I like you a latte….

So Valentine’s Day is upon us. If your lucky to have someone in your life romantically speaking, then chances are you are pro V-day. But if you don’t have anyone special, then chances are you are anti V-day. And though it sucks to have no one special in your life, I feel there is one more place that is harder to be at on Valentine’s Day then alone….

Purgatory (it’s not just for dead people anymore). Valentine Purgatory is a killer.

My friend M asked for my advice this week. See he is in Valentine Purgatory. He’s been on about 5 dates with the girl he is currently with. So new, but not super new. And just enough along that he knows he is in the shitter if he doesn’t do something to recognize the holiday.
If he goes over too much he risks sending the wrong message of “I love you”. Which he doesn’t. Too little and you could risk her thinking you are not that into her. Which he claims he is. Well, he actually said, “She’s cool. Sometimes funny, but not always. Really nice rack, really nice. Can I buy her something to show that off or is that rude (I’m going to interject and say thank goodness he asked me questions or I fear what she would have gotten)? Most of the time she doesn’t irritate me.” So I’m not totally sold on him liking her but I’m going with it.

Now some say you have to spend a ton on Valentine’s Day to really say something. Out to dinner, flowers, diamonds, etc…But to be honest, to this day my most favorite Valentine cost the guy about $15. It was my college sweetheart, so he didn’t have much money (as we were saving that for beer). What did he get me you ask? A solid chocolate heart. Big deal, right? Except that this was not regular heart. It was not something he just swung by Walgreen’s to pick up on the way to see me. This was ordered from a catalog. This was not just a chocolate heart, but an anatomically correct (one pound) solid Chocolate Heart (he was pre-med). It cost him about $15 with cost of shipping. But what was great about it besides the humor was that he had to put thought into it. He had to think about it and had to order it in time for it to get there. Aka, he showed he cared. The other thing that he came with that was a poem. Not some sappy rainbows and lollipops crappy poem (though there’s nothing wrong with that if you are into it). It was more along the lines of Dr. Suess. The neat thing was that it was of things we had done so far as a couple (which was only 4 months at the time). Which was really cool because he remembered far more things than I did. Now, as the years went on, he did more poems, but the first one was still the best. It wasn’t forced. It’s not that I forced him to write them. He just knew that I loved the first one and I think wanted to keep doing it. But it was sadly never the same.

So what did I tell M to get her, flowers. Yeah, I know, the prices are jacked up this time of year. First off, don’t buy roses. Red ones send the wrong message. Pink is just wimpy. And yellow…whatever you do, don’t give a girl you want to see naked “just friend” colored flowers. Go for unique flowers. Gerber daisies are bright and happy. Stargazer lilies are pretty (especially a cool color like orange or something like that). Tulips are coming into season. Think out of the box. We picked up a really cool little antique vase at a shop in our little area. Since they are just an antique shop the prices were cheap and not jacked up for the holiday. I think it was $4 for the vase, and it’s a kick ass vase. He’s going with Hyacinths, Irises and Tulips. Though there is some pink in there, it’s still cool. Clearly enough to get him laid.

To honour Valentine Purgatory I made what I am calling I Like You a Latte Coffee and Cream Brownie Cakes. Cake-like espresso brownies with cream cheese swirl, baked into individual square muffin pans. Hopefully you have someone you like a latte in your life to make them for. :) And remember that it’s not the cost of the gift that matters, but the meaning behind it.

A Like You a Latte Coffee and Cream Brownie Cakes

For the Swirl:
3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 TBSP unsalted butter, room temperature
¼  cup sugar
1 large egg
1 TBSP all purpose flour

For the Brownies:
6 ounces sweet baking chocolate (I used semisweet), chopped
3 TBSP unsalted butter, room temperature
½  cup sugar
2 large eggs
½  cup all purpose flour
½  tsp baking powder
¼  tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp espresso powder
½  cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips (for top)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly butter 8-inch square nonstick baking pan or muffin pans.

Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in medium bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar and beat until well blended. Beat in egg. Mix in flour, and vanilla. Set mixture aside.

Stir baking chocolate and butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat until smooth. Cool slightly.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar, espresso powder, and eggs in large bowl until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Mix in flour, baking powder, and salt.

Mix in chocolate mixture and vanilla extract. Stir in semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Spread half of chocolate batter (about 1 ¼  cups) in prepared pan. Using rubber spatula, spread cream cheese mixture over chocolate batter. Spoon remaining chocolate batter over top of cream cheese mixture.

If using muffin tins, use ½ scoop of an ice cream scoop of batter. Spoon cream cheese on top.  Using rubber spatula, spread cream cheese mixture over chocolate batter. Spoon remaining chocolate batter over top of cream cheese mixture.

Using tip of knife, gently swirl through batter, forming marble design. Top with milk chocolate chips.

Bake brownies until tester inserted into center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 25-30 minutes. They take about just as long in the muffin tins as well, but check around the 22 minute mark.

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  1. i love them. soooo cute. love the square tin. i think i may need one of those.

    happy hearts day babe!

  2. These brownies look awesome! That story about the chocolate heart was pretty funny. What a sweet man ;)

  3. These look delicious, and very cute too :)

  4. Beautiful! I love the square muffin tin, too. Will have to look for one of those.

  5. MMM

  6. this is the cutest valentine’s day idea ive seen yet!! i may have to make these and use your line as well :)

  7. I have someone I love in my life, but I still think Vday isn’t a great thing. Nevertheless, I like that it’s a good excuse to make lots of sweets, like the one you made. YUM! I’m bookmarking this recipe.

  8. square muffin tins?!! i feel like i should buy you something! my mind is blown.

  9. Aww that’s so sweet :) I have to wonder though.. were the chocolate arteries a lil fibrous and chewy? :P

    The brownies would be MY favorite valentine gift!! I’d even take them a couple days late since no one ships on Sunday *hint* ;)

    Happy V-Day, Gracie! Love you!

  10. These look yummy!! I love the square muffin pan. I want one to add to my overflowing baking pans area.

  11. Come to mama.. haha these look sooo good! hmmm so can I eat this everymorning for a caffiene fix? Im in!

  12. Fabuloso! The square tin makes them look that much better. I’d settle for flowers, but I’d be thinking of these…

  13. De-li-cious! Those look extremely good and cute!



  14. I am one of the odd souls in the world who has a sweetheart but pretty much despises the Valentine’s holiday. However, I think I may make these for my hubby this weekend anyways! I think he’d like them a latte…

  15. These look OMG-delicious – I love your square-muffin pan too. Have a very Happy Valentines :D

  16. These sound divine!

  17. Well, I may not have someone to explicitly bake these for. But I like myself enough to make them for ME! They sound and look delicious.

    I loved this post. It is definitely a good thing your friend asked for your advice. Otherwise that girl would have gotten a VERY low cut shirt, I fear.

  18. I loved your story! Nobody ever wrote me a poem! :(
    You gave your friend excellent advice…was he going for Victoria’s Secret? Yikes!

    Yummy latte brownies! I don’t drink coffee but really love that coffee flavor with chocolate!

  19. I was going to buy that exact pan but really didn’t have anything to make in them so I didn’t. Now I am going to have to get it and make these!

  20. Did you bake these for your friend to give to his 5 dates girlfriend or just give him the recipe? Because if my husband baked these for me, and they weren’t burnt…you’d have to rename them ‘the get lucky’ latte brownies. Which is not nearly as spiffy sounding as I like you a latte brownies, but I bet men would learn how to make them!
    Nice recipe, Pea! (I like it that your guy pals ask you for advice!)

  21. I used to be highly anti-Valentine’s Day, but now I’ve moved on to concentrate my rage in more useful directions, and have become merely Valentine’s Day ambivalent. I would gladly celebrate if I could get one of these cakes, though!

  22. LOL – a perfect way to say I like you without going too far. Hope your friend worked out what to do.

  23. I kind of NEED that square pan!

    And I also like yellow roses. Does that make me strange?!

    Flowers always work on me! Good call.

  24. Oh my God. I think I could eat a whole pan of those.

  25. I agree…the gifts I most remember, and made my heart go thumpa-thumpa the most, are not the fanciest ones but the ones that a lot of thought and care went into :) Valentines for me is about the company, not the gift…spent this year’s V-day with my hubby and little girl, watching dvd’s and eating take-out (well, the little one had milk) and it was the best in my book at least! :)

    If we had these brownies it would have been even more perfect!

  26. I think I like these a latta!! yummm!

  27. Looks absolutely delicious. I would love those with some coffee or a latte would be perfect!

  28. Oh Peabody! How I love your witty, sarcastic and cynical viewpoint! (I mean that as a compliment!!)
    I have to counsel two of the guys I work with concerning such matters, and gave them basically the same advice.
    Luckily, I did not have to worry about Valentine’s Day this year – just spent the day with my mom – the person who loves me most in the world anyway!

  29. Oh wow these look amazing! I bet they were so good to eat!

  30. Dear Peabody,
    These look gorgeous! I can’t wait to try this recipe out, but I have to confess that since I am making these for a coffee lover (and I am anything but), so I need to ask: does ground coffee = espresso powder? I completely forgive your urge to howl at my coffee ignorance :)

  31. “Most of the time she doesn’t irritate me.”

    Dude – she’s a keeper. Ha ha ha. (Half-serious.) I wonder if she’s the kind who’d appreciate a chocolate heart! Or maybe you should have given him the cupcakes, I’m sure anyone would love ‘em :)

  32. Can you hear me moaning from here? Love the little muffins…cute to be square and great to have coffee and chocolate! Sounds like your friend figured out the perfect way to celebrate V day with the almost not irritating girl…hope she doesn’t read this blog or she’ll know about the rack idea :)

  33. See, the trouble with these is that however much I might love the love of my life, I just can’t see me giving any of these away… ;)

  34. Yummy yummy! Talk about a decadent valentines. I think this will give u enough love for a whole week. Looks pretty, love the muffin pan!

  35. Great story – terrific recipe and wonderful pictures. I’m going out shopping this weekend to get that pan!!! btw… had a great Valentine’s day – took myself to a movie and bought myself a Jamba Juice!!!

  36. YUM — brownies + coffee = heaven! Not purgatory, just heaven :)

  37. If heaven was in front of me right now, it would look like this cake.

  38. MMM…And I love the square pan!

  39. They look so scrummy and cute. Love the square shape, never seen a mini square tin. Love the marbeling effect

  40. The square pan is adorable…they would go well with my coffee..right now… :)

  41. Hi

    Where did you buy that square muffin pan.

  42. Mmm, those random chips sticking out of the tops of these sell it for me :)

  43. I made these last night, and I think I baked them too long. They have a powdery taste to them. Other than that, their good!
    Thanks for the recipe!

  44. Hi there –
    Long time reader, first time poster. Made these the other night & they were terrific! The only difference for me is that in the 8×8 pan, they took more like 40 minutes (gas oven.
    Love your blog! Thanks!

  45. I forgot to add that I used a pkt of Italian Roast Via instant coffee (from Starbucks) and that worked great for the espresso powder.

  46. I just wanted to kno how much these made. Also, like do you kno of a website that gave the prices of grocery food?

  47. I’ve had this recipe in my to do pile for a long time.. a year about.. tonight my friend made them because i pulled it out of my pile so she could serve it at our craft night tonight that she was hosting.. YUM! they were so good.

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