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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chocolate Strawberry Valentine Delights

Chocolate and strawberry is such a sensual combination both visually and in terms of taste. Of course, with Valentine's Day nearly upon us chocolate covered strawberries are in evidence in lots of high end stores and chocolatiers.

I decided to use this great combination but simplify it a bit. I started out with a chocolate flavored sponge cake then covered it in semi-sweet chocolate. I then filled it with a strawberry cream cheese filling which also served as decoration on the top. These are delightful treats with a great chocolate flavor and that wonderful strawberry flavor mixed in. The cream cheese gives just a touch of tang to the filling and keeps the whole thing from being too sweet.

As I looked at these after finishing, I realized this could do double or tripe duty since I'd used my Madeleine pan for the cakes. Switching to a colored fondant or white chocolate these would make lovely little Easter Eggs. Since it is also Super Bowl weekend (Go Packers!) I realized they could also serve a great "footballs" when properly decorated. I wish I'd thought of that one before I'd finished with them all as a little chocolate mint "football" bedecked with the Green Bay logo would have been a great treat for the game.

These are very versatile and not at all hard to do. You can be as creative as you like with the decoration. I opted for a simple row of pink stars on mine, but sprinkles or piped hearts or other designs would be beautiful as well.



Recipe: Chocolate Strawberry Valentine's Delights


Ingredients

Sponge Cake
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 oz. butter, melted and cooled slightly
Chocolate Coating
  • 4-5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling
  • 4 oz. Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs. strawberry extract
  • 4 oz. powdered sugar
  • 4-5 drops red food coloring

Instructions

  1. Grease and flour Madeleine pan or Whoopie Pie pan. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Place eggs in bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat slightly then add sugar and beat until incorporated and frothy. Sift together flour, baking powder, and cocoa and add to egg mixture, beating just until combined. Add melted butter and finish mixing by hand using rubber spatula.
  3. Place batter into pastry bag fitted with large tip and pipe batter into prepared pan filling each section about 2/3 full. Bake at 350° for about 10 minutes or until cakes are set and spring back when touched.
  4. Remove cakes from pans onto a parchment lined baking sheet and allow to cool completely.
  5. In microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate in 30 second intervals until completely melted - stirring after each 30 seconds.
  6. Place cooled cakes flat side down on a sheet of wax paper and pour chocolate over cakes. Use a small offset spatula to smooth out chocolate and insure even coating. Place iced cakes in refrigerator and allow chocolate to set up completely.
  7. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add extracts and powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add food coloring and beat until desired shade is achieved.
  8. Place filling in pastry bag fitted with star tip.
  9. Remove chilled and iced cakes from refrigerator and pipe filling onto flat surface of half of the cakes. Top with the other halves. With remainder of icing decorate tops of cakes as desired. Return to refrigerator and keep chilled until ready to serve.
Total Time: 1 hour 30 min
Number of servings (yield): 6
Meal type: dessert
Culinary tradition: USA (Nouveau)
Copyright © Buck Bannister and Sugar Pies.
Recipe by Buck Bannister.



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