Any excuse to eat chocolate is one I'm happy to induldge. Which is why I like Valentine's Day so much.... Red foil-wrapped chocolates tend to appear on the receptionist's desk at the vet or bank, while whole aisles of the grocery store can be devoted to conversation hearts, chocolate samplers and more.
But I'm also a baker, so I enjoy an excuse to get into the kitchen and craft a yummy concoction that I'd usually avoid making in an effort against waistline expansion. All that goes out the window for one small, glorious 24-hour period called Valentine's Day.
Below, I'll share a pair of my favorite chocolate recipes you can make for your Valentine's Day sweetie, family members or favorite friend. Plus, I'll let you know where in town you can pick up the ingredients. My one caveat is that if you make these treats, I get to come over for a bite.
Where to Buy the Ingredients
I chose to share recipes that aren't too complicated to make, so you shouldn't have trouble finding the ingredients at the local grocer or market in Sudbury. Try Sudbury Farms or Shaws.
This recipe is from CooksIllustrated.com. I always thought truffles would be hard to make, until I came across this recipe. They were easy to make, and tasted delicious rolled in cocoa powder or crushed nuts. See the recipe for visual cues on how to line your pan with parchment paper.
- 2 cups (12 ounces) bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1/2teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces and softened
- 1 cup (3 ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa
- 1/4 cup (1 ounce) confectioners' sugar
- FOR THE GANACHE: Lightly coat 8-inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Make parchment sling by folding 2 long sheets of parchment so that they are as wide as baking pan. Lay sheets of parchment in pan perpendicular to each other, with extra hanging over edges of pan. Push parchment into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing flush to pan.
- Microwave chocolate in medium bowl at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until mostly melted and few small chocolate pieces remain, 2 to 3 minutes; set aside. Microwave cream in measuring cup until warm to touch, about 30 seconds. Stir corn syrup, vanilla, and salt into cream and pour mixture over chocolate. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, set aside for 3 minutes, and then stir with wooden spoon to combine. Stir in butter, one piece at a time, until fully incorporated.
- Using rubber spatula, transfer ganache to prepared pan and set aside at room temperature for 2 hours. Cover pan and transfer to refrigerator; chill for at least 2 hours. (Ganache can be stored, refrigerated, for up to 2 days.)
- FOR THE COATING: Sift cocoa and sugar through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl. Sift again into large cake pan and set aside.
- Gripping overhanging parchment, lift ganache from pan. Cut ganache into sixty-four 1-inch squares (8 rows by 8 rows). (If ganache cracks during slicing, let sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes and then proceed.) Dust hands lightly with cocoa mixture to prevent ganache from sticking and roll each square into ball. Transfer balls to cake pan with cocoa mixture and roll to evenly coat. Lightly shake truffles in hand over pan to remove excess coating. Transfer coated truffles to airtight container and repeat until all ganache squares are rolled and coated. Cover container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week. Let truffles sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Whenever I see flourless chocolate cake on a dessert menu, I pretty much have to order it. Making one at home turned out to be pretty easy too. I coated mine in a thin layer of icing, then added almond slivers to the side and dotted the top with raspberries. This recipe, from KitchenDaily.com, is for the chocoholic in your family.
Flourless chocolate cake
- 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 stick butter, cut into pieces
- 3 tablespoons brandy
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 7 eggs, separated
- 1 cup sugar
- Confectioners sugar or unsweetened cocoa for dusting
- Accompaniment: whipped cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with rack in middle.
- Butter a 9-inch springform pan, then line the pan with parchment. Butter the parchment.
- In a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, melt butter and chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Stir in brandy, vanilla, and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar until pale and light, then whisk in chocolate mixture.
- Beat egg whites and a pinch of salt with an electric mixer until just stiff but not dry. Whisk a spoonful of whites into chocolate mixture, then fold in remaining egg whites until evenly combined without over-mixing.
- Spoon batter into pan and place in oven. Turn heat down to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and bake until top feels just firm and dry to the touch, about one hour. (The top may crack depending on the brand of chocolate used.)
- Cool in pan on a rack. Center of cake will sink slightly while cooling.
- Dust cake with confectioners sugar or cocoa powder. Serve with whipped cream.
Do you have a favorite Valentine's Day sweet you like to make? Tell us what it is in the comments.