Celebrating National Chocolate Lovers Month - Celebrating Life with Paula Blog at Allrecipes.com - 267543

Celebrating Life with Paula

Celebrating National Chocolate Lovers Month 
Feb. 14, 2012 9:25 pm 
Updated: Mar. 13, 2012 6:25 pm

What better day to celebrate Chocolate Lovers Month than Valentine's Day? I decided at the last minute I wanted to have a few people over tonight, so I sent out an e-mail invitation a couple of days ago. Here's what I wrote:

          Are you planning on taking your "Valentine" out to eat on Valentine's Day, or are 

          you planning a different day since the crowds will be horrendous with several hour 

          wait times?   Whichever, surely you will still want dessert!

          You are invited to help me celebrate Chocolate Lovers Month by coming to my 

          house on Tuesday, February 14, 7:00-8:30pm for a Chocolate Dessert Bar. Try one 

          tasty chocolate morsel, or get one of each! Coffee or hot chocolate...or both! 

          Hopefully, the weathermen will be right about the rain not turning into any ice or 

          snow accumulation. Hope to see you here tomorrow night!

I had been thinking about celebrating this holiday; I just didn't make up my mind when to do it until the last minute.  In fact,  I had asked for some favorite chocolate recipes on The Buzz.  As usual, you folks really came through for me.  I got 32 responses! Here's the link if you'd like to see what everyone suggested.

I didn't have a lot of time once I decided to have my little get-together on Valentine's night, so I chose recipes based on how easy they were to make.

I knew I wanted to offer coffee and hot chocolate, so I made Instant Hot Cocoa Mix. I must say, it's the only recipe I was disappointed in.  It was just too watery tasting. Fortunately, none of my guests wanted hot chocolate :) Tomorrow, I'm going to try it in milk and see if I like it any better. I saw several recipes that called for instant chocolate pudding.  I wonder if adding that would make it better.

My favorite chocolate treat I made was Fudge Chunkies. Thank you, Linda (LMT), for recommending them. They are dark chocolate cookies with a huge chocolate punch. The recipe says it makes 16 cookies, but I made 24 and still cooked them 13 minutes.  These really are easy to make and taste out of this world!

I also made Pretzel Turtles, a very easy treat made with pretzels, Rolos, and a pecan half. This is the only dessert I had ever made before.  All the rest were new recipes.

Hockey Pucks were Ritz Crackers spread with peanut butter and dipped in chocolate.  I used white chocolate.

I wanted different types of chocolate desserts, so I decided to make Chocolate Almond Pudding and serve it in shooters. That way, people wouldn't have too much and could still try other desserts too. This has a light chocolate taste with a barely perceptible almond flavor.

Another one of my favorites was Boston Cream Pie Minis. Super simple to make and very cute.  I made them in mini muffin tins, again, so people could eat several desserts. I especially liked the chocolate frosting...just Cool Whip and 4 squares of baking chocolate.  Just so easy to make.

My final dessert was healthy...Chocolate-Dipped Fruit :) I dipped apricots and strawberries in chocolate. 

I used the same centerpiece I had made last week for a Valentine Tea Party and set the table using different china patterns of small plates and cup sets I had collected through the years.

For an hour and a half, we all sat around the table talking and sampling different desserts. Valentine's Day...what a great day to celebrate chocolate and friendship!

Feb. 15, 2012 7:12 am
Paula, your chocolate goodies look out of this world. Your guest must always feel so welcome in your home. It's obvious you put a lot of love in your parties.
Feb. 15, 2012 7:13 am
Everything looks so good. What a nice thing to do for yourself and your friends. Thanks for sharing. :)
Feb. 15, 2012 7:13 am
Wow! What fun! You take beautiful pictures of beautiful things. The Fudge Chunkies look fabulous, the Bsoton Cream Pie Minis are gorgeous. I'll have to try the Hockey Pucks in white chocolate-I've made them for at least the last thirty-five years (we call them Ritz Cookies), but always in semi-sweet chocolate or almond bark. The Pretzel Turtles are yummy, and yours look great. The Chocolate Almond Pudding presentation makes plain glasses look elegant, and Chocolate-Dipped Fruit is always good. Wish I'd been there!
Feb. 15, 2012 7:21 am
Thanks for your comments Susie, Allie, and Elle. You know, I have been thinking lately how busy busy busy life is. And I don't like it one little bit. Before we know it, time has passed and we haven't even enjoyed our home or our friends. So I've decided to invited people over, even if only for an hour and a half.
Feb. 15, 2012 7:23 am
Just gorgeous Paula! Wonderful presentation :D
Feb. 15, 2012 7:31 am
Thanks, Caroline.
Feb. 15, 2012 7:32 am
no losers there! the china is a homerun too! good going gal! i gained 5 lbs checking it all out.
Feb. 15, 2012 7:33 am
Everything looks wonderful. I love a table set with different china on every place. It is so much more interesting and somehow quaint. Love it!
Feb. 15, 2012 7:48 am
Gorgeous food and very nice blog, Paula! That would have been fun to attend!
Feb. 15, 2012 8:02 am
Wow, great blog, beautiful pictures and I'm sad I wasn't there!! Keep up the good work Paula.
Feb. 15, 2012 8:05 am
Gderr, after my tea party and now the chocolate dessert bar, I HAVE gained 5 pounds! I tried to make desserts that didn't make enough to feed an army because I didn't want all that chocolate left in the house for weeks and weeks.
Feb. 15, 2012 8:07 am
Marie, I'm so glad some else likes mismatched place settings. Aren't they fun?
Feb. 15, 2012 8:08 am
Marianne and Cindy, I feel like I know you! Would love to have you as guests in my home!
Feb. 15, 2012 9:26 am
Wow! Everything you made looks so good as does the blog. As I sit here eating my veggie sandwich for lunch I'm wishing I had just one bite of something from that day. Yum!
Feb. 15, 2012 9:48 am
Oh, Linda, I'm so glad you read this! You were the one who recommended my favorite dessert of the evening, the Fudge Chunkies. They are now my all-time favorite cookie. Actually, I never have been much of a cookie baker. They take more time than just making a bar cookie of some kind or a cake. But I believe now I will be making these. That dark chocolate just transports me to a very happy place. (I just hope I don't gain 10 pounds in that happy place!)
Feb. 15, 2012 9:56 am
They are an incredible cookie and I am happy they worked well for you and that you were pleased. I find it easier for some reason to make the batter and stick it in the fridge and make the cookies the next day. Then it seems like the work is cut in half even though it isn't alot of work. I love the chocolate, nut and raisin combo. Perfect ... like a chunky candy bar.
Feb. 15, 2012 9:57 am
Ohhh, and check out the submitters recipe box. She has a lot of hidden goodies in it.
Feb. 15, 2012 11:36 am
How "sweet" (= Your evening looked like a lot more fun than mine! [I was at work (=]
Feb. 15, 2012 11:45 am
Boo, xraybarb! Work is no fun! Hopefully, you were still able to show a little love to those special to you!
Feb. 15, 2012 3:35 pm
Your treats look so inviting and I LOVE your fine china. Your friends must have had a wonderful visit. Thanks for sharing it with us.
Feb. 15, 2012 3:55 pm
Your china is such a treat to share with your friends. The treats look fabulous! Wonderful job on your blog, Paula! I love it when people put photos in their blog!
Feb. 15, 2012 4:13 pm
Thanks, Mom and Lela. The red china pattern I bought on vacation at historic Williamsburg as my souvenir. But the other two patterns were very inexpensive. I got them at a consignment shop. I rarely pay much money for things I get there.
Feb. 16, 2012 5:39 am
Oh Paula what a lovely idea and everything looked so gosh darn good! I saw the photos the other day and now I know why you were making so much chocolate. By the way love the china settings. I wish I lived closer and was your friend...they are sure lucky.
Feb. 16, 2012 7:43 am
Ha, Sherri! It never occurred to me that people might see the photos and wonder, "Why in the world is she fixing all that?" Guess I better make sure I always follow up with a blog when I do something strange :)
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About Me
I'm a wife, mother of 2, and grandmother of 6. I love to cook. I especially like to cook new and different recipes. I don't like to have the same meals week after week. My husband has decided it really doesn't matter whether he likes a new recipe or not because he won't see it again for a very long time anyway!
My favorite things to cook
I like to cook entrees and desserts. I like preparing good, down-to-earth cooking. I also decorate cakes, mostly for the grandchildren now.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Holidays bring out the traditions: chocolate chip cheese ball; crockpot chicken and dressing; and broccoli salad, sweet potatoes and butterscotch pie handed down from past generations. Another thing that must be tradition in my family: we all make new recipes when we have company! My mother, sister, daughter, and I all do this. My daddy never understood why we would risk making something we had never made before. Actually, none of us has ever served company a new recipe that didn't taste good.
My cooking triumphs
Cake decorating: wedding cakes, bridal and baby shower cakes, birthday cakes: Little Pirate, Cinderella, Elmo, Strawberry Shortcake. My friends call me Betty Crocker. When my daughter got married, she had a bridal shower where the guests were asked to write something on an apron. My best friend told her if she needed a recipe or help in the kitchen to ask her mother. If she needed a good place to eat out, ask her.
My cooking tragedies
A 4 tier huge wedding cake that fell apart at 2:00am. Thankfully, I still had time to salvage the cake.
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