A lot of people hate Valentine's day, which is understandable. But I love it.
Maybe I'm biased because I've never spent one alone, or because one of my favorite colors is pink, or because before I go out to dinner I sit in a pool of sunshine on my bed in a pink bathrobe painting my nails baby pink and my toes sparkly hot pink, or because I enjoy baking chocolate-heavy things for someone. But it's really because I love romance, and all the visuals attached to it.
And in fashion, there are a lot of those. Bows. All shades of red and pink. Soft, whispery fabrics. Romantic draping. Dresses. Lace. Lingerie details. Flowers. Feathers. All the pretty things, mushed into one day and at the same time. And I think I crave them, and go crazy on Valentine's day, because I feel that a lot of these elements have been lost to "modern times" in which femininity has become less of a real thing.
However, I will always have a special place in my heart for chiffon and lace and delicacy and light petal pinks, and the old-fashioned beauty of femininity and the time it takes to embody it properly, regardless of whether or not it is considered modern or old-fashioned. I am an aspiring bridal designer, after all.
But enough about this, you're really reading this post for the chocolate part at the end. Don't lie.
Now some quick notes about this recipe: I am a college student. Which means, in a nutshell, that I am sort of poor and spacially challenged when it comes to cooking. The recipe should really call for four mini round spring-form pans (about four inches across, probably). I had a spring-form pan, but it was traditional cake sized. I had the "brilliant" idea of getting tall cookie cutters (Sur la Table was the only store that carried them taller than an inch - try three!). I realized, however, that when I was setting out my ingredients I halved the recipe (cause I was making this for two) so making a regular cake and "cutting out" the cylinders of cake wouldn't work because the cake would probably be ... short. So I set the cutters in the pan and packed the ingredients into them individually. Very unprofessional. So, just buy some baby spring-form pans and save yourself the cake-crust-oozing-out-of-the-bottom-and-I'll-never-get-it-on-this-plate-now part.
dark chocolate raspberry mini-cheesecakes
with coconut macaroon crust
recipe yields 4
bakeware needed: 4 mini spring-form pans, parchment paper, double boiler
coconut macaroon crust
1 large egg whites
1 1/2 c sweetened shredded coconut
1/3 c sugar
1 t vanilla
Preheat your oven to 350. Grease and then line your spring-form pans with parchment paper. Combine in a double boiler, stirring often to prevent burning. Cook 6-7 minutes r until egg white thickens, when mixture can hold a shape on the spoon. Divide evenly into the bottom only of your pans (not up the sides).
1/2 bag frozen raspberries (6 oz), thawed
1/6 c sugar
1 t cornstarch + 1/2 T water
Press berries over a strainer into a pan, discarding the seeds. Stir in the sugar and heat on medium until dissolved. Add cornstarch mixture, and bring to boil until thick. Set aside. Dip your finger into this and taste it - it's seriously divine. I may just pour this over vanilla ice cream one day.
dark chocolate filling
4 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
4 0z chopped semisweet chocolate
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2/3 c sugar
1/2 c sour cream
2 large eggs
Melt chocolate over a double broiler and let cool. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese, sugar, sour cream and eggs. Pour in chocolate and mix til smooth. Gently fold in raspberry sauce. Taste this too. Pour mixture into the spring-form pans, over the crust, leaving about a half-inch of space at the top, pressing gently with a spoon to even out the surface. Bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate 8 hours or overnight to firm.
dark chocolate glaze
4 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 T butter
1 t corn syrup (or if you don't have that, 1 t sugar dissolved into 1/4 t water)
1/8 c sour cream
2 cartons fresh raspberries (organic tastes best!)
Melt chocolate, butter and syrup over medium heat. Remove from heat and add sour cream. Pour into the spring-form pans over the filling to the top of the pans, spreading with a knife to get a perfectly smooth surface. Gently press individual raspberries into the glaze until each cake surface is completely covered, tips of the raspberries pointing upward. Refrigerate until firm.
Remove the spring-forms of each mini-cheesecake carefully. Using a spatula, gently lift each cheesecake from the pan bottom and place on the center of a perfectly white, disproportionately large plate. Serve to a boyfriend.
I hope everyone has a fabulous Valentine's day tomorrow!