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Chef's Corner: Valentine's Day chocolate recipes

Stephanie Taylor | Interrobang | Lifestyles | February 13th, 2006

Whether you're presenting your loved one with it or drowning your sorrows with it, one thing is for sure — chocolate is the ultimate Valentine's Day treat. Here are some of the best chocolate recipes out there.

Double Chocolate Brownies
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Fudge Topping
1 cup HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350F. Grease 13x9x2-inch baking pan.

Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl. Add eggs; beat well. Stir together flour and baking soda; add alternately with topping to butter mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares. About 24 bars.

Especially Dark Chocolate Cake
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup special dark Cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water
especially dark chocolate frosting (recipe follows)

Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with especially dark chocolate frosting. 10 to 12 servings.

Especially Dark Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup special dark Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter, Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup white chips
1 tablespoon shortening(do not use butter, margarine, spread or oil)
Fresh strawberries, rinsed and patted dry (about 2 pts.)
Cover tray with wax paper.

Place chocolate chips, white chips and shortening in medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at HIGH an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating, just until chips are melted when stirred.

Holding strawberry at top, dip bottom two-thirds of each berry into melted mixture; shake gently to remove excess. Place on prepared tray. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until coating is firm. Cover; refrigerate leftover dipped berries. For best results, use within 24 hours. About 3 dozen dipped berries. (3/4 cup coating)

Chocolate Lovers Cheesecake
1 pre-made graham crust
2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 cup Cocoa
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
2 eggs
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 container (8 oz.) dairy sour cream

Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, cocoa and 1 teaspoon vanilla in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared crust.

Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven; cool 15 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 425F.

Stir together sour cream, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla in small bowl; stir until smooth. Spread evenly over baked filling.

Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven to wire rack. With knife, loosen cake from side of pan. Cool completely; remove side of pan. Refrigerate several hours before serving.
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