For many people, chocolate is always in season and they don't need a reason to buy it or bake it! But since Valentine's Day is approaching, here are several recipes from the delightful bean. There should be something for everybody! You can start and end the day with chocolate!
National Pancake Week is Feb. 8-14, so get a jump on it with these pancakes.
PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES
1 cup multigrain or regular pancake mix
1 large egg
1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tbsp. butter
Heat oven to 200. Stir the pancake mix, egg, peanut butter, milk, vanilla and chocolate chips together in large bowl. Melt about 1 tsp. butter in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Pour three to four 1/4 cupfuls batter on the heated skillet to form cakes
and cook until top bubbles and edges crisp. Turn and cook about 2 minutes more until both sides are golden brown. Transfer to baking pan and keep warm in oven until ready
to serve. Repeat with all batter. Top with your favorite syrup, fresh berries, whipped cream or your choice of topping. About 12 pancakes.
QUICK CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM TOPPING
In just 10 minutes you can make a great homemade sauce if you are pressed for time.
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. butter
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/1 tsp. vanilla extract
Ice cream, sliced bananas, maraschino cherries, fresh berries, pound cake (you choose)!
In small saucepan, bring water, sugar, and butter to boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; add chocolate chips and vanilla. Whisk until chips melt and mixture is smooth. Serve warm over choice of foods listed. Makes 1 cup.
FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE ALMOND CAKE
For those wanting to avoid wheat flour, this is also lowfat (for chocolate cake) and is 230 calories. Can be made a day ahead and is very moist. Serves 12.
1 1/2 scant cups almonds
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 cup hot water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 large eggs, separated
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Preheat oven to 350. Coat 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray and line with parchment. Spray parchment and dust with flour (or cocoa). Grind almonds with 1/4 cup sugar in food processor until it forms a smooth meal. Measure out 1 1/2 cups. Combine cocoa powder and hot water; mix until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Beat egg yolks with remaining sugar at high speed 5-8 minutes or until thick and pale yellow. Add chocolate mixture. Mix in almond meal at low speed. In 2-3 additions, beating 20 seconds after each addition.
In a separate bowl, beat egg whites using an electric beater, starting on low and slowly increasing speed, until they begin to foam. Add cream of tartar and salt, and continue to beat until whites form stiff but not dry peaks. Stir one-quarter of mixture into batter and gently fold in remainder with rubber spatula. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake 45-55 minutes or until firm in center and tester comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack 15
minutes. Remove sides of pan and cool completely on rack. To serve immediately, dust with confectioners' sugar.
If making ahead, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
MOCHA CHIP PIE
1 1/2 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar, divided
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp. salt
2 squares (1 oz. each) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cup heavy whipping cream, divided
Toasted sliced almonds (optional)
In bowl, combine wafer crumbs and butter. Press onto bottom and up sides of greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake at 375 for 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack (May also use purchased chocolate crust).
In small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over milk; let stand for 1 minute. Cook and stir over low heat until gelatin is completely dissolved. Add 1/2 cup sugar, coffee, water and salt; cook and stir for 5 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in melted chocolate and vanilla. Transfer to large bowl, cover and refrigerate until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
In small bowl beat 1 cup cream until stiff peaks form, fold into chocolate mixture. Spread evenly into crust. Refrigerate 4 hours or until set.
Just before serving, in small bowl, beat remaining cream until it begins to thicken. Add remaining sugar; beat until stiff peaks form. Pipe over pie or place large spoonfuls around pie. Garnish with almonds if desired. Refrigerate leftovers. Serves 8.
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