If Retailers Can Do It, Then So Can I.

Only 35 days ’till Valentine’s people!!!  Have you thought about what you will give your loved ones?!?!

Who cares that you’ve been bombarded with holiday advertising since before Halloween, or that you’ve consumed more calories this past month than you will in the next eleven, or that you are tired of frantically running from one “Biggest Sale of the Season” to the next  trying to land the biggest deal on that ‘special’ gift for every special someone on your list.  There is no time to breathe or relax or come down from the holidays… let’s keep that momentum going… the burden of turning this economy around is in our pockets people!!

Retailers have sucked all the joy out of the holidays.  If you would like to slow the pace down and really give something special to your Valentine, then make these delicious and decadent chocolate confections.  Guaranteed you’ll have them saying “Be Mine.”  ♥

Two flavors of Truffles

Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Truffles
Cinnamon Caramel Dark Chocolate Truffles

I made another batch of these over the weekend, but I have already posted the recipe here.

For the Cinnamon version, I made a second batch of this recipe, added 1 tsp. cinnamon to the 8 oz. melted chocolate in step 1.  And then instead of topping with fleur de sel, I topped with cinnamon.  Next time, I might try rolling the truffles in cinnamon instead of cocoa, prior to the final dipping in chocolate.

Deep Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

2 1/4 cups 1% milk
2 1/4 cups light cream
1 vanilla bean
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/8 cups dark cocoa
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
12 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

In a large saucepan, combine the milk and heavy cream over medium-low heat.  With a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean lenghwise and scrape out the seeds; stir the seeds and pod into the milk/cream mixture.  Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Discard the vanilla bean.

Beat together the eggs and egg yolks.  To that stir in the sugar, cocoa and cinnamon.  Using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Measure out 1 cup of the hot milk/cream mixture.  With the mixer on low, add the cup of hot milk/cream to the cocoa mixture until incorporated.  Stir the chopped chocolate into the hot milk/cream in the saucepan until melted.  Add the cocoa mixture into the sauce and stir.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture has thickened and resembles pudding.  Turn off the heat and stir in the vanilla.  Transfer mixture to a stainless steel bowl, cover with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface of the mixture and refrigerate until completely cooled.

Pour the chilled custard into the freezer bowl, turn on the ice cream maker and process for 25-30 minutes.  The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture.  If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight, freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 2 hours

Two flavors of Caramel Sauce:

Dolce de Leche
Cinnamon Chocolate Dolce de Leche

2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1, 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine sugar and water in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until mixture comes to a boil.  Continue to boil, without stirring for 10-14 minutes (sometimes longer), tilting pan occasionally to keep color even until mixture is a deep amber color.  Turn heat down to low and stir in condensed milk – mixture will foam but do not scrape sides of pan or your caramel will crystallize.  One tablespoon at a time, stir in the butter.  Stir in vanilla and remove from heat.

For the cinnamon version, I removed 1/2 the above mixture to a mason jar, and to the remaining mixture in the saucepan I added 1/2 cup chopped semisweet chocolate and 1 tsp. cinnamon, stir until melted and incorporated.  Serve either over ice cream, cake or fruit.  Once mixture is cooled, you should refrigerate, then reheat for easy pouring when you want to serve.

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts

Recipe here from a previous post, but considering these are the best brownies I have ever had… I thought they should be a part of this Valentine’s collection.


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