February: Valentine Dessert a Treat for Your Sweeties

Filed under: Mealtime, Food

When my sisters and I were children, our list of most-favored Valentine's Day treats generally consisted of store-bought Conversation Hearts, Hershey's Kisses, and those ridiculous wax lips that you'd chew on forever before realizing that they were really only chewable, rather than edible.

We always enjoyed anything that ended up in our Valentine's treat bags. But as we got older, we came to realize that February 14th provided us the perfect excuse to get into the kitchen and make our family a celebratory treat of a more grownup variety -- and the gooier, the better. It's a tradition that has followed each of us into adulthood, binding us with the understanding that nothing says love quite like a homemade chocolate mousse.

Valentine desserts

Give your sweetie a sweet Valentine treat. Credit: Deborah Kloha

In keeping with family custom, Anna and I decided to take a detour from our usual monthly walkabout in the produce aisle so that we could bring you one of our favorite mousse recipes. It's a confection made with white chocolate, rather than the usual milk or dark chocolate, and it beautifully spotlights the cherry sauce we prepared for the topping. (Keep in mind that, with a cherry sauce, the recipe also doubles as a Presidents Day dessert, in honor of young George Washington's truthfulness regarding that unfortunate tree incident. So feel free to keep celebrating throughout the month.)

For those preferring a different red fruit, we can also vouch for the use of raspberries -- Anna's favorite -- atop this very tasty dessert. Whichever fruit you choose, we recommend serving this dessert in a glass dish or on a glass plate for extra visual sparkle.

Here's the recipe for White Chocolate Mousse With Cherry Sauce from KitchenDaily:

2 beaten egg yolks
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons sugar
3 oz. white baking bar, grated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
2 cups fresh or frozen pitted tart red cherries
1 tablespoon orange liqueur or orange juice

Directions: Chill a small mixing bowl. Combine egg yolks, milk, 1 teaspoon cornstarch and 3 tablespoons sugar in a heavy small saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in the grated baking bar and vanilla; stir until melted. Cool to room temperature.

Beat whipping cream in the chilled bowl on low speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gently fold the cooled baking bar mixture into the whipped cream. Spoon the mixture into a 2-quart square baking dish. Refrigerate 4 to 24 hours or until set.

For cherry sauce, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch in saucepan. Stir in water. Add cherries. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Add orange liqueur or orange juice. Cool slightly.

To serve, spoon chocolate mixture onto dessert plates. Drizzle with warm cherry sauce. Makes 6 servings.

Cook's note: Recipe calls for drizzling warm sauce over mousse. Anna and I found that if it's too warm -- as in just off the stove -- it'll melt the mousse. "Slightly warm" is probably a safer bet. And remember: Don't drizzle ahead of time; wait until you're ready to serve.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.