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dark chocolate

Vegan Dark Chocolate Mousse Phyllo Cups

Chocolate Mousse Cups

Valentine’s Day rarely contributes much normalcy to my life. One year, I ended up at a Tex Mex themed bar in the middle of the ghetto. While neon-colored margheritas were ubiquitous, not a soul was dining on any food. Regardless, my date insisted we stay for dinner. The music was so loud it was hard to object.

The next year, I went out for pizza with one of my best friends. A boy, who would later become my boyfriend, ended up joining us out. Towards the end of the dinner, my friend accidentally tipped over her cup of ice water, which then went all over the boy’s lap. It was below freezing outside, but thankfully he took it well. There were no first kisses that night.

Last Valentine’s Day, I came home to a huge package in the mail. I was given a large bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolate, and an assortment of pastries from a local bakery. All sounds fantastic, right? Sure it was fantastic, but unfortunately the friend zone conversation I had to have with my admirer didn’t go over so well. He no longer speaks to me anymore.

This year? This year I’m flying solo with no plans in mind, and I’m fairly certain it will be the most normal Valentine’s Day I’ve had yet. Although, living in a city, you never know what could happen. If Valentine’s Day does end up as just another Thursday night with a square or two of dark chocolate and a good beer to myself, and maybe a phone call with a girl friend to BS about life, I’ll be 100% okay with that. Sometimes normalcy is fine by me.

Phyllo DoughPhyllo Cups

If you are, however, looking for something a little out of the ordinary to celebrate V-day, might I suggest this recipe. Chocolate mousse is a classic, and loved by all. But this definitely isn’t your classic mousse. While it tastes every bit as rich as the real deal, here, heavy cream is swapped for silken tofu to create a much lighter version of this chocolaty treat. Scooped into phyllo cups, whether its for your best friend or your lover, these are bound to impress your date. And trust me, unless you tell them, they’ll likely never guess the secret ingredient. If you want to keep the whole recipe vegan, simply ditch the phyllo cups for a graham cracker based crust. Make mini tarts for an equally adorable treat.

Click here for recipe…

Mexican Brownies with Espresso Glaze

So, this definitely isn’t my best attempt at photographing a brownie. I’d like to say sorry to the brownies for not giving them the time or flattering light they deserved. However, despite a forced pre-dawn photo debut, a glance at these chocolaty squares still makes my mouth water.

Although, there might be a chance that’s because I already know what they taste like. And what they taste like is good.

In fact, these were so rich and chocolaty that this sleepy photographer devoured two of them for breakfast before walking out the door with the remainder—of which got quickly eaten at a work party that night.

I planned my first open house party for my new job, and ended up giving it a Mexican food theme. What Mexican had to do with the event mattered little to me. What really mattered here was getting an extra large bowl of guacamole on the table and pairing it with the quesadilla platter of my dreams. I’m pretty sure the office agreed that this was a win for everyone. I think the guests conquered.

But of course, as a cook and food blogger, I wasn’t going to let the entire party pass by solely on catered food. I don’t care how delicious that guacamole was, a touch of F-F-F was a mandatory part of the table spread. Leaving dessert out of the catering menu, it was easy to decide what I’d contribute. But deciding on exactly which sweet item to make wasn’t such an easy task.

Mexican desserts aren’t really in my repertoire and when I reached out on F-F-F’s Facebook page for some help, it became clear this was probably true for many of my fans, too. (Though correct me if I’m wrong. I’d love to hear of your ideas and recipes.) After browsing the internet for ideas, I came back to the idea of brownies, a classic party option, loved by all, that can easily be considered finger food.

Cinnamon and espresso give these brownies their flare, and a touch of cayenne adds a small kick to their fancy, but not too schmancy glaze. Rich, fudgy, and a touch of spicy, peppy personality, it’s hard not to love this homemade option on the party table.

As a note, this is not a healthy brownie. But sometimes good health calls for moderation of indulgence. Especially after the stress of your first month on a new job. For an occasion like that, these will hit the spot, all in good health I assure you. Cheers.

Click here for recipe…

The Ultimate Brownies

Still not sure what to bring to your family’s Easter celebration?  Rest assure, that dark chocolaty square pictured above is always a safe bet. Nearly everyone loves a good brownie (especially the ones yielded from this recipe).

When I devour a brownie, I don’t want it to just be good. I want it to be great. The best. The kind where you can’t help but guiltlessly have yourself another one because they’re just that friggin’ delicious.

I’ve had a few of these types of brownies in my days (and more than a few that don’t quite meet these standards). But below, I unleash to you my friends the recipe for the BEST brownie I’ve ever tasted. As in so good that one bite might just spark a food orgasm in your mouth. Especially if you’re a sucker for chocolate like me.

The recipe comes from Cook’s Illustrated, a godly magazine on the food frontier. Cook’s doesn’t just create recipes. They test* and trial and transform classic recipes into science experiments until they generate an outcome that’s nearly perfect.  And for me, these brownies are just that. Perfect.

*(Sometimes carrying out as many as 70 test runs!)

Irresistibly fudgy, rich, and oh-so deeply chocolaty, these brownies are worth every last bit of splurge. A crisp exterior gives way to the moistest, fudgiest brownies I’ve ever eaten with chunks of bittersweet chocolate scattered throughout. Chocolate sublime.

The brownies require a few extra steps, but by now I’m sure you know I’m going to tell you they’re worth it. Make sure to follow the cooling instructions, as hard as that may be!

Click here for recipe…

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