Saturday, February 13, 2016

Vintage Chocolate Molds for Valentine's Day

Vintage Valentine Chocolate Molds

I love Vintage Chocolate Molds, and I thought you'd enjoy seeing these Vintage Chocolate Heart Molds for Valentine's Day! Be sure to scroll down to see a vintage chocolate mold for machine guns--perfect for the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.




Chocolate Soufflés for Valentine's Day

There's nothing more romantic and delicious than a Chocolate Souffle right out of the oven. Many years ago a friend and I made a Valentine's Day dinner for our significant others. The four of us were not dining together. My friend and I each made two dishes for four and swapped. I made Coquille St Jacques and Chocolate Soufflés in small ramekins. She made the salad and roasted vegetables. I think she got the easier of the deal. Nevertheless, it was one of my first forays into souffle making, and luckily I chose a recipe that couldn't fail. Both of us compared notes the next day and declared it was one of the best meals we had ever had.

I posted a recipe for Chocolate Soufflé for Bastille Day a few years ago. It's my go-to recipe, adapted from Bon Appetit. It's easy and delicious. But I'm always looking for other souffle recipes. My source for these Valentine's Day individual Chocolate Soufflés is Sunset Magazine. Sunset's been creating great recipes for years.

Valentine's Day Chocolate Soufflés
Makes 6 individual soufflés

Prep and Cook Time: 25 minutes. You can fill the soufflé dishes up to 1 day before baking and chill them (allow up to 5 extra minutes to bake). Here's a helpful hint from Sunset: increase or decrease the number of soufflés with this simple formula: For each soufflé, use 1/2 tsp butter, 1 Tbsp sugar, 1 oz. chocolate, 1 Tbsp milk, 1/2 egg yolk, 1 egg white, and a small pinch of both salt and cream of tartar.

Ingredients
1 Tbsp sweet butter, plus more for dishes
6 Tbsp  sugar, plus more for dishes
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (use the very best quality)*
6 Tbsp milk
3 egg yolks
6 egg whites
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar

The Sunset recipe tops the soufflés with Vanilla Bean Cream, but I use fresh whipped cream or just eat as is. I like to keep it easy.

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°. Generously butter six 8-oz. soufflé dishes. Sprinkle butter with sugar to coat. Put dishes on baking sheet and set aside.
Bring 1 inch of water to boil in medium frying pan. Put chocolate, milk, and 1 Tbsp butter in small metal bowl. Put bowl in water and take pan off heat. Stir occasionally until chocolate melts. Remove bowl from water, mix in egg yolks, and set aside. (you can melt chocolate in a different way, if you'd like, but this is an interesting technique and controls the heat well.)
In large clean bowl, beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in 6 Tbsp sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.
Whisk 1/4 of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture. Fold chocolate mixture into remaining egg whites. Divide mixture evenly among prepared soufflé dishes and bake until set but still soft in center, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately, with whipped cream.
Serve with demitasse spoons to savor every bite.

Remember, you can fill the soufflé dishes up to 1 day before baking and chill them (allow up to 5 extra minutes to bake). 

Photo: Leo Gong, Sunset Magazine

Friday, February 12, 2016

Red Velvet Heart-Shaped Pancakes for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is on Sunday, so you have plenty of time to make these Red Velvet Heart-Shaped Pancakes for your sweetheart! You can make Red Velvet Pancakes from scratch or use a mix. Add a little extra love by using a heart-shaped pancake mold or go freehand, as in the last recipe! Hint: If you use a mold, use several and spray the molds, so the pancakes don't stick.

There are many Red Velvet Pancake Mixes. My favorite Red Velvet Pancake Mix is from The Griddle Cafe. My second choice which is still fab would be the Red Velvet Pancake Mix from Cost Plus World Market which is on sale today 2/11).

Want to make Red Velvet Pancakes from Scratch? Here are three awesome recipes. Let me know which you like best!

1. RED VELVET PANCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE GLAZE 
(Adapted from About.com)

Pancakes:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp Dark cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
8 ounces buttermilk
4 Tbsp sweet butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 tsp white vinegar
2 tsp red liquid food coloring
3/4 cup chocolate chips or dark chocolate chopped into chunks

Extra butter or nonstick cooking spray

Cream Cheese Glaze:
4 ounces light cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp Madagascar vanilla extract
1 Tbsp milk

Directions
Preheat griddle to medium-high heat. In bowl, whisk to combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside.
In separate bowl, whisk eggs, then add milk, buttermilk, butter, vanilla extract, white vinegar and food coloring, whisking to combine completely. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Do not overmix.
Brush some butter or spray nonstick cooking spray on hot griddle, and spoon batter into desired sized pancakes. Cook until bubbles form in batter, the edges are dry and underside is lightly brown, about 5 minutes, then flip over and cook other side 1 to 2 minutes more. Repeat as needed until all batter is used.

As pancakes cook, make cream cheese glaze: 
In small bowl, use fork to stir together cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Add a little milk if needed to make glaze that has thin enough consistency to drizzle.

To serve, stack three pancakes on a plate and drizzle cream cheese glaze over them.

2. BISQUICK RED VELVET PANCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE GLAZE
(recipe from Betty Crocker)


Cream Cheese Topping
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sweet butter, softened
3 Tbsp milk
2 cups powdered sugar

Pancakes 
2 cups Original Bisquick™ mix
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 cup milk
1 to 1 1/2 tsp red paste food color**
2 eggs
Powdered sugar, if desired

Directions 
In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and 3 Tbsp milk with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed until topping is smooth. Cover; set aside.
In large bowl, stir all pancake ingredients except powdered sugar with wire whisk until well blended.
Heat griddle or skillet over medium-high heat (375°F). (To test griddle, sprinkle with a few drops of water. If bubbles jump around, heat is just right.) Brush with vegetable oil if necessary or spray with cooking spray before heating.
For each pancake, pour slightly less than 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbles form on top and edges are dry. Turn; cook other side until golden brown.
Spoon cream cheese topping into resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag. Cut off tiny corner of bag; squeeze bag to drizzle topping over pancakes.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar.


** Do not use liquid red food coloring in this recipe**

3. RED VELVET HEART SHAPED PANCAKES
(recipe from Food Network Kitchen)

Ingredients
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream
3 Tbsp whole milk
2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Fine salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup melted and cooled butter, plus more for griddle
2 tsp red food coloring
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tspapple cider vinegar

Directions
Whisk cream cheese, sour cream, milk, and confectioners' sugar until smooth in medium bowl; set aside. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt into large bowl.
Beat eggs and granulated sugar in another large bowl until pale yellow; beat in buttermilk, melted butter, food coloring, vanilla, and vinegar. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and fold just until incorporated. Transfer some of batter to squeeze bottle with 1/4-inch opening.
Heat griddle or large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Lightly coat hot skillet with melted butter and squeeze some of batter onto it in outline of heart or hearts of desired size. Fill in each outline with more batter; use spatula to spread to edges of heart. Cook each pancake until bubbles begin to pop on the surface, about 3 minutes. Carefully flip and cook until bottom is set and pancake is cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes longer. Repeat with  remaining batter. Drizzle cream cheese mixture and maple syrup on top of pancakes and sprinkle with toasted pecans.


Thursday, February 11, 2016

Valentine's Day Chocolate Heart-Shaped Truffles: Vintage chocolate molds

Valentine's Day is all about Chocolate. I love heart-shaped truffles, and they're easy to make... if you have the right molds. There are silicon heart shaped molds to make these chocolates, but I'm lucky enough to have a few vintage heart-shaped chocolate molds I've found over the years. Scroll down for photos of Vintage Heart-Shaped Chocolate Molds.

So here's yet another recipe for truffles--this time for Valentine Heart-shaped Chocolate Truffles. Of course, you can use any basic truffle recipe and just press into the mold. I usually melt my chocolate and butter in a double boiler, but the microwave works, too.

And, if you have no time to make your own heart shaped truffles, buy Coeurs de truffes from Guyaux! Guyaux was founded in 1931. They produce traditional French-style truffles-in heart shape this time of year--covered with cocoa powder. Guyaux is a family run company, headed by second and third generation chocolate makers in Paris. It's now run by the grand-daughter of the founder. And, if you want to give a really special gift, buy Guyaux truffles in the traditional French Truffle Box! The basket is a replica of the one used historically to store Perigord truffles… which explains the open-weave lid. Ooo-la-la! I will have a post on all their products in the near future. For now, they're available in lots of specialty markets--I picked up a box at my local Pasta Shop! These are definitely my new favorites! So rich and decadent!

Valentine Chocolate Truffle Recipe
Makes 24 chocolate truffles

Ingredients
2 Tbsp sweet butter, chopped coarsely
9 oz Fair-trade organic dark chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 tsp corn syrup
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted for dusting the finished chocolate truffles
You are only limited by your imagination or heart on decorating ideas!

Directions
1. Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler or in saucepan on top of saucepan over simmering water.
2. Remove from heat and add cream and corn syrup. Mix until combined and smooth. If you are adding flavorings add them with the cream (kirsch, bourbon, kahlua, etc???).
3. Pour chocolate truffle filling into heart shaped chocolate mold. Level top with scraper. Put in refrigerator to set.
4. Once firm place in freezer for 5 minutes then push out of mold. Dust with sifted cocoa powder.
5. Store in cool dry place until ready to eat or give as a Valentine's Day gift.

Vintage Valentine Chocolate Molds