Valentine's dinner is usually a stay-at-home affair in our household. Especially when it occurs in the middle of the week as it does this year…. soccer schedules, after school activities, and homework do not disappear on this day dedicated to love (there oughta be a law….). But just because we dine at home doesn't mean that the meal shouldn't be special… and even a little romantic. And shows that special person in your life how much you care. In that spirit- here are some sweets for your sweet… a dessert guaranteed to make him swoon…. Chocolate Mousse with Heart Meringues!
Chocolate Mousse:2 cups of heavy whipping cream 1/2 cup sugar 1 cup water 6 egg yolks 2 cups of good-quality chocolate chips
Chill your mixing bowl and beaters (I just pop mine into the freezer for about 10 minutes). Pour cream into the chilled mixing bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
In a saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil and then continue boiling for 3 minutes. Carefully pour the sugar mixture into a blender and then add the chocolate chips. Blend on low for 20 seconds. Add the egg yolks and blend for 15 seconds more. Pour the chocolate into the whipped cream, and fold it in to combine, being careful not to deflate the whipped cream.
(Okay- now is where the recipe seems a bit strange…. but trust me on this!) Transfer the mousse to an airtight container and freeze overnight or at least 12 hours. Allow to defrost before serving. Stir until smooth and then spoon into a glass.
But here's the thing about making chocolate mousse….
When you separate your 6 eggs and use the yolks for the mousse, what do you do with those lonely egg whites- sitting over there all by themselves? Sure, you could create a lovely egg-white omelet… but that doesn't pair quite as well with chocolate mousse as do meringue cookies!
Heart Meringues6 egg whites 1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 1/2 cup sugar
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
Using an electric mixer with whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until soft peaks start to form.
While beating, add the cream of tartar and vanilla extract, then slowly add the 1 1/2 cup of sugar. Continue to beat until the peaks stiffen. The meringue should be glossy and stiff. When I lifted my beater from the bowl, the meringue “trail” remained in place- connecting the beater to the meringue in the bowl.
Spoon the meringue into a decorating bag or a quart-sized ziplock bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the heart shapes onto parchment paper on top of your cookie sheet. You can pipe them close-together, as they will not spread when baking. My assistant helped me sprinkle some pink and red colored sugar onto the hearts.
Bake the meringues for one hour and twenty minutes, and then turn off the oven and allow them to remain in the cooling oven for an hour to crisp.
This recipe made approx 150 heart cookies.
So are you a stay-at-home for Valentine's Day kind of family too? Or do you prefer to brave the crowds of sweethearts for a special night out?
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