Valentine’s Day

I have been a non-believer in Valentines Day for as long as I can remember. Surprising because there is typically an outburst of pink things everywhere you go. I have just stood firm that you should surprise and spoil your loved ones on a spur of the moment basis, not because there is a commercialized push to do so. My love decided to use his philosopher tactics and convince me that it is actually ok to relish in Valentines Day and it turned out to be a perfect day. Since he made me a delicious dinner (after revisiting our first date together), I took on dessert- Brownies, chocolate mousse and homemade orange ice cream.

Outrageous Brownies

Ingredients:

2 sticks of unsalted butter

8 oz. plus 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided

3 oz. bittersweet chocolate

3 eggs- room temperature

1 ½ TBS instant coffee granules

1 TBS vanilla

1 1/8 cups sugar

1 1/8 cup flour

½ TBS baking powder

½ tsp. salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9×13 or 8×11 pan and set aside.  In a double boiler over simmering water melt the butter, 10 oz of chocolate chips and the unsweetened chocolate.  Allow to cool slightly.  In a large bowl stir the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar.  Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture and bring to room temperature.

Once the mixture has cooled add the flour, baking powder and salt.  Toss the remaining chocolate chips to the batter.  Pour into the pan, evenly distributing the batter.

Bake for 20 minutes, rotate and bake for another 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  You do not want to over-bake these so the toothpick may have a few crumbs.  Allow to cool, cut into heart shapes (required :) ) and enjoy.

Deep Dark Decadent Chocolate Mousse
Adapted from DeliciousHouse

Ingredients
3 oz. bittersweet dark chocolate, (60% or higher), finely chopped
2 TBS cocoa powder
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt

Directions:
1. Over low heat, whisk 4 large egg yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch (2 to 3 minutes). Remove from heat and whisk in 3 oz. chopped bittersweet dark chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted, then mix in 2 tablespoons cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth.

2. With stand mixer and using a chilled bowl and wire whisk, whip 3/4 cup heavy cream until light and fluffy, and soft peaks form (don’t over mix, or you will get butter!). With mixer on low, gently mix in 1/2 of the chocolate. Gently fold in remaining chocolate by hand with a rubber spatula. Divide among serving dishes and chill for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

Orange Ice Cream (Adapted from Joy of Baking)

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream

½ cup half-and-half

2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice

½ cup granulated white sugar

1 TBS  fresh lemon juice

1 TBS orange zest

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Directions:

In a large bowl combine all the ingredients. Cover and place in the refrigerator until it is completely cold (several hours or overnight).

Transfer the mixture to the container of your ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once made, transfer the ice cream to a chilled container and store in the freezer. If the ice cream becomes too hard, place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving so it can soften.

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