My Favorite Valentine Treats!

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Valentine’s Day means plenty of chocolate everywhere!

Red Velvet Brownies with cream cheese frosting in a glass baking dish.

I am sure you saw my recipe for decadent Red Velvet Brownies last week.

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How about Chocolate Lava Cake, a quintessential favorite and oh so easy to prepare as long as you know the secret…bake the cakes cold from the refrigerator!

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And of course Chocolate Truffles like the ones at Maison du Chocolat in Paris are unbeatable and surprising simple to make!

I hope you will be inspired to make a chocolate treat for someone you LOVE today!

Consider joining me in the kitchen for upcoming Cooking Classes, where Fun is Always on the Menu! Seats are limited, register TODAY! 

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Start your day with Chocolate!!

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I was wandering around our downtown square one day a few weeks ago and stopped into Ettiene Market.  I had a nice chat with Coryanne Ettiene, the owner and all around fabulous kitchen expert.  She showed me some of her delicious spice blends and gave me this fantastic idea to make Chocolate Flakes for adding to any hot beverage.

Start your day with the indulgence of Chocolate? How French!

I came home and made an irresistible batch and thought you might enjoy seeing how to make some for yourself!

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There are several spice blends available at Ettiene’s but this one really spoke to me.  It has been only a few months since I spent some time with my A Taste of Paris group in the precious town of Reims, France.

Reims N.39 has a honey, anise and cinnamon flavor making you think of warm cookies right out of the oven.

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To get started; melt dark chocolate(I use Ghirardelli 60% cacao) in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each time.  Always use the least amount of heat necessary to melt the chocolate.

Pour the melted chocolate out onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

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Spread the chocolate into a very thin layer.

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Using a fine mesh sieve, sprinkle a nice coating or Reims N.39 on the surface of the chocolate.

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Place the baking sheet into the refrigerator until chocolate hardens, about 1 hour, before breaking it into pieces.

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I put the chocolate flakes in a jar and when I have hot tea, I add a few flakes to take me right back to Reims.  I am already dreaming of my next visit!

Make some yourself, and start your day or have an afternoon pick-me-up, with decadent chocolate goodness.

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Goodies on FOX 4 Thursday, February 8th

I am deeply saddened by the news of the fallen Richardson police officer.  My heart goes out to his family and the city of Richardson.  The chocolate segment has been cancelled.

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Tune in to FOX 4, Good Day on Thursday morning, February 8th around 8:30 for Chocolate Goodies.  I’ll be cooking LIVE with the #1 morning crew in Dallas!

Chocolate Truffles are one of my favorite things to make.  People are usually surprised at just how simple it is to create these decadent morsels of yumminess.  I’ll also give you the secrets to the perfect Chocolate Dipped Strawberries.

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Here is a sneak Peek at the recipes!

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Spiced Rum Truffles

Truffle

1 cup heavy cream

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

2 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 tablespoon spiced rum

Finishing

½ cup coco

½ cup powdered sugar

Heat heavy cream on medium heat in a double boiler until cream is simmering.  Add rum and vanilla and remove from heat.  Add chocolate and butter, stir until completely smooth.  This may take a few minutes.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.  To finish truffles, mix powdered sugar and coco in plate.  Using a spoon and your hands, scoop a walnut sized amount of chocolate and roll into a ball. Drop the truffles into the coco mixture, roll to coat the surface.   Store the truffles in the refrigerator until ready to eat and for up to 2 weeks.

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This French Bark features dried apricots, dried cherries and pistachios

French Chocolate Bark

1 12 ounce package of 60% cocoa chocolate chips, I use Ghirardelli

½ cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped

½ cup raw pistachios, coarsely chopped

½ cup coconut

Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper.  Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second intervals stirring well in between, each time.  Spread melted chocolate on parchment paper creating a thin sheet of chocolate. Sprinkle with fruit and nuts and slightly press into the chocolate.  Chill the candy in the refrigerator until set and break into pieces. Keep bark refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

1 pint fresh strawberries

1 ½ cups 60% cocoa chocolate chips, I use Ghirardelli’s

¼ cup white chocolate chips

Wash and thoroughly dry berries.  Refrigerate berries so that they are cold when dipping.  Melt dark chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals stirring each time until chocolate is smooth. Dip chilled berries into chocolate and place them on waxed or parchment paper.  When chocolate is set, melt white chocolate in the same manner as dark.  Pour melted white chocolate into a zip top bag.  Clip one tip with scissors making a small whole in the bag and drizzle strawberries with white chocolate.  Serve within 4 hours.

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Irresistible Chocolate Loaves, an All-Time Favorite

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February is the month for chocolate.  Lauren Palmer at The Art of Living Beautifully asked me to assemble a list of the very best chocolate bites McKinney has to offer.

As you know, some projects are more difficult that others and this truly was a labor of love.

If you know me at all you are aware that chocolate is my all-time favorite food.  It is the only food I eat everyday without fail.  I prefer dark chocolate that is loaded with antioxidants so no need to resist temptation.

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Nothing beats a homemade treat right out of the oven especially when it is my dark Chocolate Loaves smothered in Chocolate Ganache. Naturally this straightforward recipe made the list.

February is here so turn on that oven and bake up a couple of Chocolate Loaves  for the ones you love.  You will be so glad you did!

Oh, and for the full list of my favorite chocolate bites, subscribe NOW to TAOLB, it will be published there tomorrow!

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Chocolate Cake Loaves with Ganache Glaze

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup extra dark coco

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

1 cup water

2 eggs

½ cup buttermilk

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare 2 (8-9 inch) loaf pans by first spraying with non-stick cooking spray and then dusting with flour.  In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt and set aside.  In a small sauce pan set to medium, heat water, coco and butter until the butter melts.  Add warmed liquid to flour mixture and stir till combined.    Add first buttermilk then eggs and stir well.  Pour batter into loaf pans and cook for 28-32 minutes.  Pour ganache over cooled cakes. 

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups semi sweet or dark chocolate chips

1 teaspoon vanilla or Tuaca

Heat cream in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat until it begins to simmer.  Remove pan from heat, add chocolate and vanilla and stir well.  Pour ganache over cooled cakes.

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