Going decadent for Valentine’s Day

I received a letter from one of my readers while I was on holidays, who was frustrated with a recipe for sweet and sour apricot chicken that ran a few weeks back.

  • Feb. 8, 2011 7:00 p.m.

I received a letter from one of my readers while I was on holidays, who was frustrated with a recipe for sweet and sour apricot chicken that ran a few weeks back.

The letter was unsigned with no return address so I couldn’t offer a reply. However, that particular recipe always gets good results for me and I had good feedback from others on it. A word of advice when adjusting any chicken recipe: in this case using deboned chicken breasts instead of whole chicken pieces, you would have to decrease the cooking time because dark/mixed bone-in chicken always takes more cooking time, as the recipe called for. As well, you would have to increase the liquid required because a whole chicken in pieces gives off more juices than deboned chicken breasts. Hopefully this will be of help.

Now on to Valentine’s Day. I’ve been asked for decadent chocolate brownie recipes and have a couple here that are prize winners. Both would be perfect for dessert with perhaps a dollop of whipped cream and a strawberry on the side.

Beverly Hills Brownies

3 sticks (1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

12 oz. fine quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped

6 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1-1/4 cups flour

1 cup plus 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa

3 cups granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal baking pan, knocking out excess flour. Melt butter with chocolate in large metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth.

Remove bowl from pan and whisk in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla. Stir together flour and cocoa in a separate bowl and stir into butter mixture with sugar and salt. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven until top is firm and tester inserted into centre comes out with crumbs adhering, 40 to 45 minutes.

Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours, before cutting into squares. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream if desired.

Chocolate Sin Raspberry Truffle Brownies

1-1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup butter or margarine

3/4 cup golden brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. instant coffee (optional)

3 tbsp. water

1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 cup al-purpose flour

Topping:

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 tsp. instant coffee (optional)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup icing sugar

1/3 cup seedless red raspberry jam

Melt chocolate chips and butter in small saucepan; allow to cool. Beat golden brown sugar and eggs together.

Add chocolate mixture and coffee mixed with water if using, mix well. Stir in baking powder and flour. Blend well.

Bake in greased 8 by 8-inch pan at 350 F for 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool.

Topping: Melt chocolate chips with instant coffee in saucepan over low heat. Set aside. Beat cream cheese until fluffy, add powdered sugar and jam. Beat until fluffy. Beat in chocolate mixture until blended. Spread over top of cooled brownies. Chill at least 1 -2 hours. Cut into 16 brownies.