Friday, February 13, 2009

Prelude to Valentines Day: Cooking For Someone Special-Chocolate

In honor of Valentine's Day tomorrow, I thought it would be nice to spread the love and share some yummy recipes with my dear readers-you know who you are. This "Hallmark Holiday" would not be complete without decadent chocolate delights so I dare you to skip the prepackaged marketable goodies (unless you have a new baby, of course!) and make your own tasty concoction for the sweetie in you life. Warning: If your 'sweetie' is a dog I would skip on the chocolate and make these. Here are a few ideas of mine to get you started...

Mint Chocolate Brownies (photo above)

I chose this one because I believe halitosis should be avoided at all costs on this special day, you just might end up kissing someone and thanking me later.

* 4 eggs
* 2 cups sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 cup butter
* 4 ounces baking chocolate
* 1 cup flour


* 8 tablespoons butter
* 2 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
* green food coloring
* 3-4 tablespoons cream
* 1 (6 ounce) package chocolate chips

1. Beat eggs until fluffy.
2. Add sugar and vanilla; beat well.
3. Melt the butter and chocolate and add to the mixture (mixing well).
4. Add flour and stir until smooth.
5. Pour into pan.
6. Bake at 375*F for 25 min (if using 9x12 pan) or for 20 min (if using 15x10 pan).
7. Topping: Mix 4 tablespoons butter, confectioners' sugar, mint, and cream.
8. Add green food coloring.
9. Frost brownies and refrigerate.
10. Chill 1 hour.
11. Top with remaining butter and melted chocolate chips.
12. Refrigerate and cut into squares.

Lover's Fondue

* 6 tablespoons whipping cream
* 3 tablespoons honey
* 7 ounces toblerone bittersweet chocolate, chopped (2 3.52-ounce bars) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
* 1 tablespoon kirsch (clear cherry brandy)
* 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
* fresh fruit (such as whole strawberries, 1-inch-thick slices peeled banana, peeled pear wedges and orange segment)

1. Bring cream and honey to simmer in heavy medium saucepan.
2. Add chocolate; whisk until melted.
3. Remove from heat.
4. Whisk in kirsch and extract.
5. Pour fondue into bowl; place on platter.
6. Surround with fruit.
7. Serve with skewers.
***Or skip the fruit and skewers its Lover's fondue and almond is good for the complexion***

Chocolate Covered Cherries

* 2 cups powdered sugar (you may want to use more to thicken it up, some people have used another cup full)
* 1/4 cup margarine
* 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1 pinch salt
* maraschino cherry, drained
* milk dipping chocolate (I use giridelli's)

1. Combine the first 5 ingredients until well blended and smooth and place in fridge until firm.
2. Meanwhile spread out the drained cherries on a cookie sheet and freeze for at least 1 hours.
3. Scoop out about 1-2 teaspoon of filling and form into a ball around a cherry.
4. Place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and freeze for 1 hr after you have formed them all.
5. Melt dipping chocolate and using your hands dip each cherry placing it on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and chill in fridge until chocolate is solid.
6. Remove cherries carefully as not to break them open and loose the center.
7. Place in an airtight plastic container and keep in a cool dry place for up to 1 month.

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