Sunday, February 10, 2013

Read, Drink, Love

How better to celebrate St. Valentine's Day than to snuggle up with those most dear to you to share a bit of "liquid love." For this Cocoa Chronicles, I give my gift to you, Valerie's Valentine, my personal recipe for a rich and delicious, hot cocoa.

A creative melange of flavors for when you're feeling really indulgent, this blend features Valrhona (French) and Callebaut (Belgian) chocolates along with a couple of surprises. More layered and full than your everyday blend, it is well worth a try. So grab your favorite sipping cup, and maybe even a bit of toasted and buttered crusty French baguette, curl up in your slippers and robe and enjoy.

Valerie's Valentine Hot Cocoa


1/2 Cups Grated Callebaut Milk Chocolate (33% cocoa powder)
3 Cups Whole Milk
4 Tblsp Turbino Raw Sugar
1 1/2 Tblsp Valrhona 100% Cocoa Powder
1/4 tsp Vanilla Powder
1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon (optional)
1/16 tsp Sea Salt
1/16 tsp White Pepper
1/8 tsp cornstarch

Freeze Callebaut milk chocolate for 15 min., then use a grater to shred 1/2 cup. Set aside. 
In a sauce pan, bring milk to a near boil, adding all of the sugar. Stir frequently to avoid boiling. Whisk in Valrhona cocoa powder, vanilla powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper.

For a thicker hot cocoa, in a separate cup or bowl, dissolve cornstarch into three or four tablespoons of the warmed liquid. Incorporate the fully dissolved starch mixture back into the warmed cocoa. Let simmer for 3-5 minutes or until thick. Reduce the flame.

Finally, add the grated chocolate stirring continuously and raise heat again and simmer. Pour chocolate through a sieve or strainer into your favorite serving cup or mug. Love!  


 © 2013 Valerie Williams-Sanchez. All rights reserved.


Spread the Love -- A Recipe for Delight.

As an added treat, Chef Kathleen Lewandowski has shared another original recipe.

Using a cocoa spread, Chef Lewandowski makes sharing the love with your Valentine just as easy as creating this decadent dish. She suggests you make her dish for a sinful breakfast in bed or, better yet, as a wonderful dessert.

"Who wouldn't love the pairing of chocolate, cheese and rich buttery croissants?" Chef Lewandowski told Valerie's Vignettes.

Chocolate & Cheese Stuffed Croissant French Toast



6 plain croissants or 12 mini croissants
3 eggs
1 cup milk1 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup Nocciolata or Nutella, Hazelnut spread with cocoa
6 Tbsp butter
*optional raspberry or strawberry jam

Slice croissant and spread cream cheese on top half.
In a shallow bowl, whisk eggs with milk and vanilla.
Dip croissant in egg mixture, battering both sides.
On medium heat, melt butter in a non-stick skillet.
Cook croissant first on one side till brown then flip over and cook other side.

Spread chocolate on the bottom half and cover with top croissant half.
Serve warm and sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving. Serves 6.
* You can also heat and add some raspberry or strawberry jam to the plate for color

Chef Lewandowski graduated in 2007 from the culinary program at The Institute of Culinary Education, New York, New York. Her culinary experience includes work at The James Beard House, Share Our Strength, as well as with Abigail Kirsch Pier 60, Great Performances and Chef Central.

Currently, Chef Lewandowski is a Culinary demonstrator and educator, making presentations to home chefs in the Tri-State area. To contact Chef Lewandowski, email her at


Hot Cocoa for Dinner? 

Hot Cocoa goes savory in authentic Mexican Mole sauce. Keep the chocolate flowing in an authentic Mexican Mole Sauce. In it's traditional form, the balance of savory and spicy is achieved by using ample amounts of smokey chilies and dark chocolate. Mole served over grilled chicken, with rice and a steamed or grilled seasonal vegetable, like asparagus, is a match made in heaven that also make a satisfying and succulent meal.

Follow the link below from all

Authentic Oaxacan Mole:

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