Beary Chocolate Brownie Bears communicate how “beary” much you care about the “beary” special people in your life. These dense, fudgy brownies, baked in a cupcake pan, are topped with an adorable chocolate bear.
Military care packages for Valentines Day have been awkward for me. This year was different.
After three years of struggling to decide what to send in Valentine’s Day packages to mostly silent soldiers I never met, I finally figured out that Valentine’s Day can celebrate heartfelt emotions other than love. Thanks, appreciation, and encouragement are all feelings that I hope to communicate to my adopted troops.
Though technically a Valentine’s care package complete with hearts and red wrapping, Beary Chocolate Brownie Bears helped me share a “Thank you ‘beary’ much for your service” themed care package. A message of thanks and Beary Chocolate Brownie Bears are welcome year round.
Ethically sourced cocoa, melting chocolate, and candy decorations make Beary Chocolate Brownie Bears a chocolaty treat you can feel good about sharing. I have been delighted to discover that finding ethically sourced ingredients is easy and doesn’t have to be expensive.
My favorite Fair Trade baking cocoa, semi-sweet chips, and white chocolate chips (I have tried several brands) are all Whole Foods’ 365 brand. The candy brand, Unreal, is also available at Whole Foods.
The ingredients in Unreal candy is all Fair Trade, and uses all-natural colors and less sugar than other brands. They make the candy coated chocolate that I used for ears on the Beary Chocolate Brownie Bears.
I was able to fill this care package with plenty of ethically sourced chocolate candy as well, at the same price (or lower) as buying the “biggie” national brands.
Aldi’s supermarket carries a brand of regular and holiday chocolates, Moser Roth, marked with the UTZ symbol, the European equivalent of Fair Trade. The foil wrapped bears, chocolate coated marzipan logs, and truffles are all UTZ!
VALENTINE’S DAY CARE PACKAGE IDEAS
DECORATING A VALENTINE CARE PACKAGE
A bear themed care package needs a bear on the box. I enlarged and cut out a free bear printable found online.
The bear holds a garland of hearts that I attached to the box flaps after the contents were packed. The individual hearts are connected with twisty ties for flexibility.
CONTENTS FOR A MILITARY VALENTINE CARE PACKAGE
This “Thank You Beary Much” care package contains a combination of red wrapped and bear themed items including:
- a stuffed bear
- Krispie treats
- chocolate bears
- puzzle books
- cheese crackers
HOW TO MAKE BEARY CHOCOLATE BROWNIE BEARS
Beary Chocolate Brownie Bears are made in a cupcake pan. Using cupcake papers makes it easy to remove the brownies from the pan and helps keep the brownies fresh longer.
The brownies (without the bear on top) are desert safe, and are a great way to send chocolate when the weather is hot.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and espresso powder.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the shortening, sugar, and eggs until light in color.
- Add in the flour mixture, until combined.
- Stir in the chocolate chips.
- Scoop the batter into a lined cupcake pan, using a spatula or spoon to flatten and smooth the surface of each brownie.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes.
HOW TO DECORATE BEARY CHOCOLATE BROWNIE BEARS
Once the brownies are completely cool, they can easily be transformed into bears using just a few decorating items placed on top of the chocolate face.
- Melt 1/2 cup of melting chocolate discs mixed with 1/2 cup of white chocolate discs .
- Spread about 2 teaspoons of melted chocolate on top of the brownie.
- While the chocolate is still melted, add a disc of chocolate for the snout, two candy eyes go above the snout, and two candy coated chocolates are added for ears.
- Use a toothpick to dot a tiny bit of melted chocolate on top of the snout as glue for the heart sprinkle nose.
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TOOLS FOR MAKING BEARY CHOCOLATE BROWNIE BEARS
VALENTINE’S DAY COOKIE RECIPE
Honey Graham Bears are a new cookie recipe included in this box full of bears. These crunchy little honey flavored bears are as tasty as they are adorable!
With garlands of heart sprinkles between their outstretched paws, Honey Graham Bears send a message to those you bake for, on Valentine’s Day or any other day, that you love them “beary” much!
MORE RECIPES FOR A VALENTINE’S DAY THEME
BEARY CHOCOLATE BROWNIE BEARS RECIPE
Beary Chocolate Brownie Bears
- 1 ½ all-purpose flour
- 1 cup baking cocoa
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon espresso powder
- ⅔ cup butter-flavored vegetable shortening
- 2 cups granulated white sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups mini chocolate chips
- For Decorating:
- 1/2 cup dark melting chocolate
- 1/2 cup white melting chocolate
- 20 dark brown chocolate discs
- 20 pairs of candy eyes
- 20 mini heart sprinkles
- 40 brown candy coated chocolate candies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prepare 2 12-cup cupcake pans with cupcake papers.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and espresso powder. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the shortening, sugar, and eggs. Beat until light in color and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
- Gradually add in the flour mixture, until combined.
- Stir in the mini chocolate chips.
- Use a large (1/4 cup) scoop to portion the batter into the prepared pan (it will be thick), using a spatula or spoon to flatten and smooth the surface of each brownie.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes. The toothpick test doesn’t work very well because of all of the melting chocolate chips. If the top is firm after 15 minutes, take it out. (Mine baked for 18 minutes). Cool completely in the pan.
- When ready to decorate, melt the 1/2 cup of dark chocolate with the 1/2 cup of white chocolate. Stir until the color is uniform.
- Decorate one brownie at a time. Spread about 2 teaspoons of melted chocolate into a circle on top of a brownie. Immediately, add the chocolate disc snout, the candy eyes, and the candy coated chocolate ears. Use a toothpick to dot a tiny bit of melted chocolate on top of the snout as glue for the heart sprinkle nose.
- Store brownies at room temperature in an airtight container or zip lock bag for up to 2 weeks.
Wrap each Beary Chocolate Brownie Bear in plastic wrap before storing in a freezer weight ziplock bag or an airtight plastic storage container.
This was my last care package for Soldier L. His deployment in Kuwait is ending. I sincerely hope that my letters and packages brought him smiles and the reassurance that his service is appreciated. My best wishes for his safe travels home to his family!