Chocolate, please: 3 easy recipes you can make tonight for your Valentine

3 easy chocolate recipes from America's Test Kitchen to sweeten up your Valentine's Day

Whipping up a little chocolate delight for Valentine’s Day – or any day – is easier than you think.

Dan Zuccarello from “America’s Test Kitchen” joined Boston 25 News with three easy recipes from the show’s “Everything Chocolate” cookbook that you can make tonight.

The “America’s Test Kitchen” studio in Brookline has been cooking up a following for over 20 years and airs on PBS. You can find the complete “Everything Chocolate” cookbook with over 200 recipes here.

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POTS DE CRÈME

Pots de Creme
Pots de Creme (Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen)

Serves 8

10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon water

1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

5 large egg yolks

5 tablespoons (2 ¼ ounces) sugar

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1 ½ cups heavy cream

3/4 cup half-and-half

For the whipped cream:

1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cocoa powder and/or chocolate shavings (optional)

  1. For the pots de crème Place chocolate in bowl and set fine-mesh strainer over top. Combine vanilla, water, and espresso powder in second bowl.
  2. Whisk egg yolks, sugar, and salt together in third bowl until combined. Whisk in cream and half-and-half. Transfer cream mixture to medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping bottom of pot with wooden spoon, until thickened and silky and registers 175 to 180 degrees, 8 to 12 minutes. (Do not let custard overcook or simmer.)
  3. Immediately pour custard through fine-mesh strainer over chocolate. Let mixture stand to melt chocolate, about 5 minutes. Add espresso mixture and whisk until smooth. Divide chocolate custard evenly among eight 5‑ounce ramekins. Gently tap ramekins against counter to remove air bubbles.
  4. Let pots de crème cool completely, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days. (Before serving, let pots de crème stand at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.)
  5. For the whipped cream Using stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Dollop each pot de crème with about 2 tablespoons whipped cream and garnish with cocoa and/or chocolate shavings, if using. Serve.

Milk chocolate Pots de Crème

Milk chocolate behaves differently in this recipe than bittersweet chocolate, and more of it must be used to ensure that the custard sets. And because of the increased amount of chocolate, it’s necessary to cut back on the amount of sugar so that the custard is not overly sweet. Substitute 12 ounces milk chocolate for bittersweet chocolate and reduce sugar in pots de crème to 2 tablespoons.

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CHOCOLATE POUND CAKE

Chocolate pound cake
Chocolate pound cake (Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen)

Serves 8

16 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 cup (2 ¼ ounces) unsweetened cocoa powder

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

1 cup (4 ounces) cake flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon table salt

1 ¼ cups (8 ¾ ounces) sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 8 ½ by 4 ½-inch loaf pan. Microwave butter, cocoa, and chocolate in bowl at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth; let cool slightly.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in second bowl. Process sugar, eggs, and vanilla in food processor until combined, about 10 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add chocolate mixture and process until incorporated, about 10 seconds; transfer to large bowl.
  3. Sift flour mixture over egg mixture in 3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition until few streaks of flour remain. Continue to whisk batter gently until almost no lumps remain (do not overmix).
  4. Transfer batter to prepared pan, smooth top with rubber spatula, and gently tap pan on counter to settle batter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.
  5. Let cake cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Run thin knife around edge of pan, remove cake from pan, and let cool completely on rack, about 2 hours. Serve.