February 14, 2018
Love and Chocolate
I show off my festive Valentine (tinsel heart-shaped) wreath,
adorned with vintage pink Christmas ornaments.
(I bought it from Etsy several years ago, from here.)
Happy Valentine’s Day! A holiday that promotes love, hearts, AND chocolate has got my enthusiastic support! Of course, love is the cornerstone of this heart-filled holiday, but
as Charles M. Schulz, of Charlie Brown fame, once put it ...
All you need is love,
but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.
Charles M. Schulz
My hubby ‘s surprise Valentine gift of beautiful roses (white are my favorite),
yummy Dove dark chocolates (dark chocolate is my favorite), and a sweet Valentine, has me smiling!
The Peach Tree Tea Room
All of this talk about chocolate makes me think of one of my favorite cocoa treats-brownies,
which then makes me think of Ghirardelli chocolate,
which makes me think of The Peach Tree Tea Room in the Texas Hill Country!
A long time ago (in the 1980’s and 90’s) in a galaxy far, far away (called Houston, Texas)…
my family and I would occasionally make the four and a half hour trek to the
Texas Hill Country and a quaint town called Fredericksburg. Steeped in German heritage and brimming with unique restaurants, this Texas town was a palate-pleasing paradise! A stand-out eatery there was The Peach Tree Tea Room, and their luscious Peach Tree Chocolate Brownies with Fudge Sauce Delight was truly revolutionary (at the time)! It was the very first time that I had ever heard of Ghirardelli chocolate, and when I went to bake these glorious brownies (thanks to The Peach Tree Tea Room Cookbook), I could not even find a source (think pre-Amazon) for Ghirardelli, the “gold standard” of chocolate.
A piece of the Peach Tree Chocolate Brownies Recipe from their 1990 cookbook is pictured above.
This recipe was the first time that I had ever heard of Ghirardelli chocolate!
(and it was hard to come by!)
My care-worn copy of The Peach Tree Tea Room Cookbook (copyright 1990)
is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks! There are many great recipes!
Although, I have not had the pleasure of visiting Fredericksburg,
or The Peach Tree Tea Room, since moving from Texas in 1997,
this restaurant is still in operation, and they still sell this wonderful cookbook, here!
Take it Easy, Take it Easy…
Times have changed, and no longer is Ghirardelli Chocolate a scare commodity. In fact, now Ghirardelli makes a variety of brownie mixes available in every grocery store in the country, making it easier than ever to mix up a batch of these mouth-watering goodies. These days, I “take it easy” and go for the mix. The good news is, the mix brownies taste great!
At the bottom of this blog is my recipe and instructions for assembling
To make things quicker and easier…
you may make the brownies by mix, or if in a major time crunch,
buy the ready-made variety from a box (Little Debbie, etc.), or from the grocery store bakery,
buy the grenadine, already prepared in the bottle,
buy already prepared chocolate ice cream sauce,
and buy already whipped canned/squirt whipped cream,
My personal favorite of the Ghirardelli Brownie mixes is the Dark Chocolate.
A Valentine Treat
My hubby and I will be having dinner in tonight, throwing something yummy on the grill. For dessert, I have prepared these Brownie Hearts. Whether making them the
“take it easy” method, or from scratch, these valentine treats are sure to please. I got my inspiration from a cute blog called Grateful Prayer Thankful Heart . Read her post here.
These brownie treats are sure to be a Valentine hit!
(This one is made without the fudge sauce.)
Setting the Mood, for Cooking that is!
When cooking, I often have one of my classic TV DVD’s playing. I Love Lucy (The Hollywood episodes are my favorite!) is my choice today. The classic heart seems appropriate for Valentine’s Day! :o)
Mix up and bake the brownies according to the directions on the box.
I like to use an 8 x 8 inch pans, for a thicker, denser brownie.
I got four hearts from a box of brownies, with “scraps” leftover to nibble on. :o)
(These were made without the chocolate sauce.)
I bought my heart-shaped 4 x 1.8 inch cookie cutter, here.
I loved Grateful Prayer Thankful Heart’s idea of flavoring the whipped cream with grenadine, and making it pink. I wanted to use a more natural grenadine, and found a recipe from COOKING LESSONS FROM THE KITCHN, changing it a bit to suit my taste.
My recipe is below. For the original recipe, click here.
1/4 cup + 1-2 Tablespoons sugar
1 cup POM juice, or 100% unsweetened pomegranate juice
1/2-1 tsp- fresh lemon juice
In a sauce pan, combine sugar and juice.
Place over medium heat on stove top.
Stir to help sugar to dissolve.
Bring mixture to a rapid boil.
Cook for 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Do not over boil!
Remove from the heat. Let mixture cool.
Add lemon juice.
Store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
The Whipping Cream
This is just a standard whipping cream recipe. As you can see from the photo below, my whipping cream did not turn out all that pink. I imagine that this is because I used my natural grenadine with no artificial colors. The flavor was wonderful though!
Flavored, but not so pink, Whipped Cream
1 pint whipping cream
4 or more ( I used 10) Tablespoons homemade grenadine syrup
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
Place all three ingredients in chilled mixing bowl.
Beat ingredients together until peaks form.
This is my version of The Peach Tree Tea Room Cookbook’s fudge sauce recipe.
4 ounces unsweetened Ghirardelli baking chocolate
3/4 cup water
1 scant cup granulated sugar
Dash of salt
2 Tablespoons salted butter
1/2 teaspoon real vanilla
Break chocolate into pieces.
In saucepan, place chocolate and water.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly as chocolate melts.
Keep stirring until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth.
Add sugar and salt.
Cook and stir for 5 minutes, making sure that sugar has completely dissolved,
and mixture is a bit thickened.
Add butter. Stir until melted.
Remove from burner.
How to Assemble the Brownie Hearts
In this order…
On plate, place a small amount of warm chocolate sauce.
Place heart-shaped brownie.
Cover brownie with spoonful of chocolate sauce, if desired (make sure it is not too hot, or whipped cream will melt.)
Place dollop of whipping cream on top of chocolate sauce and brownie.
Garnish with sprinkles.
A Brownie Heart
Another Frosting Recipe
I often make this Ghirardelli brownie mix and cover them with about half a recipe of
Aunt Liz’s Glossy Chocolate Frosting. ( I keep the other half of the frosting in the fridge, that week, for ice cream.)
The Latest on My Broken Leg Adventure
It is week one of my walking boot. I am slowly getting around again. (Aided, occasionally, by the use of a cane to keep me steady.) It is so nice to have the use of both legs!
Cute Valentines mingle amongst my encouraging get well card wishes.
I love my new Valentine (Yours & Mine) Rae Dunn mugs!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
My dear friend, Barb, text me this photo of her cute dog, Kody. :o)
Thank you, Barb!
Continued prayer for the complete and speedy healing of my leg is greatly appreciated!
Thanks for reading,
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I’m Annette usually posts every other week.
Look for my next post on Thursday, March 1.
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