Bakery Lane in Fortitude Valley is starting to fill up with a glorious array of cool little stores. One of the standouts is I Heart Brownies, the home of the now infamous heart-shaped brownie.
There aren’t many people in the world that don’t love brownies. Lulu Purnell, owner of I Heart Brownies, knows this as well as anyone.
Her adorable shop can be found right down the back of Bakery Lane, with an enormous red love heart over the main glass window and the smell of something chocolatey being baked wafting through the air. There is a huge lightbox inside that lists all the flavours of brownies on offer and a bright red retro phone hangs on the back wall — waiting for your takeaway order, perhaps?
Plants and fresh flowers are dotted about and there is a bench and stools out front so you can leisurely sit down and enjoy your brownie experience without hurrying. Coffee and home-made ice cream are on offer as well and together with your brownie, could prove to be one of the best flavour combinations you’ll ever experience.
All brownies are baked daily on site; Lulu created and then refined the recipe herself. We stopped by to sample some of these infamous brownies and have a chat to Lulu about what makes her brownies special.
When we start talking about these heart-shaped treats, Lulu explains why she thinks people love brownies. “When you have a crispy-on-the-outside and chewy-on-the-inside chocolate dessert, what’s not to love? We take the brownie a little further by hand-making them using premium ingredients such as dark couverture chocolate, Belgian black cocoa and real butter.”
A lover of brownies from way back, Lulu never believed her whole career would centre around these sweet treats. “I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would open a brownie store. My plan was to simply have a wholesale business supplying to cafes and sell at the markets. As it turned out, though, my customers had other plans. They couldn’t get enough, and so here we are — bringing brownies to the people of Brisbane and beyond, seven days a week!”
Her personal favourite is Cherry Coconut (“it’s so chewy and cherry coco-nutty), but the most popular flavour with her customers is “without question our Salted Caramel brownie. It has a liquid centre of salted caramel sauce, which we make from scratch. We can’t make these brownies quick enough. They are the first flavour to sell out every day. Customers are always asking us to disclose the secret of making these little gems, but we’ll never tell!”
So, how did she come up with the recipes? “A few years ago it became my personal challenge to create a brownie recipe that combined the softness of cake, the crispness of biscuits and the denseness of fudge. It took many trial-and-error batches but eventually I succeeded and now we’ve got it down pat. Our flavoured brownies are all a derivative of my original recipe, enhanced to make the experience even better!”
Lulu explains why she chose to become part of the Bakery Lane gang. “I’m a big supporter of local connections and community. When I was on the lookout for a store-front for our little bakery, it was high on my agenda to find a space that had a community feel. I discovered the Bakery Lane development before ground on the site had been broken. I loved the idea of being a part of the project from the beginning of the build – to be able to watch it as it progressed. Now that it’s finished I’m still in awe each time I walk down the laneway. It’s so lovely!”
One of the best things about I Heart Brownies is that you get the full brownie experience – from watching them being made, to smelling them baking and to eating them while they are still warm from the oven.
Also, for all those gluten-intolerant folk, the bakery is an entirely gluten-free zone.
Make sure you click through the gallery above to see all the delicious images!
I Heart Brownies is open seven days a week from 8am-6pm (Sundays is 10am-4pm).
Have you been to I Heart Brownies yet? Let us know in the comments below.