The astute among you will notice the subtle change in the header. Although the domain name remains the same, Christie’s Corner has been replaced by The Messy Baker. Baby steps, Charmian. Baby steps. The new domain name and layout are coming. Just slowly. There’s a lot of tech involved and that always takes more time and chocolate than I imagined. My eyelids are quivering and I’m not sure if that’s from hours of staring at a computer screen or fuelling myself with caffeine and cocoa beans. Regardless, stay tuned for changes.
I don’t normally celebrate Valentine’s Day, but am going to make an exception this year. I’ve been sitting on some news and think Valentine’s Day is a great chance to share the love. The Messy Baker is going to arrive in bookstores in Spring 2014. Yes, that’s later than originally planned, but it’s going to be published in Canada via HarperCollins Canada and the US / rest of the English-speaking world via Rodale. I’m still in shock.
Anyway, let’s celebrate with chocolate. I’ve two recipes for you. One is a newly created, ultra-decadent, romantic French dessert scaled down for two. The other is a healthy, family-friendly treat for those with real kids or just a very persistent inner child. It’s one of my favourites and courtesy of Mairlyn Smith.
So get out the baking chocolate, find a few extra dish cloths to mop up the spills, and say I love you with food.
Two Chocolate Valentine’s Day Recipes
Pots de Crème for Two
|Meal type||Baked Goods, Dessert|
|Misc||Gourmet, Serve Cold|
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 1/2oz good quality dark chocolate, chopped (at least 75% cocoa)
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- whipped cream
- chocolate shavings
|Preheat the oven to 325°F and place a rack in the centre of the oven.|
|In a small, heavy bottomed pan, bring the cream to a gentle simmer over medium heat. You know the cream is ready when small bubbles form at the edges. Remove the pan from the heat, add the chocolate and stir gently until the chocolate has melted. Set aside to cool slightly.|
|In a bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar until pale yellow and slightly thick. In a slow, steady stream, pour the warm chocolate custard into the yolks, whisking the yolks as you pour. Whisk in the vanilla.|
|Divide the chocolate custard evenly between two ramekins (4-ounce ramekins are ideal but you can use tea cups or any small oven-proof bowl). Place the filled ramekins in a baking dish. Pour hot water into the dish to come half way up the sides of the ramekins to create a water bath. Cover the dish loosely with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes. The timing varies with the size of ramekin. The pots de crème are done with the edges are firm but thee centres jiggle when gently shaken.|
|Remove the ramekins from the water bath and let them cool. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the cooled custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight. |
|Just before serving, whip the remaining 1/2 cup cream. You can add a 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and some sugar if you wish, but plain cream is classic. Place a generous dollop of whipped cream in the centre of the pot de creme, sprinkle with some chocolate shavings and serve immediately.|
Triple-Chocolate Brownie Cookies
|Prep time||10 minutes|
|Cook time||18 minutes|
|Total time||28 minutes|
|Dietary||Dairy-Free, Healthy Choice, Vegetarian|
|Meal type||Baked Goods, Snack|
|From book||Healthy Starts Here!: 140 Recipes that Will Make You Feel Great by Mairlyn Smith. Published by Whitecap, 2011.|
- 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup natural cocoa powder
- 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips with at least 60% cocoa mass or chocolate chunks with at least 70% cocoa mass
- 2 tablespoons wheat germ
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
|Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.|
|Beat together the brown sugar, oil, honey, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl using electric beaters until the batter is creamy, about 3 minutes. |
Beat in the cocoa powder gently. Warning: turn those beaters to full throttle and you'll be a cocoa-covered mess in seconds. Start beating on low speed, then increase the speed once the cocoa has been incorporated. Beat for 1 minute.
Stir together the flour, cocoa nibs, chocolate chips, wheat germ, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Add the flour mixture to the cocoa mixture, and blend until well mixed, about 1 minute. The batter will be sticky.
|Drop the batter by rounded teaspoonfuls (10 mL), or use a mini-scoop, onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Bake until the outside of the cookies is crunchy looking and they have puffed up, 8 to 10 minutes. Don’t overbake these morsels. There aren’t a lot of things that taste worse than burnt chocolate; okay, I can name three, but that’s for another day. My oven bakes these perfectly in exactly 9 minutes.|
|Let the cookies cool slightly on the baking sheet before removing them and letting them cool completely on a wire rack. (Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 2 months.)|