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Mix It Up With Jenny - Warm Up Hearts with Chocolate

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Chocolate Cherry Merlot Brownies
Hot Chocolatier Shots with Spicy Foam

(Family Features) Ever wonder why we celebrate St. Valentine's Day during the coldest time of year? February calls for warming up-which we can do by offering everyone we care for a homemade sweet.

Chocolate is the MVP when it comes to sweets, so treat all your loved ones to super-special brownies and offer mugs of creamy, red-hot cocoa with a spicy surprise kick to it.

Make hearts skip a beat and create a Valentine's Day to remember with special treats from your kitchen: www.VeryBestBaking.com.

Jenny Harper is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the Nestlé Test Kitchens and VeryBestBaking.com.
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Chocolate Cherry Merlot Brownies

  • 1 1/4 cups (6-ounce package) dried sweet cherries, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Merlot wine
  • 8 ounces Nesté Chocolatier 53% Cacao Dark Chocolate Baking Bars, broken into small pieces
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
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    1. PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease 9-inch-square baking pan.
    2. MICROWAVE dried cherries and wine in small, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 1 minute. Set aside for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain cherries; discard wine.
    3. MICROWAVE small chocolate pieces in small, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 45 seconds; STIR. If pieces retain some of their original shape, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until melted; cool to room temperature.
    4. COMBINE flour and salt in small bowl. Beat sugar and butter in medium mixer bowl until well mixed. Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in melted chocolate and vanilla extract. Stir in flour mixture until blended. Stir in drained cherries. Spread into prepared pan.
    5. BAKE for 33 to 37 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars.

Calories: 250g     Total Fat: 10g
Cholesterol: 35mg     Protein: 2g
Carbohydrates: 38g     Sodium: 110mg

Makes 16 brownies
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Notes, Tips & Suggestions
NOTE: Sweetened dried cranberries can be substituted for the dried cherries.

Hot Chocolatier Shots with Spicy Foam

  • 2 cans (12 fluid ounces each) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Lowfat
  • 2% Milk, divided
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 2/3 cups (10-ounce package) Nestlé Chocolatier 53% Cacao Dark
  • Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/2 plus 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, divided (optional)
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    1. POUR 1/2 cup evaporated milk into medium mixer bowl; place beaters into mixture. Freeze for about 30 minutes or until ice crystals form around edge of bowl.
    2. HEAT remaining evaporated milk, water, morsels, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne pepper in medium saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted. Do not boil. Set aside.
    3. REMOVE chilled evaporated milk from freezer. Beat on high speed for 1 minute or until very frothy. Add remaining vanilla extract, remaining cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Continue beating for 3 to 4 minutes or until mixture forms soft peaks.
    4. POUR hot chocolate into eight 4-ounce demitasse cups and immediately dollop with foam topping.
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Calories: 250g     Total Fat: 14g
Cholesterol: 15mg     Protein: 7g
Carbohydrates: 9g     Sodium: 95mg

Makes 8 servings
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SOURCE: Nestlé USA, Inc.

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