The Secret of Italian Lovers
By Madelyn Miller, the TravelLady
They say the Italians put the ROME in ROMancE, especially since St. Valentine's Day dates back all the way to ancient Rome. 192 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine's Day the second-most popular greeting-card-giving occasion – but you don't need a card to make the day especially sweet this year.
These two fun and easy recipes that are guaranteed to make your evening unique. The orange flavor of Imported GranGala Triple Orange Liqueur adds an unexpected twist to an otherwise classic Italian Bellini with the Amore Frizzante, (which means "Sparkling Love" in Italian). And for dessert, GranGala's decadent Orange Truffle Brownie Hearts are rich and delicious. Serve both of these sweet treats and they will be sure to win your heart this Valentine's Day.
Shake vodka, GranGala and Peach nectar in a mixing glass and strain into a champagne flute. Top with Prosecco and garnish with a slice of peach or two raspberries.
Orange Truffle Brownie Hearts
Makes 8 brownie hearts
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut up
3 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tbsp GranGala Triple Orange Liqueur
1 tsp vanilla extract
Whipped Chocolate Frosting
½ cup heavy cream
4 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 tbsp GranGala Triple Orange Liqueur
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp confectioner's sugar
Candied roses or violets for garnish, optional
To make the brownies, position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter eight 4-ounce heart-shaped crème brulée ramekins and line the bottoms with waxed paper. Lightly flour the ramekins, and tap out the excess flour.
Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the unsweetened and bittersweet chocolates. Let stand until chocolate softens, about 3 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the brown sugar, eggs, GranGala Triple Orange Liqueur, and vanilla until combined. Stir in the flour mixture. Transfer equal amounts to the ramekins and spread evenly.
Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of a brownie comes out with a moist crumb, 15 to 18 minutes. Cool in the ramekins for 10 minutes, then unmold upside-down onto a wire cake rack. Remove waxed paper and cool completely.
To make the frosting, heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles appear around edge of cream. Place the chocolate in a medium stainless steel bowl, and pour hot cream and GranGala Triple Orange Liqueur over chocolate. Let stand until chocolate softens, then whisk until smooth. Place in a larger bowl of ice water. Let stand, stirring often, until chocolate mixture is chilled but not firm, about 10 minutes. Whisk or beat with an electric mixer on medium speed just until the frosting holds its shape and is light brown; do not overbeat.
Spread a thick layer of frosting over the smooth sides of the brownie hearts. Refrigerate, uncovered, until frosting is firm, about 1 hour. Mix cocoa and confectioner's sugar and sift over tops of hearts. Decorate with candied violets, if desired. Individually wrap each brownie in plastic wrap. (The brownies can be made up to 3 days ahead, covered and refrigerated.) Remove from refrigerator and unwrap 1 hour before serving.
Madelyn Miller is a food and travel writer who loves chocolate and romance. Read her stories on www.travellady.com, www.chocolateatlas.com , www.cocktailatlas.com and www.teaAtlas.com
She also owns www.carladynews and loves Italian sportscars.