March 2019

A Classic Valentine’s Day Idea with a Twist:
Easy Dessert Recipes for DIY Chocolate Truffles & Raspberry Trifle

By Valerie Gordon, Guest Editor

valerie-gordon-valentines-day-desserts

Because of all the years I’ve spent working in restaurants, the last place on earth where I want to be on Valentine’s Day is a restaurant. Thanksgiving through Valentine’s Day is the craziest time of the year at my artisan chocolate shop and bakery, Valerie Confections. So once our busy season hits, there is nothing that my partner Stan and I love more than a great bottle of wine and good food for a romantic DIY Valentine’s Day celebration at home.

We start with Manhattans (my fave holiday cocktail) and nibble on some crostini with cumquat marmalade, gruyere cheese, and salami. For dinner we get a really fantastic bottle of red wine and either order pizza from Mozza2Go, near our Los Angeles home, or if we have time, Stan makes a great cast-iron pizza.

Valentine’s Day Chocolate: For an Easy Dessert or a Romantic Gift
For your romantic Valentine’s Day celebration, your dessert should definitely be something you can eat with your fingers. Nothing is sexier! Plus, the natural aphrodisiac properties of chocolate make DIY chocolate truffles the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert. These homemade Rustic Chocolate Truffles are easy to make and beyond delicious.

Rustic Chocolate Truffle Recipe
Makes 50 delicious chocolate truffles, which keep 2 weeks once refrigerated

Ingredients Needed for Chocolate Truffle Recipe
• 2½ cups bittersweet (or 72%) chocolate, chopped
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 1¼ cups heavy cream
• 1 cup any kind of unsweetened powdered cocoa

How to Make Chocolate Truffles
• Combine chocolate, butter, and salt in a medium-size bowl.
• Boil cream in a small saucepan until cream bubbles.
• Pour cream over chocolate, butter, and salt.
• Let sit for 1 minute, then stir until the chocolate melts and mixture is thoroughly combined.
• Refrigerate uncovered for 1 hour.
• Place cocoa in a bowl.
• Using a small scoop, melon baller, or teaspoon, scoop small rounds of truffle mixture, roll into balls, and place in cocoa 1 at a time, rolling to coat completely.
• Store in the refrigerator in a covered container.

Valentine’s Day Celebration Dessert for a Group: Easy & Elegant Raspberry Trifle Recipe
If you are hosting a group, I feel it’s really important to have one beautiful showcase dessert. Raspberry trifle is always a hit—it couldn’t be easier to assemble, and it’s meant to be shared. A wonderful dessert for a party!

Valentine’s Day Raspberry Trifle Recipe
Makes 1 raspberry trifle, which keeps 2–3 days once refrigerated

Ingredients Needed for Raspberry Trifle Recipe
• 1 store-bought pound cake
• 4 cups fresh raspberries
• 2 cups heavy cream
• ⅓ cup Chambord, Cassis, or favorite fruit liqueur
• 2 cups berry jam (we use our own Valerie Confections Blushing Berry Jam for best results, but you can use any kind of berry-based jam—raspberry, strawberry, blueberry—anything “berry”)
• Organic rose petals (pansies are also fine, and are edible; if edible flowers are unavailable, garnish with a larger amount of your favorite fresh fruit)

How to Make Raspberry Trifle
• Using a standing or hand-held mixer, whip heavy cream and Chambord to medium peak (approximately 2 minutes or when it appears slightly stiff).
• Cut pound cake into 1” slices.
• Spoon 4 tablespoons of jam into the bottom of a trifle bowl or glass bowl measuring 10”–12” in diameter and 4”–5” in height. It’s key that the bowl is glass.
• Place 1 layer of pound cake on top of jam, and trim cake slices to fit the bowl.
• Spread a 4-tablespoon layer of jam on top of the pound cake.
• Use ⅓ of the Chambord whipped cream and layer over pound cake (for 3 layers).
• Add 1 layer of raspberries, using approximately 1⅓ cups each time.
• Repeat layering until the trifle bowl is filled to the top.
• Finish with a layer of Chambord whipped cream and sprinkle with raspberries and rose petals.
• Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Related Links
Be My BFF Valentine: Show Your Best Friends the Love on Valentine’s Day
Try These Great Desserts When You’re Not in the DIY Mood
What Are the Next Big Foodie Trends?

Valerie Gordon, Sweet Chef of Valerie Confections
Valerie Gordon is a culinary tour de force. From a childhood love of decadent sweets, Valerie developed a lifelong passion for discovering and creating delicious moments with food. She has forged a unique and varied career, and is equally adept . . . Read more

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Win 2 Tickets to Patricia Field’s Disco Valentine’s Day Ball!
No plans for Valentine’s Day? Don’t fear—we are giving away 2 tickets to the hottest V-Day party of the year! It’s hosted by Patricia Field, the birthday girl of the night and stylist for Sex and the City, so be ready to dress to impress. Click here to enter.

Valerie Gordon: Sweet Chef of Valerie Confections

valerie-Gordon-bio

From Childhood Sweets to Culinary Career
Valerie Gordon is a culinary tour de force. From a childhood love of decadent sweets, Valerie developed a lifelong passion for discovering and creating delicious moments with food. She has forged a unique and varied career, and is equally adept at running fine restaurants as she is working in a busy kitchen. After spending her formative culinary years in San Francisco, amidst the early days of the farm-to-table movement, she relocated to Los Angeles to run the fabled Les Deux Cafés, one of the most celebrated (and missed) restaurants in recent Hollywood history.

Valerie Confections Is Born
Entirely self-trained as a chef, she left Les Deux and founded her namesake confectionery in 2004 with her partner Stan Weightman Jr. Since that time, Valerie Confections has become recognized as one of the top artisanal chocolate brands in the country, known for modern interpretations of classic chocolates and confections, all elegantly packaged for gifting.

New at Valerie Confections: Preserves Set for Williams-Sonoma Stardom & More
Never content to rest on her laurels and always interested in absorbing and exploring the world around her through food, Valerie continually expands her company. In 2009, Valerie introduced her line of Classic California Cakes, paying homage to bygone bakeries (including the beloved Blum’s bakery of Valerie’s childhood). She recently developed a line of preserves, which were subsequently named “Best in Los Angeles” by Los Angeles Magazine. In addition to local farmers markets, they will soon be available in select Williams-Sonoma locations nationwide. Most recently, Valerie collaborated with renowned Los Angeles design firm, Commune Design, on a chocolate collection inspired by Byzantine tiles.

Valerie Gordon Builds Her Chocolate Brand
Valerie Confections has been recognized in many national media outlets, including Vogue, House & Garden, Newsweek, In Style, USA Today, Chocolatier, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, and the nationally syndicated radio programs The Splendid Table and Good Food. Valerie Confections will also be featured in an upcoming episode of Unique Eats on the Cooking Channel.

The First Cookbook for Valerie Confections’ Recipes
Valerie’s recipes have appeared in many online and print publications, notably the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Daily Candy. Her first cookbook is scheduled to be released by Artisan Publishing in 2013. Valerie and Stan live in Los Angeles with their young son August.

Related Links
Get Easy Dessert Recipes for DIY Chocolate Truffles & Raspberry Trifle, Perfect for Valentine’s Day or Any Day
Try These Great Desserts When You’re Not in the DIY Mood
What Are the Next Big Foodie Trends?

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