Valentine's Day is not the time to cut calories


Treat: Chocolate fudge cookies are more redolent of love, somehow, than less sumptuous fare.

February 10, 2002|By Bev Bennett | Bev Bennett,Special to the Sun

With all the emphasis on health, nutrition and low-calorie eating, you might think that sumptuous chocolate desserts are out of favor for Valentine's Day. Banish the thought. A sweet and sentimental gift of food is always appreciated.

"When you want to cook something that says 'I love you,' you're more likely to make the point with a dessert than with pot roast," said Regan Daley, author of the best-selling cookbook The Sweet Kitchen (Artisan, 2001). "People have a very direct emotional connection to sweets. It's unchallenging pleasure."

As a former pastry chef, Daley knows all about trendy ingredients and complex baking techniques. Yet when she bakes for her loved ones she always turns to uncomplicated recipes. She has a repertoire of five to 10 recipes that she makes for her family.

"If I want my husband to come home and say, 'Wow,' we have cake. If I go to my father's house, I bring something I've made before, such as a lemon bundt cake or a simple ice cream. It's like 'granny desserts' but made properly," said Daley, who lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and two sons.

Although her desserts are classic, not groundbreaking, she makes them distinctive by using the best-quality ingredients. That's especially true when it comes to chocolate. For baking, she suggests a bittersweet chocolate product that contains at least 55 percent cocoa solids. You'll see the percentage on the label. For recipes such as frostings or chocolate chip cookies in which you'll get the unadulterated blast of chocolate, she recommends using semisweet chocolate with cocoa solids ranging between 35 and 54 percent. Or, if you like both, use a combination in your baking.

This adaptation of Daley's cookie recipe calls for bittersweet or semisweet chocolate mixed with cocoa powder for a double dose of pleasure.

Distributed by the Los Angeles Times Syndicate International, a division of Tribune Media Services.

Chocolate Fudge Cookies With Toffee And Dried Cherries

Makes about 25 cookies

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour

1 / 4 cup Dutch process unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 / 4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup dried tart cherries

4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces, or 1 cup large chips

1/2 cup chopped English toffee

In bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In bowl of heavy-duty electric mixer, beat together butter and brown and granulated sugars until blended. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, 1/3 at a time, scraping sides of bowl after each addition. By hand, stir in cherries, chocolate pieces and toffee.

Drop batter by heaping tablespoonsful onto parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees 12 to 15 minutes. Do not over-bake. Cookies will be soft in the center. Remove from oven. Remove cookies from pan and place on wire rack to cool completely.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.