Peanut butter and jelly are always linked, but really, chocolate is peanut butter’s best partner. Was Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup the first example of this classic pairing? Maybe. This article says that a farmer named H.B. Reese, employed by Hershey’s, invented peanut butter cups, aka “penny cups” in 1928, so it’s possible we have H.B. to thank for this winning combination. Regardless of the history, whenever chocolate and peanut butter are together, you’ll have the best dessert ever. When a craving hits, you can take the easy route and sprinkle a spoonful of peanut butter with chocolate chips and pop it in your mouth, or you can make one of these treats.
Valentine’s Day means something different for nearly everyone. Some people send cards. Others plan lavish meals for their sweethearts. Still others give or receive gifts of chocolate or shiny baubles. And there are always a few who boycott the holiday (and often wear black in protest).
I like to acknowledge Valentine’s Day, but I have always preferred a more homemade approach. When I was in school, I always insisted that I make individual cards for my classmates instead of buying the preprinted ones from the drugstore (heart-shaped doilies were almost always involved in my craft projects).
Later on, I’d gather up friends for a home-cooked dinner designed to celebrate our collective community. The promised cheese fondue would always draw a big crowd, regardless of whether my friends were in relationships.
Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year — which means if you haven’t made a dinner reservation by now, you’re pretty much screwed. But fret not: A homemade candlelit meal is always more intimate than the prix-fixe menus and forced romance served at neighborhood restaurants. And since it’s a weekend day, you’ll have plenty of time to prep, whether it be for breakfast in bed, a lingering brunch or a multicourse dinner extravaganza.
Chocolate shares equal billing on Valentine’s Day with red roses, but most often rolled into truffles or tucked into assorted boxes of candy. But why wait till dessert (or, err, whatever time of day you happen to open your gifted sweets) to indulge in the heavenly ingredient? Incorporate chocolate into your celebratory meal — breakfast, lunch or dinner — to infuse your dishes with either sweetness or bitterness, complexity and subtle spice.
Kick-start your day with endorphin-boosting Chocolate Waffles (shown above). Mixing chocolate syrup into the waffle batter ensures consistent cocoa flavor without compromising the texture of the breakfast treats. Top them with additional chocolate syrup and red berries to give them that Valentine’s vibe. Read more
Whether you’ve got yourself a sweetie or you’re going for a more “all my single ladies” approach, these chocolatey sweets are just what St. Valentine called for. Instead of swinging by the drugstore for a sorry box of chocolates, give your valentine handmade chocolate treats that are a sure-fire way to melt hearts.
It may be the go-to move, but there is something to be said for biting into plump, juicy Chocolate-Covered Strawberries (pictured above). Not only are these fruity treats romantic through and through, they’re also completely effortless to make. Plus, rolling each melted chocolate-dipped strawberry in crushed pretzel sticks or almonds makes for a crunchy complement that proves that opposites attract.
There are chocolate lovers — and then there are chocoholics, a term reserved for only the most-diehard chocolate fanatics, those who dream about sleeping on a bed of fluffy chocolate frosting and swimming in a vat of chocolate fondue. If you consider yourself a member of this super-sweet club, you’re in luck: FN Dish is here with five of the most-over-the-top chocolatey recipes that you’re sure to swoon over this Valentine’s Day.
Hot-from-the-oven chocolate cake on the outside with a pool of rich, creamy melted chocolate in the center: That’s the scene taking place when you make Giada De Laurentiis’ Warm Chocolate Cakes with Berries (pictured above). The beauty of Giada’s fuss-free cakes is that you can prepare them in the morning, then come back to bake them right before you’re ready to eat them, so you’re guaranteed a deliciously warm dessert. Follow Giada’s lead and add just a pinch of espresso powder to the batter; it will enhance the flavor of the chocolate without adding a coffee taste.
What are your goals for 2015? Eat more vegetables? Exercise more? These are two popular (and honorable) ambitions. And while the January/February issue of Food Network Magazine is filled with delicious good-for-you dishes to help you stay on track, it also includes recipes to work on a different kind of resolution: to eat more chocolate. That’s right — you’ve been challenged to a year of chocolate.
It’s February, which means it’s chocolate’s turn to take center stage. ‘Tis the season to try your hand at being an amateur chocolatier, whether you’re satisfying your craving with melt-in-your-mouth truffles or layering chocolate inside of chocolate with more chocolate with Mini Molten Chocolate Cakes. Add a luxuriously sweet finale to your Valentine’s Day dinner menu with the help of the new cookbook Chocopologie, written by master chocolatier Fritz Knipschildt. Check out his expert chocolate-handling tips and get his recipe for droolworthy Double Chocolate Cupcakes below.
1. Ganache is made by pouring hot cream over chopped chocolate. Knipschildt sometimes adds a little honey for a pop of sweetness and to contribute to a smooth, satiny mouthfeel. Butter is also frequently stirred into the warm ganache to boost its lushness.
2. Modern technology has made melting chocolate a lot easier and foolproof. When you use the microwave, there’s less chance of the chocolate scorching or stiffening (also called “seizing”).
The calendar page turning to October means we can officially start counting down the days to Halloween — and all those sweet Halloween treats. This week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week is an easy dinner party dessert option for the holiday: Make easy homemade chocolate fudge and press in crushed sandwich cookies, graham crackers, white chocolate chips, sprinkles or any fun topping.
For more Halloween-inspired recipes, check out Food Network’s Easy Halloween Ideas board on Pinterest.
Get the Recipe: Food Network Magazine’s Chocolate Fudge
I am just old enough to remember Bill Cosby as the Jell-O pudding man. Those joyful ads were effective! He would be seated at a kid-size table in a kid-size chair, nearly always in a colorful, crazy sweater, with his knees jutting up as he cavorted with what seemed to me to be very, very lucky children. He was like the ultimate dad or friendly uncle, smiling and enjoying smooth and creamy pudding with a group of smiling, happy kids. I wanted to be one of those happy kids; I wanted a cup of that chocolate pudding.
I didn’t grow up eating that premade cup of pudding he was promoting, which may be part of the reason I had such a hankering for it. It wasn’t that we were uber-elite about homemade foods only. In my family, the cakes and pies were always made from scratch, but in terms of convenience desserts, my family was actually more inclined to the ruby-colored, fruit-flavored gelatin versions. My grandfather called it “nervous pudding,” since it wiggled and jiggled.
It’s not too soon to start planning for a Cinco de Mayo celebration. And this week’s Most Popular Pin of the Week will help you prepare a sure-hit dessert. Aarón’s brownies get their kick from Mexican cinnamon and pequin chile powder. If you can’t find pequin, just substitute cayenne pepper.
For more spring-season recipe inspiration, visit Food Network’s Let’s Celebrate Spring board on Pinterest.
Get the Recipe: Aarón’s Mexican Brownies