Be My Valentine…

The surest route to a man’s heart? SUGAR. The quickest and easiest way to get their? Dipping pretzel snacks in melted chocolate.

At least this is the quickest way to my man’s heart. But then we are talking about someone who claims to have invented the salty/sweet popcorn mixture, and who continues to enjoy a modest thrill when he thinks he’s detected the hint of a raised eyebrow from a cinema snack server.

I got the idea from reminiscing recently about how good Nestle’s Flipz were and what at travesty it is that they don’t seem to be sold in the UK anywhere. Actually they sell them in Cyber Candy, but I’m sure they were once widespread enough to make regular appearances in my lunchbox. Maybe they were banned when the health colour wheel came in. There’s no reassuring yourself that the salt segment’s green with salty, chocolate covered pretzels.

But red is of course the colour of Valentine’s Day passion so, with this in mind, I set to work creating heart-attack treats for my true love.

I can’t emphasise too much how easy this was (unless he’s reading this blog, in which case it was incredibly tricky and time-consuming). Just melt your chocolate using the double boiler method. This is when you boil water in a  pan and melt chocolate in a bowl over the top. Just be careful when you lift the bowl as all of the scalding steam trapped underneath will come out. And you wouldn’t what to spend the most romantic day of the year nursing third degree burns.

I melted some milk chocolate and, in a separate bowl,  some white chocolate which I put a drop of red food dye in to turn it pink. I used Sainsbury’s Basics chocolate, purely in the interests of course of testing out for you whether cheap chocolate melts as well as the fancy baking variety. It does.

Then dip your mini preztels in, either submerging entirely or covering half.  I then used a fork to splatter white chocolate over milk and vice versa. The result was rather decorative if I say so myself. Because the preztels look like tiny hearts this was a particularly good Valentine’s Day treat but I reckon they’d make a great pressie to a loved one, even if just your Mum, throughout the year…

Next up was pudding. Naturally I was tasked with this while my boyfriend made the bit of the meal that actually counted. Well I’d show him…

I’ve never tried meringue before. I’ve always been put off by various horror stories, like my housemate’s new fella who allegedly  went through 12 eggs and made three attempts before he managed to create the perfect pavlova.

Well, not to seem cocky, but I don’t really see what the fuss is about. I think the key is to make sure that you have a pristine mixing bowl and don’t let any egg yolk get into your egg whites. I also whipped my egg whites for so long, and so vigorously that my arm felt it was going to drop off, and was sporting a sexy sweaty sheen by the time my boyfriend arrived (I’ve made the mistake of not whipping egg whites for long enough in the past and been left with a kind of tirimasu cocktail, the mixture was so sloppy).

Here’s the recipe I used:

Again, these would make a lovely treat for a loved one at anytime of the year. Swirling a bit of red food dye through them with a fork was particularly effective.

The only warning I’d administer with this recipe is that the whole thing is insanely sweet. Be careful not to spoil your evening of romance by slipping into a sugar-induced coma after pud. Also, it doesn’t tell you what to use the lemon juice for in this recipe. I’ve had a hunt around and it seems that this should have gone into the meringue mixture (whoops) as acids like cream of tartar and lemon juice help stabilise the meringue. Maybe that’s why my pudding started shouting about being a third wheel and weeping mid-meal…

Do you have any tips for cooking stable meringue? And does anyone know how to achieve that optimum chewiness? Mine were just a little too crispy…

Also, what did you cook your special someone for Valentine’s dessert or gifts? I’d love to know. But keep it clean…

2 Responses to “Be My Valentine…”
  1. Sophie says:

    I think Rich would argue that he created the salty/sweet popcorn mix……….boys!

    Might try the pretzel thing myself…flipz were ace.


  2. boogie. says:

    these look so delicious! i just wanna pop a movie & munch on these in the couch!

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