Here is one of the all-time great Valentine’s Day recipes (and it’s not really a recipe…more like a really impressive technique). I actually made these for the first time years ago, long before I really got into cooking, so although it might look like it’s hard to prepare, it really isn’t…and it’s a lot of fun!
1. Get a few coffee-bean bags from your grocery store. You need bags that are lined with a plastic coating so after being painted with chocolate, you can peel them off easily. Cut the coffee bags so they are about 3-5 inches tall.
2. Then, in a double boiler over low heat, melt 2-3 cups of semisweet chocolate morsels.
3. Lay the bag on its side and with a pastry brush, starting at the bottom, paint the melted chocolate over the entire interior of the bag. Use plenty of chocolate to get a nice thick coating, which will make it less likely for the chocolate to break when peeling off the bag.
4. Stand the bags up and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. They can be left in there until you need them.
5. When the chocolate is nice and hard, starting in one corner, gently peel away the bag. Use a scissor to cut the paper off as you peel it…it just makes it easier.
6. Melt some more chocolate and dip strawberries, sliced bananas and whatever else your significant other loves into the melted chocolate. Lay them down on waxed paper to dry and harden. As very cool added touch, you can also melt some white chocolate and use that to drizzle designs on the dipped treats.
Then just fill the bags with the treats and your favorite candies and you have an incredibly impressive presentation for your loved one on Valentine’s Day. It sure sealed the deal for me!
Everyone loves these cookies…that’s because they can be made to everyone’s taste. The basic recipe is really simple, but the beauty of it is that you can add any filling you like, so everyone gets what they want. From raspberry jam to cinnamon and sugar to chocolatey goodness, no one goes away disappointed…and they not only taste great, but they look incredible. The secret to slicing them into neat, perfectly round cookies before baking is to use dental floss (unwaxed and unflavored…although I guess you could go for a minty floss to accent the chocolate cookies…or not!). Just wrap it around the cookie logs and tighten it as if tying a knot to make a perfect, round cookie.
The bananas on the trees are ripening quickly and we are awash in a plethora of fruit, so we’re scrambling to come up with great banana recipes. Ripened bananas in their skin, wrapped in saran wrap, will keep in the freezer for up to six months for use in breads, cakes and smoothies, but it’s more fun to try and keep up with the rapidly ripening crop (it’s a race we can’t possibly win). Tonight, not only did we dehydrate them for banana chips, but also made this killer Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, a simple recipe that yields a moist, tasty, chocolatey loaf. You can also add a little cinnamon, rum or vanilla if you like, but there really isn’t any reason to since it is delicious (and addictive…we can’t stop eating it) as is.