This is the third part in my celebration brownies series. I started by making some really easy and yummy Valrhona Brownies in the Instant Pot. I baked two pans of brownies at once, in springform pans, stacked on top of each other. Then I turned them out onto a cutting board and, using cookie cutters, cut out three different sized hearts and decorated these Valentine’s Brownie Bites. I chose two different toppings, along with Fancy Sprinkles to turn them into a party on a plate! Now let me show you how to make my favorite buttercream frosting and dark chocolate ganache.
Ganache And Frosting
To turn my basic brownies into something extra special, I decided to make my two favorite toppings – buttercream frosting and dark chocolate ganache. I wanted to have a plate of that was varied, and exciting. By using a light-colored buttercream and a dark chocolate ganache, I gave myself a lot of options for decorating.
In addition to looking different, they also have different textures, with the ganache being smooth and dense, and the buttercream being fluffier.
I often use both of these toppings together on cupcakes. The dark chocolate ganache makes a great filling for cupcakes. You can cut a hole into the base of the cupcake and pour the ganache in while it is still warm. When it cools, it holds it’s shape and makes a great ‘surprise’ when you bit into it. I used Dandelion Chocolate, one of my favorite local shops, for a really decadent dark chocolate flavor.
The Bailey’s frosting can be piped onto cupcakes, and holds it’s shape perfectly. But for my brownie bites, I am spreading both onto the cut out shapes, taking care to run a knife around the edges to show off their curves.
I tried to do an equal number of bites using each frosting, and also did some half-and-half!
Cookie cutter shapes
My bites were made for Valentine’s Day, but you can use different shapes and colors and turn them into festive Birthday Bites, or any other party. Have fun with them!
Dark Chocolate Ganache
- 8 oz Dark chocolate bars 70% cocoa
- 2/3 cup Heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp Butter at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp Corn syrup
Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting
- 2 cups Unsalted butter at room temperature
- 5 cups Powdered confectioner’s sugar sifted
- 6 Tbsp Bailey’s Irish Cream liquor or vanilla bean paste
- Gather ingredients for your ganache.
- On a cutting board, with a sharp knife, chop the chocolate bars into small pieces so it melts quickly. The smaller the pieces, the easier it will be to make the ganache, and less likely that there will be unmelted pieces.Place pieces in medium-sized mixing bowl.
- Pour heavy cream into Pyrex measuring cup and heat in microwave for a minute or two until it starts to bubble. You want the cream to be hot. Keep an eye on it, and don’t let it boil over.
- Take your mixing bowl of chocolate pieces, and pour the hot cream over it.
- Make sure all the chocolate pieces are submerged in the hot liquid. Leave for a few minutes. Do not stir. You are letting the chocolate melt on its own in this step.
- With silicone scraper, gently stir chocolate from the middle to the edges. Turn it over from the bottom as well, mixing the hot liquid into the melting chocolate. It will be very wet.
- Don’t panic. Continue to stir. As the chocolate melts, the mixture will start to appear smoother, but still look lumpy.
- Add the room temp butter and continue to stir.
- The mixture will begin to look super smooth and glossy. Stir in the vanilla, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure it is mixed thoroughly.
- Keep an eye out for unmelted chocolate pieces, and smooth them against the side of the bowl to melt them. Your ganache should be smooth and shiny. Cover with plastic until you are ready to use it.Note: Ganache will firm up as it cools, so you should make it after your baked goods are cooked. If you need it to be softer, you can put the bowl into the microwave to heat it up for a second or two (be careful not to heat it too much though).
Bailey’s Buttercream Frosting
- Gather the ingredients for your buttercream frosting.Note: To get very fluffy frosting, a stand mixer with whisk is preferred, but you can also use a hand mixer.
- In the mixer bowl, add the room temp butter. Whip on high for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add half of the powdered sugar and mix slightly on low speed.
- Add the baileys and mix well.
- Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl well.
- Add the remaining powdered sugar a little at a time, beating well, and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl in between. When all of the sugar is incorporated, whip for 2-3 more minutes on high, until the frosting is light and fluffy.Note: if you want to color your frosting, add food color now. Add a few drops at a time, mixing in between until you get the desired color.
- You can store the frosting, covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. If the frosting has gotten stiff, you can stir it with a silicone spatula to get it back to a smooth texture.
- You can pipe the frosting, or apply it with a knife. Have fun decorating!