Northwest NEWS

February 4, 2002

Home & Garden

Dining In: Sweet treats for Valentine's Day

Chocolate Dream Torte
   1 package chocolate cake mix
   1 package (6 oz.) milk chocolate chips, melted
   1 (8 oz.) container frozen nondairy whipped topping, thawed
   1 can cream cheese frosting
   Chocolate shavings*
   Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare, bake and cook cake according to package directions for two 8-inch round baking pans.
   For chocolate hearts garnish, pour melted chocolate chips into heart shaped molds or spread melted chocolate to 1/8-inch thickness on waxed-paper-lined baking sheet. Cut shapes with heart cookie cutter when chocolate begins to set and lose its shines. Refrigerate until firm. Push heart shapes out of molds and refrigerate.
   To assemble torte, split each cake layer in half. Place one split layer on serving plate. Spread 1/3 of whipped topping on one layer. Repeat with remaining layers, making sure to place bottoms of each layer together, leaving top of cake plain.
   Frost sides and top of cake with frosting. Garnish with chocolate hearts and shavings if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
   Makes 12 servings.
   *How to make chocolate shavings: Start with a large block or bar of good quality chocolate. White and milk chocolate are softest and curl most easily. Hold the chocolate with a paper towel and using a vegetable peeler, shave the narrowest side of the block. The chocolate will curl best if the room or the air is slightly warm. Keep refrigerated in a covered container until needed.
  
   Banana Fanana Splits
   1 (1 oz.) square unsweetened chocolate, cut up
   1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
   1 tsp. milk
   1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
   3/4 c. coarsely chopped strawberries
   1 Tbsp. lemon juice from concentrate
   5-6 large bananas, peeled and halved lengthwise
   1 pint chocolate ice cream
   1 pint vanilla ice cream
   1 pint strawberry ice cream
   Toppings: pressurized whipped topping, chopped nuts and or maraschino cherries.
   For chocolate sauce, in medium sized saucepan, melt chocolate with 2/3 c. (one half 14 oz. can) of the sweetened condensed milk. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Cool.
   For strawberry sauce, combine remaining 1/2 can sweetened condensed milk, strawberries and lemon juice. In banana split dishes or individual serving dishes, arrange bananas and scoops of ice cream. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and strawberry sauce. Top with toppings as desired.
   Makes 5-6 large servings.
  
   Chocolate Caramel Fondue
   3 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
   1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
   1 (12 -1/4 oz.) jar caramel ice cream topping
   Dippers: Fresh fruit and/or cookies, pound cake pieces or angel food cake pieces.
   In medium saucepan, melt chocolate with sweetened condensed milk and caramel topping. Pour into serving bowl or individual cups. Serve with desired dippers.
   Makes 2-1/2 cups.
  
   Raspberry Swirl Cheesecakes
   1-1/2 c. fresh or thawed lightly sweetened loose pack frozen red raspberries
   1(14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
   2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
   3 eggs
   2 (6 oz.) purchased chocolate flavored crumb pie crusts
   Chocolate and white chocolate leaves and/or fresh raspberries, optional
   Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In blender container, blend 1-1/2 c. raspberries until smooth; press though sieve to remove seeds. Stir 1/3 c. of the sweetened condensed milk into sieved raspberries; set aside. With mixer, beat cream cheese, eggs and remaining sweetened condensed milk in large bowl. Spoon into crusts. Drizzle with raspberry mixture. With table knife, gently swirl raspberry mixture through cream cheese mixture.
   Bake 25 minutes or until center is nearly set when shaken. Cool and cover; chill at least 4 hours. Garnish with chocolate leaves and/or raspberries if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.
  
   Brownie Gems
   1 package double fudge brownie mix
   1/3 c. vegetable oil
   2 eggs
   2 Tbsp. water
   28 chocolate kisses, unwrapped
   1 container vanilla or milk chocolate frosting
   Preheat oven to 350. Spray (1-3/4 inch) mini-muffin pans with vegetable cooking spray. Combine brownie mix, oil, eggs, water and fudge packet in large bowl; stir with spoon until well blended, about 50 strokes. Drop 1 heaping tsp. of batter into each muffin cup; top with candy kiss. Cover candy with additional teaspoon of brownie batter. Bake 15-17 minutes or until set. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Carefully loosen brownie muffins from pan. Remove to cooling racks. Cool completely. Frost with vanilla or milk chocolate frosting. Garnish as desired.
   Makes about 28 brownies. Gems.
  
   I'm Nuts About You Chocolate Truffles
   1 can milk chocolate frosting
   2-1/2 c. confectioners sugar
   1 c. pecan halves, divided usage
   1 c. semisweet chocolate chips
   3 Tbsp. shortening
   Combine frosting and sugar in large mixing bowl. Stir until thoroughly blended. Chop 1/3 c. pecans, set aside. Cover each remaining pecan with 1 Tbsp. frosting mixture. Roll into 1-inch balls; set aside.
   Place chocolate chips and shortening in microwave safe bowl. Microwave at medium (50% power) for 2 minutes; stir. Microwave additional 30 seconds intervals, if necessary; stir until smooth. Dip one candy ball into chocolate mixture until completely covered. Allowing excess chocolate to drip; remove with candy dipping fork or slotted spoon to waxed-paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle top with chopped pecans. Repeat until all candy balls are covered. Refrigerate 5 to 10 minutes or allow to stand until chocolate mixture is set.
   Makes about 3 dozen truffles.
  
   Gourmet Fudge Truffle Brownies
   1 package walnut brownie mix
   1 Tbsp. milk
   1 Tbsp. butter
   2/3 c. semisweet chocolate chips, divided usage
   Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare and bake brownies according to package directions. Allow to cool 30 minutes or refrigerate 15 minutes.
   For truffle layer: In microwave-safe bowl, combine milk, butter and 1/3 c. chocolate chips. Heat on high power for 20-30 seconds. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth. Spread over top of cooled brownies.
   For glaze: In separate microwave-safe bowl, heat remaining chocolate chips on high power for 20-30 seconds. Drizzle melted chocolate over top truffle layer. Chill before serving.
   Makes 16 brownies.
  
   Peanut Butter Fudge
   1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)
   1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
   2 (6 oz.) packages white chocolate squares or white baking bars, chopped
   3/4 c. chopped peanuts.
   1 tsp. vanilla extract
   Line 8-inch square pan with foil, extending foil over edges. Butter foil; set aside.
   In large saucepan, heat sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter over medium heat until just bubbly, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in white chocolate until smooth. Immediately stir in peanuts and vanilla.
   Pour into prepared pan; spread evenly. Cool. Cover and chill 2 hours or until firm. Use foil to lift out of pan. Sprinkle with additional chopped peanuts if desired. Cut into squares. Store covered in refrigerator.
   Makes about 64 pieces.
  
   Cappucino Caramels Royale
   1 c. (2 sticks) butter
   2 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate, cut up.
   2-1/4 c. packed brown sugar
   1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
   1 c. light corn syrup
   1 Tbsp. instant coffee crystals
   1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts, optional
   Line 8 inch square baking pan with foil. Extending foil over edges of pan. Butter foil; set aside.
   In heavy 3 quart saucepan, melt 1 c. butter and chocolate. Stir in brown sugar, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup and coffee crystals. Clip candy thermometer to side of pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thermometer registers 248. Mixture should boil at moderate, steady rate over entire surface. Reaching firm ball stage should take 15-20 minutes.
   Remove from heat. Remove thermometer. Immediately stir in nuts if desired. Quickly pour into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Cool.
   When candy is firm, use foil to lift candy out of pan. Use buttered knife to cut into squares. Wrap each square in plastic wrap or place in candy cups if desired.
   Makes about 64 pieces.