Sunday was Father’s Day, and as with any other small or big event, I saw it as the perfect opportunity to try out a new recipe.
This week’s challenge: Fudge Brownie Tartlets.
Now, I’m not sure why it’s called a tartlet, because there is nothing tart about it, but I try not to ask too many questions. I guess it is because it is in a little pie crust type pastry just like your typical fruit tartlet. But again, nothing tart about it. There is definitely room for improvement on the name. As for the fudge part? Right on. This recipe was just the right amount of sweetness and rich chocolatey-ness, paired with a refreshingly light and flaky crust.
I used a recipe from a Valentine’s Day recipe email I got from Better Homes and Garden. (Yes, I subscribe to recipe emails. No, I’m not ashamed of it.) There are many ways to adapt and modify this recipe, but I stuck with the recipe for the brownie and crust part. If you have a brownie recipe you are particularly fond of, I think any one will do for this. Have a favorite pie crust recipe? Equally substitutable. I suggest one light and flaky and flavorful though. I didn’t use their frosting recipe, not that it is substantially different from mine; it’s just that I am obsessed with mine, and why mess with perfection? But we will get to that after the baking…
I followed this recipe to a T and it came out splendidly. Start by making the dough, because it needs to go in the fridge to firm up a bit. If you haven’t worked with doughs much, I highly recommend putting your ball of dough in plastic wrap to firm up. This way, you avoid having to pry your cooled and firm dough from your glass bowl, which always makes me nervous that something is going to go flying (hasn’t happened yet, thank goodness).
Once the dough is firmer, definitely roll out 24 little balls of dough to make sure you have it evenly distributed and don’t run out. No need to grease the muffin pan – the tartlets come out so easily anyway. Then get to work pressing the crust in and up each muffin cup.
Now is a good time to preheat the oven. Then, melt your chocolate and butter on the stove (or cheat and use the microwave like I did – but don’t, stove is better, I just really didn’t feel like washing a pan; I know, pathetic). Be ready to combine all your ingredients until well mixed once your chocolate melts. Spoon about 1.5 teaspoons into each mini pie crust, and if you want, put some kind of nut in the middle. I chose not to, but it would be delicious with nuts as well. Baking time varies based on the oven, and I had mine in there for at least 35 minutes before they were good and done. Just be sure to check them occasionally with a toothpick. You can always put it in for longer, but you can’t unbake it (over-baking was my arch nemesis for years). It really does make exactly 24 tartlets, so if you’re thinking, oh, recipes usually make more than they call for, nope; this one is right on.
Once you take them out of the oven, allow them to cool on a wire rack in the muffin cups, then take them out of the cups after a few minutes to finish cooling. They should come out super easily.
Now for my favorite part, the frosting!
The frosting recipe I used is super delicious and super easy. The link above yields a whole cake’s worth of frosting, which is waaaay than we need for our itty bitty tartlets, so I divided the recipe by 4. The amounts I used are listed below. One important thing is to make sure you use softened butter, and don’t just melt it to oblivion in the microwave. You can soften it, but be careful and only do a few seconds (maybe 8) at a time to ensure your don’t melt it. If you plan ahead you can just sit it at room temperature while you are making the crust, and it should be softened by the time you are ready for it. Using just the amount of ingredients in the recipe gave me the good consistency for frosting my tartlets, but if the weather is funky it may affect the consistency. If this is the case, add powdered sugar to firm it up, or milk to water it down, a little at a time. Once your spatula will stand up pretty nicely in your bowl, you are good to go.
When your icing is the right consistency, spoon it into a decorating bag and add a tip for piping. I used one of the star tips to get the little ridges in it. Also, make sure not to over-fill the bag with frosting. My cake decorating instructor was always on my case not to over-fill the bag! (Did I mention I took cake decorating classes and they were awesome?!?! I will get to that in another post…STAY FOCUSED!) Filling your bag halfway full is best to have optimal control of your bag.
Then just pipe away as much or as little on each brownie as you want! If you are anything like me, you will do a taste test of your frosting, fall in love, and struggle not to put as much as you can fit on each tartlet. Let’s just say I ate a lot of frosting while decorating these little guys…And a lot more once I was done decorating…
I then topped them with hazelnuts, walnut pieces, and almond slivers. Yum. These were a delicious little treat and the perfect addition to our Father’s Day Cookout. The only complaint I got was that I didn’t make more! I hope you have the same success! Enjoy!
Fudge Brownies Tartlets
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 3 ounce package cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, almonds, or walnut pieces (optional)
- Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- For pastry, in a medium bowl, combine the 1/2 cup butter and the cream cheese. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour. Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle.
- Shape dough into 24 balls. Press each ball evenly onto the bottom and up the side of an ungreased 1-3/4-inch muffin cup.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. For filling, in a small saucepan, combine chocolate pieces and the 2 tablespoons butter; heat and stir over low heat until melted. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, egg, and vanilla. If desired, place a macadamia nut, hazelnut (filbert), almond, or walnut piece and about 1-1/2 teaspoons of the chocolate mixture into each dough-lined muffin cup.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is puffed. Cool tartlets in muffin cups on wire racks for 5 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of each muffin cup to remove tartlets from pans. Transfer tartlets to wire racks and cool.
- Pipe or spoon Chocolate Buttercream Frosting onto tartlets. If desired, top with additional nuts. Makes 24 tartlets.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter (½ a stick), softened (but not melted!)
- 3/4 cups, plus 2 tbsp confectioners (powdered) sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon milk or heavy cream
- Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer. Sift powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Turn your mixer on the lowest speed (so the dry ingredients do not blow everywhere) until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter. Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes. If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk a little at a time.