Grateful that so far we haven’t had the predicted cold winter nor the big snowfall. Our hearts and prayers goes out to Australia and other parts of the world with their environmental disasters.
For February, I always look for chocolate sweets for my column. Still, hop-along Satoye can’t do any baking yet, so Alice Bradley came to my rescue with a lovely batch of great brownies beautifully decorated for Valentine’s Day. Thanks Alice!
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIES
6 Tablespoons butter
6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup cocoa
Line a 9 inch by 9 inch square pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a bowl, set over hot water, stir until melted.
Set aside to cool slightly.
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa, stir well to remove any lumps.
Mix the eggs and sugar into the melted chocolate mix and mix well.
Stir in the vanilla and then the flour mix.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean or with few moist crumbs.
Cool on a rack and remove using the edges of the parchment paper.
To prepare for Valentine’s Day, ice with your favourite chocolate icing and sprinkle the top with a few coloured cake sprinkles or cut the brownies in a small 1-1/2 inch cubes and pipe on a rosette with the icing and top with a few red sprinkles. Alice used a red and white valentine hearts sprinkles picked up at Ming Wo. This really is an eye-appealing work of art! It also tastes fine plain or served with ice cream.
TIRAMISU MOUSSE CHEESECAKE
Having company for Valentine’s Day? An easy, delicious, make-ahead dessert.
1-1/3 Cups Graham wafer crumbs
3 Tbsp. butter melted.
4 pkg. (250 g each) Cream cheese, softened, divided
3/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. brewed strong coffee, cooled, divided.
1/3 cup milk
1 pkg. (4 serving size) vanilla instant pudding
2 cups thawed Cool Whip topping, divided
1/2 sqaure semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely grated
20 fresh rasperries (about 1/2 cup)
Heat oven to 325 degree F.
Mix crumbs and butter; press onto bottom of 13×9 inch pan.
Beat 3 pkgs of cream cheese, sugar and 1 Tbsp. coffee in large bowl with mixer until well blended.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended.
Pour over crust.
Bake 28 min. or until centre is almost set.
Beat remaining cream cream cheese in medium bowl with mixer until creamy.
Add milk and remaining coffee; mix well.
Add dry pudding mix and beat 2 min.
Stir in 1-1/2 cups Cool whip.
Spread over cheesecake; sprinkle with chocolate.
Refrigerate 4 hours.
Garnish with remaining Cool Whip and raspberries just before serving.
MAKES 20 SERVINGS.
VARIATION: Prepare cheesecake as directed. substituting 9 inch springform pan for the 9×13 inch pan and increase baking time to 50-55 min. or until centre is almost set. Run knife around rim of pan to loosen cake, cool completely in pan. Top as directed. This looks stunning. PS: To soften cream cheese—40 seconds in the microwave unwrapped.
SWISS ALPS COOKIES
These snowy-looking meringue cookies hold a surprise.
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp. Cream of tartar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 bars (100 g each) Toblerone Fruit and Nut, chopped.
3 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. icing sugar.
Heat oven to 300 degree F.
Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in large bowl with mixer on high speed 3-5 min or until soft peaks form.
Beat in granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time, until stiff peaks form.
Mix chocolate and flour, gently stir in egg whites.
Drop tablespoons of egg white mixture, 1 inch apart, on to 2 parchment paper-covered baking sheets.
Bake in top and bottom thirds of oven 24 to 26 min or until golden brown rotating baking sheets after 12 min.
Transfer to wire racks, cool completely.
Sprinkle with icing sugar.
Storage: While these cookies are best eaten right away, they can be stored in a tightly-covered container in a cool dry place for up to two days.
Makes 15 servings — 3 cookies each.
HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!