Chocolate mousse has been a go-to dessert for years, but when I saw this version on Bon Appétit last week, I realized I hadn’t had it, or made it, in some time. When I worked in restaurants, it was often part of my daily prep routine, and the simple actions of whipping cream and egg whites instantly bring me back to those days. So after a long and busy weekend, I whipped up a batch as a sweet reward.
If I still had my pastry chef hat on today, I would make a rosemary-orange caramel to go underneath the mousse and maybe fry up some rosemary as a garnish. But since this mousse is just for me (and to share with friends, I promise!), I’ve kept it simple. I swapped in brown sugar for a slight caramelly flavor, and made it lighter and fluffier by doubling the egg whites; if you want a denser mousse only use two. I’ll probably top it with some of that Choco-Coco granola for texture and call it a day. No matter how you serve—with whipped cream, inside a tart shell, along with cake—it’s a simple way to share something sweet with your loved ones, perhaps this weekend. Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day to all! Read More
Say “I love you” with a sweet bite of almond and pumpkin seed toffee.
Valentine’s Day—whether thought of as a day for honoring a Christian martyr or an excuse for greeting card companies to pump out pink and red lovable gifts—is all about love. Loving your family, your friends, your sweetie, and yourself, it’s a day set aside to say I love you to everyone who needs to hear it. Going out of your way to be nice is the easiest way to make someone else feel wonderful, it comes along with that little burst of feel-goodness, and best of all, it doesn’t cost a thing. As lovely as fancy or thoughtful gifts are, the gift of a smile, a friendly conversation, or a happy hug can go a long way to making someone feel great, and I like to think that’s what Valentine’s Day really is all about.
Another reason why I love Valentine’s Day? There is no hiding that I have a massive sweet tooth, and toffee is pretty high on my list of favorites. This recipe is easy to put together, a great way to use up extra nuts or flavorings, and makes a lovely gift, no matter what the occasion. So whether you are making sure your partner, your sister, or your best friend knows you love them today, perhaps we can all take a lesson from Valentine’s Day, and remember to let them know it more often, with sweet gifts of candy and by remembering to say I love you more often.
A shared-kitchen spotlights local chefs and offers a Valentine’s treat.
One of the first events I attended after moving to Chicago last winter was the Logan Square Pastry Market. As I made my way through the packed crowd, I was wowed by delicate macaroons, airy gelato, and bitter dark chocolates that vendors offered. This year I made sure to arrive early and was just as pleased. The space affords starting-out-bakers an industrial size kitchen, and is used by many local cooks looking for a place to make their goodies, including favorites like Katherine Anne Confections and The Baked Escape. They open the doors several times a year to share a taste with the public, and samples of caramels, chocolates, cookies, and ice cream abound. It’s the perfect place to pick up a last minute Valentine’s day treat.
Logan Square Kitchen, 2333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Pastry Market Feb. 12- 13, 10a.m.- 3p.m. $1 admission fee.