Friday, February 14, 2014

Chocolatey love

Friends-giving or Love-giving, Valentine's is a wonderful time to laugh a little, love a lot, be grateful for the people in your life.

I like celebrating with chocolate. 

The decadent molten darkness is just too good. 
I want to crown it Nectar of Happiness.

Everyone should have a bar, a stash, some slivers - on their person at all times. 
You never know when you need to celebrate.  

And if you should ever have excess chocolate lying around (I don't know why you would, honestly), here are a couple of sweet ideas you can use them in:


Martha Stewart is a kitchen goddess.
I love the glistening, dripping chocolate ganache in this creation, it looks irresistible and tastes amazing. 

But this torte is not for the faint-hearted. 

It packs a decadent punch, and my version below uses bitter chocolate - be prepared for a bit of bittersweet nosebleed (so worth it)!

You can see the greedy baker that I am at work  -
double-stacked cake layers instead of the skinnier
torte Martha meant it to be!


This pie needs a bit of an age clearance, a grown-up's pie if you will ;)

I'm not usually fond of Bailey's - as a drink. 

But its signature milky sweetness works beautifully in desserts, imparting a soft richness that works nicely with my usually (deliberately) under-sweetened cake bases.

This luscious pie recipe is from She Wears Many Hats
I've just swopped the Bailey's Caramel for Bailey's Mint in mine below, and you can use a graham base or an oreo base - both are equally scrumptious. 

Add whatever toppings/decor you like after
the pie's set in the fridge for a while and semi-firm,
so they don't sink under Titanic-style.


These little darlings make perfect gifts, and are oh-so-versatile.

You can make these out of cake or brownies, just crumble and roll.

And of course, for that special Valentine's day touch - a good splash of rum. 
Mmm yum...

The alcohol acts as the binder in these balls, and I like to add mix it up with a bit of Bailey's as well. The sweetness balances the slightly edgy taste of the rum, and you get a good ball of happiness at the end. 

Substitute with Grand Marnier or Cointreau - all good.

> How to make cake balls

Pick sprinkles/toppings that contrast well with the dark
chocolate. Sanding sugar sprinkles and white sugar granules
are a no-no - they sink into the chocolate and disappear.

In a tin, lined up in a box, on a tray - these
lil' rum balls are delightful and delicious. 


I love making chocolate chip shortbread. 

The kitchen smells heavenly as it bakes. 
The recipe is forgiving (dosen't seize up and sulk if my measurements are a bit off!).
Keeps so well.
And I just love the slight crunchy buttery chocolate bite.

Our weather is harsh on desserts. 
Heat and humidity: bitter bedfellows for cakes, buttercream, fondant, trifles - you name it. 

Shortbread though, holds up beautifully. 
Shortbread doesn't sweat it (yes, literally).

The recipe I use is from one of my baking books Mmm Chocolate, a little hard to transport it here. But this recipe from the Food Network is very similar, and will set you straight.

Chocolate chips with chocolate ganache - what's not to like?

Hope you'll get to try some of these out this Valentine's Day - chocolate is the source of universal happeiness ;)

Oh and if you're enjoying these at home, dig in to Spotify's Valentine's playlists to set the mood.
Extra sweet ;)

Other sweet bakes you might like:
> Red velvet cake
> Sweet, sweet strawberries
> Sugar & spice, all things nice

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