Friday, February 17, 2012

I Heart Heart-Day...

Valentine's Day was earlier this week and I hope you all had a wonderful one! If I was more organized, I would have posted on Valentine's Day, but of course, that isn't the case. In fact I am always running after my schedule...I need to take the lead at some point!
Since I have an overwhelming penchant for sweet things, it would stand to reason that Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays. And it's true. I usually like to prepare a special breakfast and dessert for my family. So, to start off the morning, I made them chocolate brownie pancakes with strawberry sauce and cream. It was easy to throw together in the morning and was a breakfast filled with love and hearts - chocolate pancake hearts, that is... The recipe is below and they are a welcome alternative to regular pancakes and not as unhealthy as its name implies.
For dessert, I made pink French macarons with chocolate ganache filling as well as pink velvet cupcakes with coconut curd filling and white chocolate buttercream. The macarons, however time consuming, are so delish that they are worth the extra effort. Plus, you can fill them with any number of fillings - ganache, buttercream, jam, curd, custard, Nutella, peanut butter, Biscoff... the list goes on. But don't think you need to fill them either. They are fabulous on their own. The recipe I follow is from It's a well-written recipe that is easy to follow.

The cupcakes were decorated as roses, something I've wanted to do for a long time. It was fun and I was happy with the results.

Lastly, I made a bunch of red and white cookies and cream truffles to fill an order.

As you can see, I tried experimenting with photo editing techniques to further exemplify the Valentine's Day spirit... They are an attempt to bring the romance out of these treats... :-) I hope your Valentine's Day was as fun as mine was..! Try your hand at making chocolate brownie pancakes, and if you're feeling a little more ambitious, French macarons...!

Chocolate Brownie Pancakes

1 cup all purpose flour
1 t baking powder, heaped
1/4 cup + 1 T cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Cocoa Powder)
2 T granulated sugar
1/2 t salt
3 T vegetable or canola oil
1 egg
1 T vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk

Whisk all the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients. Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined. Lumps are ok. Let the batter sit for about 5 minutes. Over a hot (nonstick, preferrable) griddle, pour 1/4 cup of your pancake batter. When the edges begin to bubble, flip your pancake and leave it to cook through for another minute.
Serve warm with homemade strawberry sauce (recipe below), cream, and maple syrup.

(adapted from Tracey's Culinary Adventures)

Quick Strawberry Sauce

1 pint hulled & cleaned strawberries, chopped in large chunks
3/4 c water
3/4 c granulated sugar

Over a medium flame, heat the sugar and water until boiling to make a simple syrup. Turn the flame to medium/low and carefully add the strawberries and cook until the strawberries start to break down, around 10 minutes. Serve warm.

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