Chocolate Desserts for Your Valentine by Jenny Harper

Jenny Harper is Senior Culinary Specialist for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.

It’s true — the kitchen is the heart of the home. Ever notice how people always gather there? Whether baking treats, fixing dinner or spending time with family and friends, the kitchen is my favorite place to be. Since my day job is Senior Culinary Specialist for the Nestlé Test Kitchens, you can bet I love to stir things up. This space lets me pass along to you some of my best recipes, tips and baking secrets.

(Family Features) Chocolate. Just the word on a page makes my mouth water! One of life’s blissful pleasures is a mouthful of fragrant, dark and rich, creamy smooth chocolate. Whether morsels, chunks or bars, no other flavor comforts, soothes and satisfies quite like chocolate.

It’s the favored flavor for sweethearts, family and friends alike. So come Valentine’s Day, the news that dark chocolate contains naturally occurring antioxidants vindicates all chocolate lovers. Research indicates that dark chocolate may benefit heart health.

Turn your everyday chocolate recipes into over-the-edge indulgent desserts with one of the new European-style, premium baking chocolates. Created specifically for deeply chocolate, decadent desserts, they can be used in any recipe that calls for chocolate.

Indulge your passion for chocolate richness by checking out irresistible recipes at www.nestle-chocolatier.com or www.VeryBestBaking.com.

 

DIPPED STRAWBERRIES

Makes 24 strawberries

24 strawberries, rinsed and patted dry

1 bar (8 ounces) Nestlé Chocolatier 62% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar, broken into sections

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

LINE baking sheet with wax paper.

MICROWAVE chocolate and shortening in medium, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power 1 minute; STIR. Pieces may retain some of their original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring until smooth.

HOLD each strawberry by stem or with wooden pick and dip into melted chocolate; shake off excess. Place on prepared baking sheet; refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes.

NOTE: Pretzels, nuts, dried fruit, pound cake, cookies and/or other bite-sized fresh fruit, rinsed and patted dry, can also be used.

Nutrition Information per serving: 60 calories; 35 calories from fat; 4g total fat; 2g saturated fat; 0mg cholesterol; 0mg sodium; 6g carbohydrate; 1g fiber; 4g sugars; 1g protein

 

MOLTEN CHOCOLATE CAKES

Makes 6 servings

2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, divided

1 bar (8 ounces) Nestlé Chocolatier 62% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar, broken into sections

3 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Powdered sugar

 

PREHEAT oven to 425° F. Generously butter six 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups with 2 tablespoons butter.

 

STIR 3/4 cup butter and chocolate in medium, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Beat eggs, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until thick and pale yellow, about 8 minutes. Fold 1/3 of chocolate mixture into egg mixture. Fold in remaining chocolate mixture and flour until well blended. Divide batter evenly among prepared ramekins. Place on baking sheet.

 

BAKE 12 to 13 minutes, or until sides are set and 1-inch centers move slightly when shaken. Remove from oven to wire rack.

TO SERVE, run thin knife around top edge of cakes to loosen slightly; carefully invert onto serving plates. Lift ramekins off of cakes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information per serving: 550 calories; 400 calories from fat; 45g total fat; 26g saturated fat; 280mg cholesterol; 230mg sodium; 36g carbohydrate; 3g fiber; 29g sugars; 8g protein