and Gardens Food Gifts (magazine) in the hopes of giving myself some more ideas for that homemade Christmas I keep intending to do, but fair miserably at preparing for. Maybe next year……Anyway, looking through, I came across several delicious looking things, but these tarts really caught my eye. There is something about mini anything that I adore. Plus, who doesn’t love brownies?? I rarely EVER make anything for an occasion without testing it first, and then tweaking it a bit, but I really didn’t have the time to be messing around with the recipe. Taking the chance really paid off. Not only is this possibly the easiest from scratch dessert I have ever made, but it really is quite delicious. It’s a chocolate lover’s dream. The brownie base is moist and chewy (and came together in no time at all), and the decadent ganache type topping sets you right over the edge into chocolate nirvana. I do really like having the toffee bits too, not only for some texture, but to break up the chocolate a little. Even I have my limits! As I said, I didn’t have time to mess around with the recipe, and even though it is really delicious, everything can be improved upon. There is a LOT of sugar in the recipe. Next time I will try baking with a little less and see if it changes the structural integrity. Also, I SO wanted to add a little cinnamon to the batter for some warmth and spice, but if it didn’t turn out well, I didn’t have time to make another batch. Stay tuned for a second attempt at this recipe in the future. In the meantime, go ahead and make these as is, for Christmas or even for a New Years party (or for no reason at all). You won’t regret it!
Toffee Topped Fudge Brownie Tarts
From Better Homes and Gardens Food Gifts Magazine
Makes 24 mini tartlets
3 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/3 c unsalted (sweet) butter
1 c sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 t vanilla
½ c all-purpose flour
¼ c whipping cream
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces or chips
Toffee bits or 3-1.4 oz chocolate covered English toffee, chopped**
Preheat oven to 350
Grease a 24 count mini muffin pan. Set aside.
Lightly whisk the eggs and vanilla in a bowl. Set aside.
In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the 3 oz of unsweetened chocolate and the butter. Heat over low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in sugar with a wooden spoon, then add egg mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in flour. Spoon a rounded 1 tablespoon of mixture into mini muffin pan.
Bake for 12-14 minutes. Cool in the pan on wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove tarts from pan onto wire rack to continue cooling.
For the ganache glaze, heat the whipping cream in a small saucepan over low heat until just simmering (do not boil). Remove from heat and add in the semi-sweet chocolate pieces, stirring until melted in.
Place the toffee bits in a shallow dish. Dip the top of each tart into the glaze and then dip in the toffee bits. Return the tarts to the wire rack to finish cooling and set the glaze.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days
My Notes: I actually misread the ingredient list and bought actual toffee bits at a local chocolate shop. I do not regret this mistake, as I do not think I could handle anymore chocolate added to this dessert! But certainly use whatever you can find. If you can’t find toffee (or aren’t into it), I imagine you can use chopped peanuts, or any kind of nut or candy that goes well with chocolate.
Also, I didn’t “dip” the tarts into the glaze, as I felt it was just too much glaze overall. I ended up smoothing some onto each tart with an off-set spatula (you can use a butter knife if you don’t have one), or just dip as instructed.