Happy Valentine's Day

At our house Valentine's Day consists of...absolutely nothing. I know, we're so boring, but the thing is that neither of us cares about Valentine's Day. So, every year it comes and goes with nothing special... except that I do manage to sneak in some sort of chocolate dessert. I mean, come on, it's Valentine's Day, you have to eat something chocolaty! I realize that I sound like a crazy person right now - not caring about Valentine's Day, but also insisting on a chocolate dessert. I guess I just need to get chocolate any time that I can.

It's best to make something simple on Valentine's Day as it most often falls on a weeknight. This year, I think we'll be having the recipe below for chocolate affogato. Affogato is an Italian dessert that is typically made by pouring a shot of warm espresso over a scoop of vanilla gelato, and it's absolutely perfect just like that. I like to take it up a notch though by using chocolate gelato and topping it with softly whipped cream and toasted, slivered almonds. It only takes a few minutes to make so you can easily do it after your kids go to bed.

And, if you're in the mood for a different, but still chocolaty dessert, luckily I have plenty including: chocolate peanut butter toffee cookies, fudge, maple chocolate pecan pie, chocolate zucchini cake, Texas sheet cake, coconut cake with dark chocolate chunks, chocolate caramel treasures, hot chocolate, flourless chocolate peanut butter cookies, banana streusel coffee cake, chocolate crinkle cookies, chocolate pots de creme, chocolate pecan macaroons, and chocolate chip cookies - two ways.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Chocolate Affogato

1 pint chocolate gelato or good quality ice cream
6 tablespoons hot, freshly brewed espresso
1/4 cup cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons toasted, sliced almonds

Beat the cream, sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Set out two bowls and place two small scoops of gelato into each. Pour 3 tablespoons espresso over each. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with almonds. Serve immediately.

Serves 2.


Good Morning

If you read this blog regularly, you may be under the impression that I sit around eating desserts all day. I wish! No, in reality, while I definitely have a sweet tooth, I also enjoy eating light and healthy. I guess growing up with health conscious parents made a good impression on me. Often the dessert you may have been reading about here was preceded by something like kale and bean soup for dinner.

On Saturday mornings as a kid, sometimes my dad would make us a treat: pancakes. But, we always got whole wheat pancakes via a mix from the health food store. It didn't matter that they weren't the buttermilk pancakes that I ate at my friends' homes after sleepovers. They were delicious, and to this day I still prefer the nutty flavor of whole wheat pancakes over other kinds.

So, when I opened my Whole Living magazine several months ago and saw a recipe for whole grain waffles/pancakes, I knew I had to try it. I've adapted it, and it has become my go-to pancake recipe for the Saturday mornings when we want a departure from cereal.  Since it's fully whole-wheat I even feel okay giving Miles a pancake...without syrup that is, at least for now.

Whole Grain Pancakes

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons wheat germ
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
1/4 cup canola oil, plus more for coating the pan
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pure maple syrup for serving

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, canola oil, egg, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.

Heat a nonstick pan or griddle pan over medium heat. Lightly coat with canola oil. Pour batter in 1/3 cup portions into pan. Cook until the tops of the pancakes begin to bubble and the underside is golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and cook another 1-2 minutes until second side is golden. Serve warm with maple syrup.

Makes approximately 10 three-inch pancakes.