Sweets for the Sweet: Romantic Desserts01.30.12
Nothing says amore like romantic desserts. And Cotton Candy is celebrating romance in style. That’s why contributing food editor Chef Evelyn Paul has created unique treats for your sweety. From cupcakes to drinks, these flavorsome desserts will win over anyone’s heart. To top it all off, mixologist Christa Sladky from the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead in Atlanta has created fun chocolate cocktails that’ll appeal to your sweet tooth. No matter your taste, this delectable spread will melt your heart.
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus one tablespoon for griddle
Preheat griddle to 375 degrees, or heat griddle pan over medium-high heat. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Add egg, milk, and 2 tablespoons melted butter; whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps.
Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Test griddle by sprinkling with a few drops of water. If water bounces and spatters, it is hot enough. With paper towel, brush 1/2 teaspoon butter onto griddle. Wipe off excess.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain round tip with batter; twist end of bag, and secure with rubber band. Working in batches, pipe heart shapes, drawing V of batter in center of hearts to fill, on heated griddle. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around the edges, about two minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on the bottom, about one minute.
Repeat with remaining batter, using 1/2 teaspoon butter on griddle for each batch, keeping finished pancakes on a heat-proof plate in the oven until ready to serve.
Makes twelve 4-inch pancakes
Red Velvet Cupcakes
2 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
Raspberries for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.
In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.
Garnish with chopped pecans and a fresh raspberry or strawberry.
Note: Frost the cupcakes with a butter knife or pipe it on with a big star tip.
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 pound strawberries with stems (about 20), washed and dried
Put the semisweet and white chocolates into two separate heatproof medium bowls. Fill two medium saucepans with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowls of chocolate over the water to melt. Stir until smooth.
(Alternatively, melt the chocolates in a microwave at half power, for one minute, stir and then heat for another minute or until melted.)
Once the chocolates are melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the dark chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Set strawberries on the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries. Dip a fork in the white chocolate and drizzle the white chocolate over the dipped strawberries.
Set the strawberries aside until the chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.
1 1/2 cups strong coffee
1/4 cup sugar
1 3/4 cups mascarpone cheese, divided
2 Tbsp. plus 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
4 large egg yolks
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped, plus more for shaved chocolate garnish
About 48 soft ladyfingers
Stir coffee and sugar in a small bowl until sugar dissolves; set aside.
Combine 1 cup mascarpone, 2 Tbsp. sugar, and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk to blend; cover and chill.
Place 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over. Let stand until gelatin softens, 10-15 minutes. Whisk the remaining sugar, yolks, 1/4 cup cream, and 1/4 cup water in a medium metal bowl to blend. Place bowl over a large saucepan of boiling water (do not let bottom of bowl touch water) and whisk vigorously until custard thickens and temperature reaches 160° on an instant-read thermometer, 3-4 minutes.
Remove bowl; add gelatin mixture and whisk until dissolved, 15-20 seconds. Return bowl over water, add chocolate, and whisk until almost melted, about 30 seconds.
Set bowl in a large bowl of ice water and whisk until chocolate is melted and custard is cool, 5-6 minutes. Whisk in the remaining mascarpone. In another medium bowl, beat remaining 3/4 cup chilled cream until firm peaks form. Fold cream into custard in 2 additions to make a chocolate mousse.
Spread 1/4 cup chocolate mousse in bottom of each of eight ramekins. Dunk ladyfingers in the espresso syrup and arrange in a single layer on top of the mousse, about 2 to 3 ladyfingers per cup. Repeat layering with chocolate mousse and soaked ladyfingers. Spread 2 Tbsp. mascarpone topping over ladyfingers. Garnish with shaved chocolate and serve.
3/4 cup sugar
2 -3 tablespoons water
Hot Chocolate Shots
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup chocolate ice cream
1 square unsweetened baking chocolate
2 1/2 cups water
In a saucepan, melt butter, sugar, ice cream, and baking chocolate until smooth. Add water while stirring. Heat over medium-high heat until you start to see steam. Serve with whipped cream in chocolate-dipped shot glasses.
To chocolate-coat the edges of your shot glasses, melt 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. Be careful not to overheat the chocolate. Dip the edges of each shot glass into the melted chocolate. Wait for the chocolate to cool and harden before pouring the hot chocolate.
White Chocolate Cherry Martini
1 oz Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
3/4 oz Stoli® Vanil
3/4 oz House-infused Cherry Brandy
1/2 oz Half-and-half
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass and serve up, garnished with a cherry speared with white chocolate.
(Click the photos below.)
1 1/2 oz Knob Creek Bourbon
1/2 oz Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth
3/4 oz House-made Spiced Cocoa Nib Syrup
1 dash Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Bitters
2 dashes Bittermen’s Xocolatl Mole (Chocolate Bitters)
Build in a mixing glass over ice and stir for about 30 rotations, until glass is foggy. Strain over ice into a snifter. Garnish with an orange twist dipped in dark chocolate.