Valentine’s Day 1 Day To Go

One more day.. just one more day.. then Valentine’s Day! So.. here is the last of the valentine’s ideas… after this you’re on your own!

Here’s what you’ll need:

Drink:

  • 3/4 oz Captain Morgan’s coconut rum
  • 3/4 oz Godiva Chocolate liqueur
  • 1/4 oz Frangelico hazelnut liqueur
  • 1 splash half-and-half

Combine ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake and strain over ice in an old-fashioned glass. Garnish with whipped

Desert:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter or unsalted margarine
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, or bars, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons flour
  • 8 extra-large paper muffin cups (or use regular paper muffin cups, which will make 12 cakes)
  • Garnish:
  • 1 (6 ounce) container raspberries, barely moistened and rolled in about
  • 1/2 cup sugar right before serving

Melt butter and chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water; remove from heat. Beat eggs, sugar and salt with a hand mixer in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Beat egg mixture into chocolate until smooth. Beat in flour or matzo meal until just combined. (Batter can be made a day ahead; return to room temperature an hour or so before baking.)

Before serving dinner, adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a standard-size muffin tin (1/2 cup capacity) with 8 extra-large muffin papers (papers should extend above cups to facilitate removal). Spray muffin papers with vegetable cooking spray. Divide batter among muffin cups.

Bake until batter puffs but center is not set, 8 to 10 minutes. Carefully lift cakes from tin and set on a work surface. Pull papers away from cakes and transfer cakes to dessert plates.

Top each with sugared raspberries and serve immediately.

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Valentine’s Day 2 Days To Go

Two days to Valentine’s and its getting cold out there. Well, here’s a nice drink for être qui t’est cher (and I hope that translation’s right… check my on this you French majors out there). Let’s get back to warming up that chilly evening…

Here’s what you’ll need:

Drink:

  • 1 oz peppermint schnapps
  • 1/2 oz dark crème de cacao
  • 1 tsp crème de menthe
  • hot chocolate
  • whipped cream

Combine these in a nice mug and top with shaved chocolate.

Desert:

  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees .

Grease 3 – 9 inch round cake pans. In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at time, then stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture. Spread batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool.

Now, I like to empty a can of cherry pie filling, and add a jar of my own cherries preserved in peppermint schnapps, and heat this in a bowl. Use this in between the three layers of cake and top the cake with a little powdered sugar.

 

Valentine’s Day 3 Days TO Go

Valentines, three days to go… yup just three more days awaiting. Are you going to be ready? I’m sure of it. Let’s try a glass of something smooth and silky, and a desert that’s smooth and silky too.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Drink:

  • 2 oz. Baileys Mint Chocolate Irish Cream
  • .5 oz. Smirnoff Vanilla Flavored Vodka

Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass, garnish with fresh mint

Desert:

  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 7 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 7 egg white
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon kirschwasser ( a clear, German cherry brandy)

Place chocolate in a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir occasionally until mostly melted, then remove from heat, and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream to medium stiff peaks, but do not allow it to become grainy. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whip egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in the sugar, and continue whipping to medium stiff peaks. Fold in egg yolks and kirshwasser (optional, but I always like it).

Fold in the melted chocolate until completely incorporated, then fold in whipped cream until evenly blended. Spoon into dessert cups, and chill until firm, about 1 hour. You can serve this in a martini glass also.

Valentine’s Day 4 Days To Go

Four days, yes four days till Valentine’s… let’s toast with… a drink that doubles as desert.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 oz strawberry, vanilla or clear vodka
  • 1/2 oz white crème de cacao
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
  • scoop of chocolate ice cream
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • strawberry for garnish

Pour the ingredients into a blender, Blend until smooth. Pour this into a margarita glass and garnish with strawberries. Wha-la!

If the mix is too thick, add berries or milk; too thin, add a little more ice cream.

Valentine’s Day 5 Days To Go

Ok, here’s my third no-fail valentines day charmer… think warmth… a hot chocolate kiss.. topped with a real kiss no less, and hot chocolate pudding… who can say no to pudding.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Drink:

  • 1 1/2 oz peppermint schnapps
  • 1/2 oz coffee liqueur
  • hot chocolate
  • whipped cream and a Hershey’s Kiss for garnish

Combine the liquors with the hot chocolate in an Irish coffee mug, the top with whipped cream and toss a Hershey’s kiss on top.

Desert:

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/4 cups nonfat or low-fat milk, divided
  • 2/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Lightly beat egg in a medium bowl.

Combine 1 1/2 cups milk, 1/3 cup sugar and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cocoa and cornstarch in a medium bowl. Whisk in the remaining 3/4 cup milk until blended. Whisk the simmering milk mixture into the cocoa mixture. Pour the mixture back into the pan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and glossy, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. I know I know it’s a pain with all the whisking and transferring, but you don’t want too much heat or the mixture will burn quickly.

Whisk about 1 cup of the hot cocoa mixture into the beaten egg. Return the egg mixture to the pan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until steaming and thickened, about 2 minutes. Do not boil. You really need to stay on top of this, its not one of my usual recipes where you can put the thing on auto-pilot and watch the Giants…

Whisk in vanilla. We’re almost there… get those fancy martini glasses and use them to serve the pudding… you could top these with a Hershey’s kiss also… or diced strawberries.

 

Valentine’s Day 6 Days To Go

With a week to go until Valentine’s Day, I’m posting a couple of recipes. This is the second in the series… I like serials, and cereal, but that’s another story. Today’s toast is a chocolate-orange heart warmer, and to seal the deal, a couple of chocolate-orange cookies.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Drink:

  • 1 1/2 oz Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 1 oz. Orange Juice

Shake these together then pour into a champagne saucer filled with crushed ice.

Desert:

  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons freshly grated orange peel or finely chopped candied orange peel

Preheat oven to 375°.

Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. On low speed beat in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Stir in orange peel..

Spray cookie scoop with vegetable pan spray and drop onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 9-12 minutes. Remove from sheet and cool on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.

If you don’t think cookies will melt her heart… wait till tomorrow’s post.

Valentine’s Day 7 days to go…

With a week to go until Valentine’s Day, I’m posting a couple of recipes. The way to the heart goes through the stomach. With that in mind, here is a pairing, a drink before dinner and a desert afterward. The main course I will leave to you imagination. Maybe I’ll focus on the main course next year. In the meantime here’s our first drink / desert pairing: Bill’s ‘special’ chocolate milk, and double chocolate cupcakes.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Drink:

  • 1 oz. Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
  • 1 oz. Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1 oz. Kahlua
  • 3 oz. Milk

Combine these with ice, shake, and pour into a Collins glass

Desert:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup 1% low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 1/4 ounces dark (70 percent cocoa) chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir with a whisk.

Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well combined (about 3 minutes). Add egg substitute and vanilla, beating well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to granulated sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in chocolate. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups lined with muffin cup liners. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly in center or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan; cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.

If the cupcakes fail to work their magic… try some more ‘chocolate milk’.