Chocoholics Everywhere

Chocolate has a special place in many peoples' hearts. For those people -- often referred to as "chocoholics" -- the mere mention of it can start their hearts racing. And in February, when boxes of it are one of the most popular Valentine's Day gifts, it's easy to get too much of a good thing.

I know what I am talking about because I would number myself among the ranks of the chocoholics. To help keep from overindulging around the middle of February, I make a very simple rule: I can only have chocolate in recipe-form ... that is, I need to make something with it. No munching decadent chocolate truffles from boxes or even nibbling chips from a bag. Nope. It's time to pull out the mixing bowls and baking pans, because I'm in the mood for chocolate!

Kissing Crescents

This recipe is a simplified version of the chocolate-filled croissants that can be found at fine bakeries. Have them with a creamy coffee drink or steamy hot chocolate for an extra-special treat.
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 24 chocolate kisses
  • Powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 375 F. Separate the crescent dough into 8 triangles. Remove the wrappers from the chocolates.

Place 2 chocolates at the wide end of each triangle; place an additional chocolate on top of the other two pieces. Starting at the wide end, roll the dough to the opposite point; pinch the edges to seal. Place the rolls, pointed side down, on an ungreased cookie sheet. Curve the rolls into crescent shapes.

Bake for 10 minutes or until the rolls are lightly browned. Cool them slightly; sift them lightly with the powdered sugar. Serve warm.

  • Yields: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Microwave Chocolate Fudge

Special thanks to Victoria Smith for sharing this quick recipe for fudge. The secret to its smooth texture? Adding silken tofu gives it creaminess and even some good nutrition, although I wouldn't call this health food!
  • 3 c. sugar
  • ½ c. butter
  • 1 (5 1/2 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 2 c. semisweet chocolate pieces
  • ½ lb. silken tofu
  • 1 c. chopped nuts
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Lightly grease a 13x9-inch baking pan. Combine the sugar, butter and evaporated milk in 3-quart glass bowl. Microwave on the highest setting for 9-10 minutes, or until a small amount dropped in cold water forms a soft ball (234 f on a microproof candy thermometer).

Stir in the chocolate pieces and tofu until the mixture is thoroughly blended. Stir in the nuts and vanilla extract.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into squares.

  • Yields: 3 pounds
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Chocolate Martini

If you love chocolate, you'll love this twist on a classic martini. Be careful, though. They pack the full punch of the traditional version!
  • 1/8 c. cocoa powder
  • 5 chocolate kisses
  • 10 oz. vanilla vodka
  • 5 oz. white creme de cacao

Prepare 5 martini glasses by moistening their rims with water and placing them in the freezer for about 20 minutes. When the glasses are chilled, spread the cocoa powder in a thin layer on a plate and "salt" the rims by pressing them into the cocoa. Place a chocolate kiss at the bottom of each glass.

In a cocktail shaker, combine the vodka and creme de cacao with plenty of ice. Shake until the mixture is well chilled and strain it evenly into the prepared glasses.

  • Yields: 5 martinis
  • Preparation Time: 10 minutes plus glass chilling time

Peanutty Chocolate Cake

Another offering from Victoria Smith features the smoothness of chocolate and the crunch of peanuts in a delightful cake. Layering the ingredients makes for an interesting texture and a pretty slice.
  • 1 (18 oz.) pkg. yellow cake mix
  • 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 c. chopped unsalted peanuts, divided
  • 1 c. chocolate chips, divided

Combine the cake mix, peanut butter, eggs, water, and oil in a large bowl. Beat on medium speed of a blender for 3 minutes. Pour one-third of the batter into a 12-cup microproof bundt pan.

Sprinkle 1/3 cup each of the peanuts and chocolate chips over the batter. Carefully pour another one-third of the batter over the peanuts and chocolate chips. Sprinkle another 1/3 cup each of the peanuts and chocolate chips over the batter. Repeat with the remaining batter, peanuts and chocolate chips. Microwave at the medium-high setting for 15-16 minutes.

Let the cake stand for 10 minutes before inventing onto a serving platter. Spoon warm Caramel Glaze (recipe below) over the cake and let it cool completely.

  • Yields: 8-10 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Caramel Glaze

This warm glaze is delightful when spooned over a rich bundt cake. Make sure you pour it while it's still warm ... or you'll be reheating it!
  • 2 T. butter
  • 3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Place the butter in 4-cup glass measure and microwave at the highest setting for 1 minute. Stir in the brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually add the milk, stirring to blend. Microwave the mixture at the highest setting for 2 1/2 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract and spoon over a cake while the glaze is still warm.

  • Yields: about 1 1/4 cups
  • Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Happy Valentine's Day!