For the Love of Chocolate

Tempting. Tantalizing. Deliciously indulgent. And Valentine's most beloved ingredient.

Chocolate QuesadillasChocolate QuesadillasChocolate Quesadillas

No wonder ancient tribes called it food of the gods. The heavenly taste, texture, and aroma of chocolate is delightfully comforting -- definitely something for rejoicing.
Just in time for chocolate’s special day, here’s a sweet spectrum of delectable desserts so rich they’re almost sinful. From showy Chocolate Fudge Strawberry Shortcake to rich Double Chocolate Stuffed Cupcakes, to handsome Tuxedoed Strawberries, each of these delectable desserts is sure to satisfy body and soul. For a bonus chocolaty treat, see our Chocolate Quesadillas at You’ll also find tips and tricks for melting chocolate to make the Tuxedoed Strawberries.

Chocolate Fudge
Strawberry Shortcake
8 servings

• 1 brownie mix, mixed according to package directions but not baked
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 4 - 5 cups sliced strawberries
• 8 whole strawberries
• Chocolate syrup

1. Prepare brownie mix according to directions, except bake in two, 8” cake pans instead of a 9” x 13” pan. Allow to cool completely before removing from pans.
2. Place heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla in a bowl and beat until stiff peaks form. (Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to make the dessert.)
3. To construct dessert, place one brownie layer on a serving platter. Top this layer with half of the whipped cream. Arrange half the sliced strawberries on top of whipped cream. Place remaining brownie on top and add remaining strawberries. Dollop with remaining whipped cream and perch whole berries on top.
4. To serve, cut dessert into pieces and place each serving on a dessert plate. Drizzle with chocolate syrup.

Double Chocolate
Stuffed Cupcakes
36 cupcakes

• 3 cups flour
• 2 cups sugar
• ½ cup cocoa powder
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 cups water
• ⅔ cup vegetable oil
• 2 tablespoons vinegar
• 2 tablespoons vanilla

• 1, 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
• 1 egg
• 1 1/3 cups sugar, divided use
• Pinch of salt
• 1 cup chocolate chips (we used the dark variety found in Central Market’s bulk section)

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 36 muffin cups with paper liners.
2. In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in water, vegetable oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Fill paper liners half full.
3. In a separate bowl, make the filling: beat together cream cheese, egg, 1 cup sugar, salt, and chocolate chips. Spoon one tablespoon filling on top of each cupcake. Sprinkle each with ½ teaspoon sugar. Bake 30 minutes.

Tuxedo Strawberries
6 decorated berries
For the very best taste, we suggest using Valrhona chocolate, found at Central Market.

• 1 cup melted white chocolate
• 1 cup melted dark or milk chocolate
• 6 large strawberries

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.
2. Dip each berry in white chocolate, leaving a ring of red berry at the top. Place on prepared baking sheet and set aside for chocolate to set up and dry. (Placing dipped berries in refrigerator for a few minutes helps the chocolate set up.)
3. When white chocolate is completely dry, dip each side of the berry into the melted dark chocolate, forming a white V in the center. Place back on prepared baking sheet and let set up.
4. To finish decorating, use a very small, pointed art brush or the end of a skewer to draw on bow tie and buttons, using melted white chocolate. Allow chocolate to set up.

Note: Chocolate-dipped berries can be stored in the refrigerator for only a few hours (up to 6) before they become juicy and begin to weep.

To see Judie's Blog on Chocolate Quesadillas and techniques for melting chocolate CLICK HERE.