Try special treats for someone sweet

Treat those you love this Valentine’s Day with a special sweet.

I don’t believe one needs a specific reason to indulge in a decadent dessert. I live by the motto “never turn down a homemade cookie.”

If you really want a perfect excuse to treat yourself and the loves in your life, Valentine’s Day is next Wednesday. It falls in the middle of week when most of us are busy earning a living, taking care of those we love, and running here and there.

The Other Fisherman has more than just a sweet tooth — he’s got a whole mouth full of them. His favorites are chocolate and peanut butter. I have always tried to make him a special dessert for each of the 40 Valentine’s days we have been married. It’s a perfect way to say “I love you, you are so very special to me and my life is much sweeter with you in it.” Anything with peanut butter gets rave reviews from him.

Chocolate Glazed Peanut Butter Pie with Pretzel Crust

A creamy, combination of chocolate and peanut butter, with a hint of salt and crunch. Allow at least 2-3 hours of chilling time before you plan on serving.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pretzel Crust

¾ cup finely crushed pretzels

3 tablespoons granulated white sugar

6 tablespoons butter, melted

Crush pretzels in a sealable plastic bag with a rolling pin. In a medium size bowl, combine the pretzels, sugar, and melted butter, mixing well with a spoon. Press firmly onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Filling

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (softened)

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

½ cup peanut butter

1 large container Cool Whip topping

Combine cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and peanut butter and whip until combined with electric mixer. Fold in the Cool Whip until well incorporated.

Chocolate Ganache topping

Put 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate morsels in a small heatproof bowl. Bring 1/2 cup heavy cream to just a boil. Pour over chocolate morsels, stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Drizzle in a pattern over the top of the filling. Chill pie 2-3 hours or overnight.

White Chocolate Mousse with Raspberry Sauce

Serves 6

This mousse has the texture of velvet, the sheen of satin and tastes delightful.

White Chocolate Mousse

9 ounces of chopped white chocolate, such as Lindt

3 large egg yolks

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 ¼ cups chilled heavy cream

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat. In a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk the egg yolks and the sugar until well combined. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and beat in ¼ cup of the cream. Slowly stir in the melted chocolate until well combined. Whip the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into the white chocolate mixture. Spoon into wine goblets or martini glasses and refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 1 hour.

Raspberry Sauce

1 (10-ounce) package frozen raspberries, defrosted and drained

¼ cup superfine sugar

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (orange liquor)

Combine the raspberries, sugar, and Grand Marnier in a blender or food processor and puree. Do not strain, as the seed enhance the texture. To serve, top each goblet of mousse with raspberry sauce. Garnish with dark chocolate curls and/or fresh raspberries.

Chocolate Silk Pie

Crust

1 3/4 cups (about 22) finely crushed chocolate sandwich cookies

1/4 cup butter melted

Combine all crust ingredients in bowl; mix well. Press onto bottom and up sides of 9-inch pie pan. Refrigerate 10 minutes.

Filling

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter slightly softened

4 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted, cooled

3/4 cup refrigerated egg substitute

Combine sugar and 3/4 cup butter in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Add melted chocolate; continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Add egg substitute; beat until light and fluffy. Spoon into prepared crust. Refrigerate at least 3 hours or until set.

Garnish

1- pint heavy whipping cream

2-3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat chilled heavy whipping cream in a chilled bowl, scrapping often while adding sugar gradually. Adjust to taste as you add sugar. Add vanilla.

Beat until stiff peaks form.

Garnish pie with whipped cream and chocolate curls, if desired. Store refrigerated.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Sometimes simple is best. Chocolate covered strawberries look so special, everyone loves them and they are a cinch to make. Make these with the little chefs in your kitchen!

Ingredients

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

3 ounces white chocolate, chopped

1-pound strawberries with stems (about 20), washed and dried very well

Put the semisweet and white chocolates into 2 separate heatproof medium bowls. Fill 2 medium saucepans with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowls of chocolate over the water to melt. Stir until smooth. (Alternatively, melt the chocolates in a microwave at half power, for 1 minute, stir and then heat for another minute or until melted.)

Once the chocolates are melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the dark chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Set strawberries on the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries. Dip a fork in the white chocolate and drizzle the white chocolate over the dipped strawberries. Set the strawberries aside until the chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.

Enjoy sharing something special and sweet this Valentine’s Day!

With lots of love from my kitchen to yours, XOXOXOX.

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