Through My Kitchen Window: Valentine's Desserts

Friday is Valentine’s Day! Share a little love with these easy chocolate desserts.

Instead of buying chocolate dipped strawberries, make your own. They only take about 20 minutes, and are as easy as dipping strawberries in melted chocolate. Add a little cayenne powder or cinnamon to the chocolate to spice things up.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

1 pound (about 20) strawberries with stems

6 ounces chocolate, chopped

Wash the strawberries, and lay them on a dish towel to air dry completely. They cannot be wet when dipped.

Line a sheet pan with wax paper.

To melt the chocolate, microwave it on high power for 60 seconds. Remove, stir and microwave for 10 seconds more or until the chocolate has melted.

Hold each strawberry by the stem and dip the bottom half in the chocolate.

Set strawberries on the wax paper to harden.

If your romantic dinner-for-two is looking more like family night, treat the whole clan to these delicious mini chocolate cakes. They will take about an hour to prep and bake, and the “oozing lava” will thrill the kids.

Mini Lava Cakes

2 sticks butter or coconut oil

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

12 ozs chocolate, chopped

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar

6 large eggs plus 6 egg yolks

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease eight 6-ounce ramekins and sprinkle each with granulated sugar.

Melt the butter over low heat and stir in the cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate.

When the butter is completely melted, turn off the heat and whisk in the flour, confectioners sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. If you don’t have a sauce pan large enough to combine all the ingredients, do this step in a mixing bowl.

Divide the batter among the ramekins.

ake the cakes for 12-14 minutes. The tops should be stiff.

Cool 5 minutes and then run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the bowl. Flip onto small plates and dust with confectioners sugar and cinnamon. Serve immediately, for the “lava” effect.

Don’t want to mess with the oven or stove? If you have a high-powered blender or food processor, try these chocolate coconut snowballs. They only take a few minutes to prep, but do need to chill for at least an hour.

Chocolate Coconut Snowballs

Adapted from a recipe by Diana Bauman

1-3/4 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

3 tsp. coconut oil

3 Tbs. maple syrup

2 Tbs. milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/8 tsp. sea salt

Dark chocolate

Place 1 cup shredded coconut and coconut oil into the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend, scraping down the sides every once in a while, until the coconut reaches a butter consistency. (You can substitute 1/2 cup of coconut butter for this step).

.Add the maple syrup, milk, vanilla extract, and salt and blend on high speed until all of the ingredients are combined. Add the remaining coconut and blend until well mixed.

Shape the coconut mixture into 1 inch balls. Refrigerate for an hour or up to overnight.

Melt the chocolate and dip the coconut balls. Sprinkle the balls with more shredded coconut before the chocolate hardens. Refrigerate for 10 minutes before serving to harden the chocolate.

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