Thursday, February 13, 2014

Not So Unhealthy Valentine Treat

Why is it that January is our unofficial go-on-a-diet/New Year's resolution/lose-the-hoilday-weight month, while February becomes let's-stuff-ourselves-with-chocolate month because of Valentine's Day.

Either you're in a relationship, so you have to provide and consume sweets to celebrate, or you're not, so you have to simply consume sweets on your own to comfort yourself! And let's not forget the day after Valentine's Day, when all that candy that didn't get purchased goes on sale, so that we're tempted to indulge even more.

If you're looking for a chocolate treat that won't break your calorie bank, here's one that I've found, which if you follow this Chocolate Sweet Hearts recipe, is less than 50 calories per cookie. Yet it tastes rich enough to satisfy any chocolate-lover's craving.

The downside is that these chocolate heart cookies don't have a really long shelf life (or maybe that's a good thing--as they won't hang around long enough to tempt you after the holiday).  You get, three days tops before they go stale.

And if you feel frisky, you might drizzle them with melted white chocolate or dip them into melted dark chocolate.

NOTE:  I made these with a tablespoon of my secret chocolate weapon, black cocoa powder. Any chocolate recipe becomes far richer and more intense with a bit this magic stuff substituted for part of the cocoa powder called for in the recipe? It's the stuff the Oreo people use to make their cookies. I get mine from King Arthur's...

Chocolate Sweet Hearts
Adapted from Everyday Food

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (or 3 tbsp regular cocoa powder and 1 tbsp black cocoa powder)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg

Directions

1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of simmering water, place chocolate, butter, and brown sugar; stir frequently until almost completely melted. Remove from heat, and stir until completely melted; let cool slightly.
2. Add egg to chocolate mixture. With a mixer on low, beat until well blended. Gradually stir in flour mixture (dough will form a ball).
3. Divide dough in half; roll out each half on a sheet of parchment paper to a 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer each half (still on paper) to a baking sheet; freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Working with one half at a time, flip dough onto a work surface; peel off paper. Using a 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies; place, 1/2 inch apart, on two baking sheets. Bake until firm and fragrant, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool. If desired, drizzle with melted white chocolate.