On Valentine’s Day, chocolate is romance. On Valentine’s Day, romance is chocolate.
Either way, there is a definite mid-February correlation between love and the popular product of refined cacao beans.
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. They say candy is dandy. In both cases, thick, luscious chocolate helps to smooth the way.
This year, I made four chocolate-based dishes for my Valentine. She swooned, which is pretty much the reaction I was hoping for.
I started with a chocolate cake. Not long ago, someone asked for my favorite recipe for chocolate cake. I thought about it at some length, and even checked the computer, and I came to the conclusion that I had never run a recipe for one. Then I thought about it some more and I suddenly realized that I had never, in my entire life, made a chocolate cake (I prefer pies).
I decided to rectify that by making an old-fashioned chocolate cake, albeit one with a newfangled addition of nearly melted chocolate chips scattered throughout. The cake was marvelously moist, courtesy of a cup of corn oil — it’s Valentine’s Day, so calories don’t matter.
It was also doubly chocolatey; the chocolate in the cake itself was enlivened with additional hits of chocolate from the chocolate chips. And then it was hit with a triple dose of chocolate from the cocoa-based frosting around the cake and between each of the three layers.
Eating it was like being enveloped by a comforting cloud of chocolate.
But I still like pies, so I made a tart, too — it’s the next best thing to a pie. But it wasn’t an ordinary tart. This was a Malted Milk Chocolate Tart.
It was easier than it sounds. It was also better than it sounds, even though it sounds pretty terrific.