Spicy Chocolate Brownie Hearts

As I’m sure the internet and every store on the planet has made you aware, Valentine’s Day is coming up soon. And that means it’s acceptable to eat way more chocolate than usual, hooray! That’s where these brownies come in. Even if you don’t have a Valentine, you can make these and give them to your friends and family. If you’re sick of hearts, just use another shape, like a star, or cut them into squares like a normal person. No matter the shape you’re still eating a brownie, so everybody wins.
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Spicy Chocolate Brownies

(Adapted from here)

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
8 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 ounces spicy dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Theo Pili Pili Chili Dark Chocolate)*
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

*If you can’t find chocolate with chili peppers in it, just substitute regular dark chocolate and add 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper to the flour mixture.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13-inch glass or light-colored baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.

Place the chocolate and butter in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.

Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper.

Use heart cookie cutters to cut hearts out of your brownie. If your cutters aren’t deep enough, use them to cut part way through, then use a sharp knife to cut the rest of the way through the brownie. Use a spatula to gently lift the hearts onto a plate, and dust with powdered sugar through a fine sieve.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap for up to 3 days.
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Ideas for the scraps, if you can keep from eating them all as you cut them out (what are you, some kind of superhuman?):
Ice cream toppings
Cake balls
Trifle layer
Pie or cheesecake crust