Creating a tasty Valentine's treat
Tuesday is Valentine’s Day, so it’s a bit late to offer you any recipes with which to celebrate this red-letter day that require ingredients you’re not likely to have in the cupboard. These are pretty simple ideas that can be made at the last minute.
And, they don’t have to be made only for the one day—they’re great to celebrate any occasion.
That’s one thing about good chocolate desserts—and I love chocolate; dark chocolate—it’s not an occasion without a bit of good chocolate around, and one good recipe can be adapted for other occasions.
For instance, I made the Chocolate Sweet Hearts for Christmas last year, except they became Christmas trees, all decked out with colourful sugar balls.
And the chocolate fondue is ideal for your loved one’s birthday, or for a family celebration, whether that’s a graduation, a new job, a house-warming or an anniversary.
I’ve found that some favourites have become traditional in our family as a way of celebrating particular occasions, and I get a slap on the wrist if I forget.
So, don’t lose those favourite recipes, even if you only make it once a year, or you may not be forgiven easily.
That’s one reason I wanted to put some of my favourite recipes into a book to pass on to my children, and my readers, so those scraps of paper with much-loved, smudged recipes on them don’t get lost.
You can pick up your copy of Jude’s Kitchen wherever books are sold. Locally, it’s available at Mosaic Books, Chapters, the B.C. Wine Museum, Calona Vineyards, Discover Wines, Quails’ Gate Estate Winery and many other places.
It also includes wine tips for many of the recipes from renowned wine writer John Schreiner.
Dark Chocolate Fondue with Orange Liqueur
This recipe originated from the book for my beloved Oster electric fondue pot, but I’ve made a few little changes to it over the years.
9 oz. (250 g) semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 c. (125 ml) heavy cream
2 tbsp. (30 ml) orange brandy or liqueur
Heat chocolate and cream in the fondue pot on high, or on medium-high heat on your stove, stirring occasionally,
When well-mixed, and just before serving, add the orange brandy or orange liqueur and stir in to heat.
Turn the heat down to low when serving.
Serve with dippers such as squares of angel food cake, plain doughnuts, bananas, apples, papayas, melons, peaches or pears; sections of oranges; whole grapes, cherries, pitted dates or strawberries.
Chocolate Sweet Hearts
These are crisp and rich and chocolately, perfect for your favourite valentine, but this dough is a little bit difficult to work with. Don't try to roll it out too thin or it will just stick to your board and tear.
1 c. (250 ml) butter
1 1/2 c. (375 ml) flour
1 c. (250 ml) icing sugar
1/3 c. (75 ml) cocoa
Pre-heat oven to 300 F.
Soften the butter, then cream it.
Whisk flour, sugar and cocoa and gradually mix into butter to form a soft dough.
Chill the dough, in thirds, if it seems too soft to roll out.
Roll out a third of the dough on a lightly-floured board to about 1/8-inch in thickness.
Cut out with a heart-shaped cookie cutter and put on an ungreased cookie sheet. (If decorating with coloured sugar sprinkles or candy hearts, you may wish to do so before baking.)
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Cool a bit before removing from the pan.
These can be decorated with piped frosting or with candy hearts or red and white sugar sprinkles, or a combination of all those.
Makes about 3 dozen cookies, but that depends on the size of your cookie cutter.