CONSUMED WITH LOVE
These chocolate treats add sweetness to Valentine’s Day
Imagine a homemade Valentine’s gift brimming with chocolate — each morsel made with loving attention. Sweet indulgences made with affection. What better way to say, “Be My Valentine”?
Years ago, I asked Carole Bloom, a cookbook author, teacher and chocolate authority, about chocolate’s allure. She told me it contains a chemical that creates the same chemistry in the brain as when people are in love, a feeling of euphoria.
We all might benefit from some chocolate-induced cranial jubilation. Also factor in the ghost of Christmas past may have stacked up holiday bills yet to be reckoned with. An expensive gift might well be out of the question. A scrumptious chocolate treat sounds like the ticket.
Chocolate pots de crème remain a favorite at our house. These indulgent little “pots of cream” are traditionally made in little cups with lids designed for the custards; with the lids intact, the pots de crème cups sit in a hot water bath inside the oven. The lids prevent splashes from spoiling the luscious contents. But if you don’t have the little lidded cups, try a user-friendly approach thought up by the chefs at America’s Test Kitchen: Cook the chocolate custard on the stovetop, then pour it into individual 5-ounce cups or ramekins. Easy.
Or if you prefer, try a chocolate éclair cake, a revised, fromscratch version of an old-fashioned icebox cake. A 9-by-13-inch baking pan is lined with graham crackers, then half of a pudding-andwhipped cream mixture is spooned on top. Another layer of graham crackers is added, then a second layer of the pudding mixture. A final layer of graham crackers is topped with a chocolate glaze made with semisweet chocolate chips, light corn syrup and heavy cream. Oh boy — it tastes downright decadent. A nostalgic spoonful of lusciousness.
Chef Michael Owens, director of food services at Bracken’s Kitchen, creates moon pie cookies — buttery, marshmallow fluffstyle filling sandwiched between dark chocolate cakelike discs. Some might argue that these rich cookies should be dubbed whoopie pies, but whatever you choose to call them, few could argue about their delectability.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Enjoy this annual hall pass for a little chocolate binge.