Tasty, fun, and a little bit cheesy if you want to go over-the-top on presentation, this easy chocolate “mousse” is a quick three-ingredient dessert to impress your sweetie on Valentine’s Day. Or you can enjoy it on your own anytime — it really is that simple.
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sifted cocoa powder, or 1/3 cup for dark chocolate flavor
1/2 cup powdered sugar or 1/4 cup for dark chocolate flavor
1/4 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract (optional)
Fruit for garnish
Using a hand or stand mixer with a wire whisk attachment, begin whipping the cream in a chilled bowl until frothy and slightly thickened. Add the cocoa powder and powdered sugar and carefully mix until soft peaks form. Add the optional extract and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Spoon the mousse into a plastic bag or piping bag with a tip and pipe into your preferred small bowl or dessert glass for extra panache. Garnish with fruit and serve immediately.
If you plan to serve later or you’re serving at a warmer temperature, you can stabilize the mousse with gelatin and cold water. Add one packet of unflavored gelatin to 1/4 cup cold water and allow it to bloom for two minutes, then melt in microwave for 15 seconds or until liquid (heating times will vary). Let the gelatin cool until it’s just warm but still pourable. Prepare the mousse as directed, but slowly pour the gelatin into the still-running mixer once the mousse has reached medium peaks. After the gelatin has been added, continue whipping to stiff peaks. Be careful with temperature — too-cool gelatin will form clumps, and too-warm gelatin will deflate the mousse. Once the mixture has reached stiff peaks, serve as normal.
Swiss cheese fondue
Do you want to enjoy an interactive meal in good company? This cheese fondue from Switzerland is a pure delight.
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• 2 teaspoons cornstarch
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 14 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
• 7 ounces Vacherin cheese, grated
• 7 ounces Emmental cheese, grated
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 tablespoons kirsch
• 1 baguette, cut into cubes
1. Rub the inside of the fondue pot with the crushed garlic clove. Add the cornstarch and wine to the fondue pot and whisk to combine.
2. Turn the fondue pot up to medium-high. Once the wine is hot, gradually add the cheeses, stirring to melt them—season with nutmeg and pepper to taste. Finish with the kirsch.
3. Serve with cubed bread. Guests can dip the bread into the sauce with a fondue fork.
In addition to cubed bread, feel free to serve other foods for dippings, such as cold cuts, sausages, and vegetables. Let your imagination run wild!
These spiced Belgian biscuits pair perfectly with a glass of milk or a cup of tea. Enjoy one for dessert or as a snack.
• 2 1/4 cups brown sugar
• 2 egg yolks
• 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
• 3 tablespoons 35% heavy whipping cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 1 cup almond flour
• 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
• 1/4 teaspoon ground aniseed
1. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter, egg yolks, cream, vanilla, and lemon zest. Mix for about 5 minutes using an electric mixer until pale and airy. Add the almond flour and mix until well incorporated.
2. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Gently pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, beating constantly. Form a ball with your hands, cover it with plastic wrap and let it stand at room temperature overnight.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out pretty shapes with a cookie cutter or knife.
4. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet—Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool completely before serving.
This divine open-faced Danish sandwich features a variety of gourmet toppings, making it perfect for breakfast or brunch.
• 1/2 a ripe avocado
• 1 egg
• 2 slices rye bread
• 1 tablespoon butter, softened
• 3 sprigs fresh dill
• 1 shallot, sliced
• 2 tablespoons capers
• 3.5 ounces smoked salmon, sliced
• 1/4 cup fresh watercress
• Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a small bowl, mash the avocado with a fork. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Fill a small pot with water and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat, gently place the egg into the water, and simmer for 6 to 7 minutes, depending on its size. Remove the egg from the pot and immediately immerse it in cold water to stop cooking.
3. Toast and butter the slices of rye bread.
4. Divide the avocado mixture between the 2 slices of bread. Place a few dill fronds on each slice. Divide the shallot, capers, smoked salmon, and watercress evenly between the slices.
5. Peel the egg and cut it in half. Place each half on the smørrebrød. Garnish with the remaining dill and season with salt and pepper.
Italian wedding soup
This tasty, hearty soup is an Italian classic. Serve it on a cold day for maximum comfort!
• 7 ounces of ground beef
• 7 ounces of ground pork
• 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
• 1 egg
• 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped, divided
• 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, divided
• 1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped, divided
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 1/2 cups carrots, finely diced
• 1 cup onion, finely diced
• 1 cup celery, finely diced
• 8 cups chicken stock
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
• 1 teaspoon dried parsley
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
• 3/4 cup uncooked orzo (or puntalette)
• 7 ounces of fresh spinach
• Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large bowl, combine the beef, pork, breadcrumbs, egg, 2 cloves of garlic, half the Parmesan cheese, and half the parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Using your hands, shape them into small balls about 1 inch in diameter.
2. In a large pot, melt the butter and brown the meatballs on all sides, a few at a time. Set aside.
3. In the same pot, sauté the carrots, onions, and celery for a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining garlic and continue cooking for about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and all the dried spices. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
4. Add the meatballs and pasta and simmer for about 10 minutes until the meatballs are fully cooked. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Add the spinach right before serving.
5. Pour the soup into 6 pretty serving bowls. Garnish with the remaining fresh parsley and Parmesan cheese.
Green beans amandine
This classic French green bean dish makes a great side for a holiday meal.
• 10 ounces green beans
• 1/2 cup slivered almonds
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• Zest of one lemon
• Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a large pot, bring water to a boil. Trim the green beans and blanch them in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse them with cold water to prevent the beans from continuing to cook. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, toast the slivered almonds. Set aside.
3. In a large pan, heat the butter and olive oil. Add the green beans and sauté for about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the toasted almonds and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, and then place the bean dish on a serving plate.
Roast chicken with sage
This fragrant roast chicken dish is sure to become a holiday favorite.
• 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
• 2 tablespoons fresh sage, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
• 1 tablespoon fresh chives, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground pepper
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 whole chicken
• 3 red apples, halved
• 2 yellow onions, quartered
• 1 lemon, quartered
• 3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
• A few fresh sage leaves
• 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a small bowl, combine the butter, fresh herbs, and spices. Set aside.
2. In a roasting pan with a rack, place the chicken. Insert 2 apple halves, 2 onion pieces, the lemon wedges, and the garlic cloves into the cavity. Place the remaining apple and onion pieces in the roasting pan underneath the chicken.
3. Gently slide your fingers under the chicken skin to loosen it. Insert a tablespoon of herb butter between the breast and the skin. Gently press down to spread the butter evenly. Repeat on the other breast. Spread the remaining butter over the entire chicken, including the thighs and wings.
4. Insert an oven-safe meat thermometer into one breast and place the chicken in the oven until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. Take the chicken out of the oven and let it stand for about 10 minutes. Remove the roasting rack from underneath the poultry and then set the chicken back down on the cooked aromatics. Garnish with sage and rosemary before serving.
Using a roasting pan and meat thermometer for this recipe will ensure the chicken cooks evenly and gets a crispy skin.