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Valentine’s BEST Delights…

Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 ounces white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 pound strawberries with stems (about 20), washed and dried very well

Directions

Put the semisweet and white chocolates into 2 separate heatproof medium bowls. Fill 2 medium saucepans with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowls of chocolate over the water to melt. Stir until smooth. (Alternatively, melt the chocolates in a microwave at half power, for 1 minute, stir and then heat for another minute or until melted.)

Once the chocolates are melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the dark chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Set strawberries on the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries. Dip a fork in the white chocolate and drizzle the white chocolate over the dipped strawberries.

Set the strawberries aside until the chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.

Bittersweet Chocolate Mousse:  

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream

Directions

  1. Finely chop chocolate; reserve. In a double boiler, whisk yolks, sugar, and salt until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch, 2 to 3 minutes. Off heat, quickly whisk in chopped chocolate until melted and cocoa until smooth (mixture will be thick). Cool to room temperature.
  2. In a medium bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Whisk half of whipped cream into room-temperature chocolate mixture. Gently fold in remaining whipped cream with a rubber spatula. Divide mousse among four serving dishes. Chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
  3. Remove mousse from refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with shaved chocolate.

Cook’s Note

To store mousse, place a paper towel under the plastic wrap (without touching mousse) before sealing for refrigeration. The paper towel will absorb the drops of condensation that might otherwise drip onto the surface.

Bittersweet Chocolate Hearts   

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Directions

  1. Cut parchment paper to fit a 9-by-13-by-2-inch pan. Brush vegetable oil in corners and center of the pan, pressing parchment to adhere it. Set aside.
  2. Bring a medium pot of water to a simmer. Place chocolate in a medium stainless-steel bowl; place the bowl over, but not in, the simmering water to melt the chocolate, about 4 to 6 minutes.
  3. Remove chocolate from simmering water. Thoroughly dry bottom of bowl; a drop of water will ruin the chocolate. Pour chocolate into prepared pan. Using a large metal offset (bent-neck) spatula, spread the chocolate evenly over the surface 1/6 inch thick. Freeze until chocolate sets, about 6 minutes.
  4. Working quickly, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter (3 1/4 inches across at widest point), to cut out six chocolate hearts. If chocolate begins to soften, return to freezer for several minutes. Run an offset spatula under the hearts, and place in a container. Cover and freeze until ready to use, up to 2 weeks.
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