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February

Valentine Sweets

Also see: Gift Ideas
Valentine Recipes
Chocolate Bark (Garnish) Chocolate Cut Outs (Garnish)
Chocolate Coated Almonds (Garnish) Chocolate Leaves (Garnish)
Chocolate Cones (Garnish) Hand Sculpted Chocolate (Garnish)
Chocolate Curlers (Garnish) My Sweet's Sugar Cookies
Chocolate Curls (Garnish) My Sweet's Buttercream Frosting
Chocolate Bark
chill time: 5 minutes
3 oz semisweet chocolate, grated or finely chopped
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
Melt the chocolate.  Remove from heat.  Pour the chocolate into the prepared pan and spread evenly to a thickness of 1/8 inch.  Chill for 5 minutes, or until hard.
Remove from the refrigerator and shake the paper over the baking sheet as if you were shaking out a towel.  This will break the chocolate into strips and slivers.
To use, press the chocolate slivers into the top or sides of a cake to give it the appearance of bark.
Works well on rolled cakes.
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Chocolate Coated Almonds
chill time: 30 minutes
yield: 1 lb
3 oz semisweet or unsweetened chocolate, grated or chopped
3 1/2 cups whole almonds, toasted
In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat, leaving the top of the double boiler over the pan of hot water.
Dip the almonds, one at a time, into the chocolate and place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet.  Chill for 30 minutes until set.
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Chocolate Cones
chill time: 1 hour
yield: 1 dozen
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated or chopped
1 tsp. butter
In the top of a double boiler, over simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat.
Cut parchment paper or waxed paper into six 4 inch squares.  Cut the squares diagonally in half to form triangles.  Roll into cones and tape securely.  Trim tops evenly.
Place 1 tsp. of the melted chocolate inside each cone.  Using a small paint brush, brush the chocolate over the inside of the cone, about 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick.  Place on a waxed paper lined baking sheet and chill for 1 hour or until hard.  Carefully tear the paper away from the chocolate cones.  Place on the baking sheet and chill until using.
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Chocolate Curlers
yield: 1 dozen
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, grated or chopped
Melt the chocolate.  Remove from heat and stir constantly until the temperature of the chocolate drops to 88-91 degrees.
Scrape the chocolate onto a clean, flat surface and spread out into a long 3 inch wide band no thicker than 1/8 inch.  Allow to cool until the chocolate is firm but not set.
Using a knife, score the chocolate at 3 or 4 inch intervals.  Hold a plastic scraper at a 45 degree angle to the chocolate at the first scored line.  Push the scraper along, allowing the chocolate to roll up into cigarettes as you go.  Carefully transfer the cigarettes to a waxed paper lined baking sheet and cool to room temperature.
Note:  You will need to work quickly, as the chocolate soon becomes too hard to work with.  The broken ones can be remelted and used again.
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Chocolate Curls
chill time: 30 minutes
semisweet, milk, or white chocolate bars
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
Dip the blade of a sharp vegetable peeler in hot water and wipe dry.  Grasp the chocolate with a paper towel so that the heat from your hand does not melt the chocolate.
Scrape the vegetable peeler along one of the edges in a downward motion to form tight curls, letting them fall onto the prepared pan.
Warm the blade again in hot water, if necessary.
Cover and chill the curls 30 minutes or until ready to use.
Use the top of a knife or a pair of tweezers to handle the curls.
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Chocolate Cut Outs
chill time: 30 minutes
yield: 1 cup
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp vegetable shortening
Line baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
In the top of a double boiler, over simmering water, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring until smooth.  Pour the mixture onto the prepared pan and spread to a thickness of 1/4 inch.  Cool until set but not hard.  The chocolate should not be allowed to harden and become brittle.
Use cookie cutters of a stencil and a sharp knife to cut out the desired shapes.  Transfer the cutouts to a waxed paper lined baking sheet 1/2 inch apart.  cover and chill completely.
Note: Can substitute semisweet chocolate or white chocolate for the chocolate chips.
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Chocolate Leaves
yield: 2 dozen leaves
chill time: 1 hour
24 1 1/2 inch long fresh picked leaves (caution!  Use only leaves from edible plants such as mints, bay, lemon, etc.)
2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped, or 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, or same amounts white chocolate
1 tsp. butter
2 oz. almond bark
Thoroughly wash the leaves and pat dry with paper towels. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper.
In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth.  Remove from the heat, leaving the top of the double boiler over the pan of hot water.
Using a pastry brush, spread the chocolate on the underside of the leaves, about 1/8 inch thick.  Do not coat over the edges or it will be difficult to separate.  Place on the prepared pan and chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until hard.
Starting at the stem end, carefully peel the leaves off the chocolate.  Place the chocolate leaves on the pan and chill until ready to use.
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Hand Sculpted Chocolate
resting time: 1 hour
3 oz. semisweet chocolate or white chocolate
4 1/2 tsp. corn syrup
In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring until smooth.  Add the corn syrup and stir until well blended.  Pour the mixture into an airtight container.  cover and let stand at room temperature for at least one hour.
Knead the mixture until it forms a workable dough that is smooth and elastic.  Use the dough to make flowers, leaves, or other decorations.
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My Sweet's Sugar Cookies
1 ½ cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Sprinkles, colored sugar optional

Directions
1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
2. Preheat oven to 400º F. Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
4. Frost with My Sweet's Buttercream Frosting and decorate with with sprinkles or lightly with sugar.
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My Sweet's Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
Color paste or liquid food coloring

Directions
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening, and vanilla.
Blend in the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beat in the milk, and continue mixing until light and fluffy.
Add coloring. If using liquid food coloring, add a small additional amount of confectioners' sugar to avoid being too "wet."
Keep icing covered until ready to decorate.
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