Thursday, February 2, 2012

Valentine's Plans? How About a Day of Chocolate

Valentine's Day is one of those holidays that can come and go in my household. I might help the kids decorate boxes for school parties or back some cupcakes for work or to send along with them to school. Last year, though, I decided to actually do things as a family to celebrate those fun little holidays that come up throughout the year. I decided that the best thing about Valentine's Day are the treats served around that time. And what better delicacy than chocolate? So, this is the day I planned for my family last year, and we had a blast eating these delicious chocolate treats.

For Breakfast:

1. Hot Chocolate or Mochas with Chocolate Croissants

This is the perfect way to start out the day. Buy some whipped topping or make your own for the drinks. You can go ahead and start the hot chocolate first, because it only gets better the longer is cooks. Make mochas by adding a shot of espresso or adding the hot chocolate to your brewed coffee, maybe with a little cream.

Made with milk, sugar, vanilla and water and perfect for making large batches. Try making an extra large batch and send the extras to school with the kids or store it in the fridge for perfect chocolate milk all day.

Another classic hot chocolate recipe, but creamier. Delicious!

Try it with Ghirardelli Cocoa if you want to go all out!

These are super easy and delicious with either coffee or hot chocolate. All you need is a pre-rolled puff pastry, any kind of chocolate bar you like, and one egg beaten. Cut the dough into triangles, roll them up with a piece of chocolate inside to make croissants, paint it with the beaten egg, and bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Voila! Perfection!

After Lunch:

Perfect for a light lunch dessert, and not rich enough to put you to sleep as you start on your afternoon to-do list.

After Dinner:

3. Chocolate Lava Cake with Ice Cream and Chocolate-Covered Strawberries

Chocolate Cake

Melted Chocolate  for Strawberries

Tip for keeping chocolate from thickening:

Chocolate can be a mystery, so here is a tip to keep your chocolate from becoming too thick. When you are melting over a double boiler, don't let the water touch the bottom of your upper pan. Heat until only 1/2 of the chocolate is melted, then remove from heat and stir gently until it is all melted. The chocolate should actually be cool or tepid to the touch. If it's hot, chances are it will seize up and thicken. If it does that, no amount of heating or stirring will fix it.

Get any kind of ice cream you like. If you want to go all out, make your own!

Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031

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