Petit four, which means small oven in French, is a miniature cake that's covered in a glaze or poured fondant. Petit fours are typically sweet confections, but can be small, savory appetizers, too.
I've always been intrigued by their dainty size and delicate decorations, but honestly wasn't that interested in the amount of work involved in traditional petit fours, which involves baking thin layers of cake in a jelly roll pan, which are then stacked and filled with jam, covered with marzipan, and finally glazed. I'm sure they would be beautiful, but much too sweet for my taste.
So instead, I created these much simpler brownie petit fours with my recipe for my (dare I say) "famous" fudge brownies, cut into small squares, and dipped in candy coating. Simple decorations of nothing more than drizzles of chocolate and a few red hearts here and there for Valentines.
I love the one stand-out red-sprinkled petit four amidst all the black and white ones, like a woman in a shockingly sexy red dress when everyone else is dressed quite conservatively.
Brownie Petit Fours
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder ("special dark" will make a deeper chocolate flavor)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Wilton's candy melts, any flavor/color (about 2 bags), or milk, dark and white chocolate
- piping bags
- light corn syrup or clear piping gel
- decorative sprinkles
Preheat the oven to 325. Line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper so that the paper hangs over two sides. Spray with non-stick spray.
Melt the butter in the microwave or a saucepan. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, salt and espresso powder. Whisk in the melted butter. With a wooden spoon, beat in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating each in before adding the next. Stir in the flour until moistened.
Spread the batter evenly in the pan and bake for 25 minutes. Cool completely, in the pan, covered loosely with a clean kitchen towel. Lift the cooled brownies out of the pan by the paper overhang and place on a cutting board. Cut into small even squares with a large, sharp knife, wiping the knife clean between each cut - I cut the brownies into 5x8 rows, for 40 small squares.
Melt the candy melts in the microwave or in a double boiler, according to the package instructions. For each bag of candy, you'll need 2-3 tablespoons of shortening to thin the candy enough for a smooth, pourable consistency; this can be melted along with the candy, or stirred in after you melt it.
Use a fork to pierce a brownie on the underneath, then dip it in the candy melts, completely coating the top and sides. Let the excess drip off and place the brownie right side up on a parchment lined baking sheet to cool and set. When you're finished coating all the brownies, pour the leftover candy melts into a piping bag, snip off the end, and drizzle over the brownies.
When the candy is set, use a small paint brush to dab a little corn syrup wherever you want to decorate the petit fours - your sprinkles will only stick to the corn syrup.
Store at room temperature in an air-tight container.
Yields 40 petit fours
Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen