Use the freezer to keepBy Reagan Walker
dessert delights on hand
Cox News Service
From Patricia Lousada's
"Ultimate Chocolate" cookbook
The easiest frozen dessert is an excellent
chocolate ice cream served in a beautiful glass
dish. Dress the confection with elegantly piped
designs, made using the method
Here's a Valentine's tip from Cupid: Keep a chocolate dessert in the freezer for any time you need to thaw out your love life.
Chocolate's reputation as an aphrodisiac dates back centuries. Legend has it that the Aztec king Montezuma so believed in its arousal powers he drank 50 golden goblets of it daily. And Casanova is said to have rated it above champagne for its seductive qualities.
"I would say 90 percent of the people in the world are chocolate lovers," said Elinor Klivans, author of "Bake and Freeze Chocolate Desserts." "And the rest, I feel sorry for."
If the kitchen isn't the romantic setting you had in mind for the better part of Valentine's Day, Klivans' strategy is for you.
Prepare a simple meal, but then bring it to an elaborate finish -- with a fabulous but easy chocolate creation using semisweet chocolate chips, unsweetened cocoa powder, white chocolate or chocolate-covered candy bars. Your sweetheart will wonder how you did it.
"I like to bake, but I don't like to bake under pressure," Klivans said. "So when it's raining or when I really want to spend an afternoon in the kitchen, I bake ahead."
Klivans first discovered freezing tricks when she worked as the only pastry chef at a restaurant in her home state of Maine. In order to take a vacation, she needed to leave some desserts behind for use in her absence.
She advises using a good all-purpose chocolate rather than an expensive brand, which is more likely to get chalky when frozen.
Here are her three basic rules for freezing chocolate desserts.
Cool desserts completely before wrapping and freezing, to prevent frost from forming between the wrapping and dessert.
Wrap carefully, first in plastic, then in aluminum foil.
Defrost with the wrapping on, so any sweat that forms will lift with the wrapping.
Can chocolate really affect our mood? Klivans says there are a number of scientific studies that show how chocolate stimulates the brain. To test this theory for yourself, imagine a large slice of chocolate cake with dark chocolate frosting. "Think about it a second and you'll start to salivate."
Triple chocolate cakeFrom Geraldine Hall of De Leon, Fort Worth Star-Telegram1 (4-serving size) package instant chocolate puddingPreheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and mix until blended, about 2 minutes. Pour into greased tube pan or 2 loaf pans and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Don't overbake. Cool for 15 minutes before removing cake from pan. Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve with a scoop of frozen yogurt. Makes 16 servings.
1-3/4 cups milk
1 package chocolate cake mix with no pudding
12-ounce package chocolate chips
Nutritional analysis per serving: 378 calories, 14 grams fat, 43 milligrams cholesterol, 318 milligrams sodium.*
CHOCOLATE and cherries are a delicious combination for Valentine's Day. Chocolate cherry mini cakes are made with unsweetened cocoa, miniature semisweet chocolate chips and low-fat buttermilk. Whole-grain oats are added for a nutlike flavor and texture.
Chocolate cherry mini cakesFrom Quaker Oats Co.1-1/3 cups all-purpose flourHeat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 12 medium muffin cups or heart-shaped muffin cups with cooking spray.
1 cup oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg or 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
8-ounce jar cherry preserves or fruit spread
Fat-free vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt (optional)
In large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, chocolate chips, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well.
In small bowl, combine buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla; blend well. Add to dry ingredients all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not overmix.)
Fill muffin cups half full. Spoon 1 teaspoon cherry preserves in center of each; top with remaining batter. Bake 16 to 19 minutes or until tops of cakes spring back when lightly touched. (Do not overbake.)
Cool cakes in pan on wire rack 5 minutes; remove from pan.
Meanwhile, heat remaining cherry preserves in small saucepan. Spoon warm cherry sauce over cakes and serve with a small scoop of ice cream, if desired. Makes 12 cakes.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 230 calories, 7 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 20 milligrams cholesterol, 180 milligrams sodium.*
WHAT could be sweeter than white chocolate and raspberries for Valentine's Day? These perfect partners are combined for a lovely parfait.
White chocolate mousseFrom Oregon Raspberry & Blackberry Commission
with red raspberry coulisFor raspberry sauce:For the raspberry sauce, combine undrained berries and lemon juice in processor or blender; puree. Strain, pressing with back of spoon. Add sugar, cornstarch, water and liqueur; blend well. Place in saucepan over medium heat; bring to boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and continue stirring 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen raspberries in syrup
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or other liqueur (optional)
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup milk
5 ounces white chocolate (such as Tobler or Bakers), broken up
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
For the mousse, in a glass measuring cup, sprinkle gelatin over cold water and allow mixture to soften for 1 to 2 minutes. Cook on high (100 percent power) for 20 to 40 seconds and allow to stand for 2 minutes, or until granules are completely dissolved. (Alterna-tively, place cup in a bowl of hot water and stir until dissolved.)
Bring milk to the simmering point. Remove from heat and add white chocolate. Stir occasionally until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Blend gelatin into chocolate mixture and refrigerate until slightly thickened but not gelled, about 10 minutes.
Whip cream until stiff and peaks hold shape. Fold white chocolate mixture into whipped cream.
Alternate layers of mousse with raspberry sauce into 4 tall parfait glasses. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours. To serve, garnish with partially frozen whole berries, or fresh if available. Makes 4 servings.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 720 calories, 44 grams fat, 131 milligrams cholesterol, 76 milligrams sodium.*
MADE with fat-free egg whites -- bypassing all the fat in the yolk -- meringue cookies are a great way to enjoy a sweet treat. This recipe is from the American Dietetic Association's web site, located at http://www.eatright.org/
Chocolate candy bar meringues3-1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powderPreheat oven to 275 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil. In small bowl, sift together cocoa powder, powdered sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup egg whites (about 3 to 4)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 ounces chocolate-covered candy bars, cut into small pieces (about 3/4 to 1 cup)
Beat egg whites at medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add granulated sugar and continue to beat until whites are stiff and glossy and sugar is dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add vanilla; mix well. Gently fold in cocoa mixture and candy pieces. Drop batter by heaping teaspoons onto baking sheets. Bake about 1 hour or until almost firm to touch. Reverse position of pans after 30 minutes to ensure even baking. Makes 24 cookies.
Approximate nutritional analysis per cookie (using chocolate-covered candy bars with nougat and caramel center): 49 calories, 1 gram fat, no cholesterol.*
Valentine fantasyIsle-born Stanton Ho, 14-year executive pastry chef at the Las Vegas Hilton, is featured demonstrator and confectioner at Fantasies in Chocolate. Chocolatier magazine named Ho among the Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America in 1994 and 1995.
The Fantasies event features all-you-can-eat chocolate cakes, candies, pies, ice cream and other delectables:
Place: Hilton Hawaiian Village
Date: Feb. 22, from 11:30 a.m. for special benefactors, 1 to 3 p.m. for general admission
Tickets: $25 general; $55 special benefactors, including continental brunch, one hour of sampling before doors open to the public, and Ho's demonstration/sampling of chocolate ginger mousse, pot de creme and derby tart. Proceeds benefit Hawaiian Humane Society
Reservations: 946-2187, Ext. 213
Vintage experience: Twenty-one isle farmers cultivate rich, rare Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate, from America's only cocoa grower. R. Field Wine Company sells Hawaiian Vintage's dark, bittersweet Keaau estate pistoles -- raised in rain-forest country -- for $9 per quarter-pound. Fuller, richer Kona estate pistoles -- grown on sunny slopes -- cost $10.50 per quarter-pound. They're also available at The Coffee Co. at Aloha Tower Marketplace, Coffee Works at Ward Warehouse, European Village at Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. Call 735-8494.
More ways to indulge
Truffles: Savor new heart-shaped truffles for $1.75 each and champagne truffles in $15 boxes at Williams Sonoma Ala Moana. Or indulge in Alan Wong's popular Hawaiian Vintage Chocolate truffles in 11 smash flavors -- chile, dark chocolate, ginger, Ka'u orange, Kona espresso, lemongrass, lilikoi, macadamia, macadamia praline, mint, pineapple. They're 1.50 apiece at Liberty House stores, in gift boxes of four and 16 pieces.
Be my Valrhona: Pinched for time, but you want to share lovin' from the oven? Try Valrhona chocolate-laced mixes for devil's food cake, chocolate hazelnut torte and matching frostings, for $8.50 or $9 each at Williams Sonoma Ala Moana.
Baker's Catalogue: In the market for El Rey Venezuelan chocolates ($8.95), Merckens Yucatan dark chocolate ($9.95), Van Leer bittersweet chocolate ($49.95) or Schokinag cappuccino bar ($65)? They're among a myriad items in a free, 56-page Baker's Catalogue of Norwich, Vt. Order at (800) 827-6836.