By JAN MAIN
We are having an old-fashioned winter – plenty of snow and cold!
However, these recipes are designed to warm your heart, tantalize your taste buds and brighten up the bleakest winter day in order to say, Happy Valentine’s!
Homemade Hot Chocolate
This recipe courtesy of the Toronto Home Economics Association, written by Valentia Ablaev, is sure to warm you up especially if your are planning an outdoor activity this Feb. 14th or over the weekend before it.
1/4 cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 mL) unsweetened cocoa
4 cups (1 L) milk of your choice
1/2 cup (125 mL) semisweet chocolate, (chips or shavings)
1/2 tsp (2 mL) vanilla
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cinnamon
In a medium saucepan whisk together sugar and cocoa powder until smooth. Gradually whisk in milk, chocolate chips and vanilla until well blended.
Cook over medium heat just until boiling whisking continually until all the chocolate melts and is well blended. Check milk temperature, it should be hot but not scalding, spoon into mugs and served with marshmallows and /or whipped cream for a special treat. Makes 4 servings.
Gluten Free Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cookies
These tasty morsels are truly “child’s play” to make (children would love to contribute to their production!) with a decadent taste of chocolate and peanut butter and just a little sugar, they make a simple treat for a Valentine’s activity (although, they are yummy anytime!)
1 large egg
1/2 cup (125 mL) natural peanut butter with or without nuts
1/2 cup (125 mL) almond flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
1 100 g 70% dark chocolate bar, finely chopped
Sprinkle of sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 (180 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In mixing bowl, beat egg, add peanut butter, almond flour, sugar and baking powder. Beat together until well combined. Stir in chopped chocolate.
Scoop 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of mixture, shape into ball and arrange on baking sheet leaving about 1 inch (2.5 cm) between each cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt.
Bake about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on rack.
Makes about 15 cookies.
Chocolate Raspberry Cake
Dense, chocolatey and rich, this is the ultimate celebration cake.
8 oz (250 grams) 70% dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup (250 mL) soft butter
1 1/2 cups (375 mL granulated sugar
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla or raspberry liqueur
1/2 cup (125 mL) seedless raspberry jam
Garnish: Raspberries, icing sugar.
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup (125 mL) sifted icing sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) raspberry liqueur or vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F (180 C). Line 9- inch (23 cm) springform pan with parchment paper.
Tip: Melting chocolate can be a tricky business. If heat is too intense, chocolate will not melt properly and will clump. Use the indirect method described below:
In a small mixing bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt chopped chocolate.
In mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat butter with sugar until fluffy and pale yellow in colour, about 3 minutes.
Beat in eggs one at a time until combined. Beat in flour and salt. Gradually beat in melted chocolate and vanilla.
Pour batter into prepared pan spreading it evenly with a knife. Place teaspoonfuls of jam over the surface of the cake.
Using a knife, cut through the batter in a zig zag pattern, this will distribute the raspberry jam throughout the batter.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until edges are firm, center is still soft but starting to set. Cool on a rack. The cake will firm up as it cools.
Once cool, sift icing sugar over surface of cake. Place cake on serving platter and surround cake with fresh raspberries.
Whipping Cream: In a deep mixing bowl or yogurt container, using electric beaters, beat cream until soft peaks. Gradually beat in icing sugar until stiff peaks form; stir in liqueur or vanilla.
Spoon whipped cream into serving bowl. Cover; and refrigerate until ready to serve. May be assembled several hours in advance.
To serve, cut cake into 8 equal wedges and accompany with a dollop of whipped cream. Makes 8 servings.