On Chocolate & Valentine’s Day

img_2820Like some couples, Valentine’s Day is not really a big deal for Frankie and I. Sure, we like to do something small and romantic for just the two of us to mark the occasion when it comes around—like making dinner and sharing a bottle of wine and getting flowers from my man, which always makes me happy—but honestly, we spend every day loving one another to our fullest and finding ways to make the other feel special and appreciated. I mean, Frankie HARD CORE cleaned the ENTIRE apartment last Friday, which is huge because normally that’s what I end up doing on the weekends, so if that doesn’t say “I love you” I don’t know what does…and he always leaves me messages when he gets stuck cleaning our bathroom too, which I think makes him even more incredible of a partner!

 

And of course, we do gifts if we’re up for it, and this year, especially after a rather rotten 2016, I was definitely up for it, and VOILA! I presented him with an authentic, autographed Duncan Keith jersey! He seemed pleased by it! But my favorite part is getting to make something yummy that we can enjoy and share! So, of course, that is a perfectly good reason to experiment and challenge myself! Naturally, for someone who doesn’t do a lot of baking or dessert making in general, I decided to play with the ever popular, and my absolute favorite thing in the world, CHOCOLATE!, after being inspired by the Valentine’s themed episode of Worst Cooks in America on Food Network!

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Normally, I don’t like to reveal my final creations, but I am way too proud to not share!

Without further ado, may I present, my Valentine’s Day dessert cup!

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TA-DA!

I used Smitten Kitchen’s chocolate mousse recipe, and while it was definitely an involved process—so much whipping!—it was so worth it! Oh, and please note, while some use their spatulas like it were an extension of their arm, I’m a wooden spoon kind of girl, and actually preferred that for the final folding of all the ingredients!

The mousse was rich, but not heavy, and so incredibly decadent that you can’t just scarf this down (not that you would, but I’m just saying). You have to take your time with each bite, you have to make sure you have licked every last chocolatey smear on the spoon before you go in for more, and when I decided to top it with blueberries and raspberries (my favoritebs of the berry family), that helped to cut through some of the richness. A little reprieve if you will! I mean, I love my chocolate, but sometimes too rich a chocolate can become too much, and there’s something incredibly luscious about the way chocolate marries so well with fruit. And before I get to the cute little chocolate cup I made, my mom, who has made mousse on a couple occasions, did recommend that I should use a piping bag to squeeze it out so that it looked smoother (for next time of course because there’s barely any left right now).

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But as to why I wanted to experiment in the first place. DESSERT CUPS! And by that, I mean chocolate cups! Now, I definitely made these cups to be WAY too big, and would next time pick some smaller balloons, but I essentially followed what was done on the episode of Worst Cooks in America. Mine didn’t look the same though because, I realized later, I didn’t let the bottom of my balloon drip off as much as I should have/dipped them in too far. Just place/dip a little and roll. How I did it (dip a lot and roll) caused my cups to turn out a little heavy and uncrackable with a spoon, which is no fun! And I noticed that when I did beautiful sprinkles, because there was so much covering the balloon, they were falling towards the base. So, what I would also do next is make one balloon at a time (and have included that note in the recipe below), sticking each in the freezer to set better before moving on to the next one so my sprinkles stay where I wanted them in the first place! I’ve also considered including a rubber band to make the edges a little neater as well, but that’s just an idea for now.

But overall, I mean, it is one of the prettiest desserts I’ve made thus far this year, and certainly one of the most involved. I had to be so careful not to over whip, to not just mix, but actually fold my img_2952mousse in on itself over and over till it was beautifully combined! I mean, it was exhausting and I definitely ended up bailing on my steak & veggie dinner for a Penne Arrabiata instead. But I want to perfect these dessert bowls, knowing this was not my last attempt at them, and already have ideas for using different chocolates and maybe trying to make some chocolate decorations too! I don’t know, but I’m excited at the prospect! Next week though, my baking instincts are leaning towards something perhaps not so sweet…banana bread maybe!

So my fellow love birds, if you’re looking for something fun and delicious to do at home with your sweetheart (or with your pet, because I mean, this little pup’s been giving me all sorts of love this week), this was way too much fun to not do again!

Sending a ton of love, happiness, and delicious bites your way, Cooking Maggie!


Silky, Decadent Old-School Chocolate Mousse from Smitten Kitchen


Chocolate Dessert Cups

Ingredientsimg_2967

  • 8oz baking chocolate
  • 4-6 Balloons (smaller in size preferable)
  • Cooking Spray
  • Optional: FINE toppings, such as sprinkles or chopped nuts

Instructions

  1. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, nestled on a pan of barely simmering water, till smooth. Prepare some parchment paper on a baking sheet (you can keep it in place by putting some drops of water on the baking sheet).
  2. With the back of a spoon, make little discs a few inches apart from each other to act as a base for the dessert cups.
  3. Spray the bottom of the balloons before you dip them.img_2991
  4. OPTION 1: Pour chocolate into a dipping cup or bowl that fits the balloons you’re working with. Dip balloons in, wait for some of the bottom run off, add sprinkles/nuts if using, then place on top of one of the chocolate discs. Repeat with the rest of the balloons.
  5. OPTION 2: Keep the chocolate in the large bowl, and dip/roll the balloon so that you cover as much as you want of the balloon with the chocolate. Add sprinkles/nuts if using, then place on top of one of the chocolate discs. Repeat with the rest of the balloons.*
  6. Stick your balloon bowls in the freezer to harden. When chocolate has set, use a needle to pop a small hole in the balloon so it will deflate and you can pull it out of the cup. Then fill with whatever you want!
  7. Remaining dessert cups can hang out in the freezer for up to four days!

*Note: try to do this as quickly as possible, especially if you’re using sprinkles or light/fine toppings, because they will run down to the bottom. If you want to take your time, do steps 2-6 for each balloon on their own to make sure the sprinkles stay where they are.

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