Food & Drink

Local sweet treats for your Valentine include mostly chocolate, and maybe bacon

You can make these chocolate raspberry cheesecake hearts with a recipe from Ghirardelli. To make hearts, they suggest baking in a 9x13 cake pan and using heart-shaped cookie cutters. Or you can make in a regular cheesecake pan.
You can make these chocolate raspberry cheesecake hearts with a recipe from Ghirardelli. To make hearts, they suggest baking in a 9x13 cake pan and using heart-shaped cookie cutters. Or you can make in a regular cheesecake pan. Photo provided

Valentine’s Day is Sunday, and if you don’t have a brunch or dinner reservation, you might be out of luck.

But don’t fret, we have lots of local food options you can get your hands on in time.

On Feb. 11, Good Foods Co-op is having its chocolate sampling event from 5 to 7 p.m., with loads of tasty treats including chocolate-dipped bacon. Yes, you read that right: chocolate-dipped bacon. The only thing that might top that: chocolate-lined bacon shot glasses.

This event is nice enough that it would make a great date: It features two chocolate fountains flowing with Callebaut Belgian dark chocolate with raspberries, grapes, potato chips and marshmallows available for dipping, chocolate toffee-covered pretzels, chocolate nut crunch trail mix, dark chocolate Silk almond milk, Kentucky Proud Stone Cross Farm bacon dipped in Callebaut Belgian dark chocolate, organic fair trade coffee with choice of chocolate or white chocolate syrup, chicken mole with green rice or potatoes with mole sauce over green rice, wheat-free chocolate macaroons, and organic vanilla ice cream served with Kentucky Proud Ward’s Bourbon Chocolatier Sauce. All the goodies also are available for purchase. Call 859-278-1813.

If your tastes run more to the savory than the sweet, Lexington Seafood, 867 High Street, has special prices for king crab and live Maine lobster for Valentine’s Day. Call 859-266-8888 to order.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can make bacon treats or something slightly more conventional, such as chocolate raspberry cheesecake hearts, from Ghirardelli.

If you’re not handy in the kitchen, how about chocolate-dipped strawberries from Ruth Hunt Candies, 213 Walton Avenue, and 550 North Maysville Road in Mount Sterling. They also have heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and bourbon balls. Call 1-800-275-8777.

Old Kentucky Chocolates, 450 Southland Drive, will have chocolate-dipped strawberries and grapes, heart boxes and novelties for kids and adults. Popular this year: chocolate- and caramel-dipped potato chips. Call 859-278-4444.

Sharp’s Candies, 2021 Regency Road, has chocolate-covered strawberries and grapes, plus more than 100 types of candies. Call 859-276-4625.

La Petite Delicat, 445 South Ashland Avenue, will have beautiful Valentine’s macarons in new flavors: red velvet, chocolate raspberry and ispahan (rose/lycee/raspberry.) They are available separately or in a special six-piece gift box, and can be shipped. Call 859-266-0041 or order at Lapetitedelicat.com.

Martine’s Pastries, 1039 Industry Road, has a selection of Valentine’s Day cakes and treats, including chocolate-dipped strawberries, French macarons, chocolate bombe (chocolate mousse covered with chocolate ganache and decorated with edible hearts), decorated sugar heart cookies, champagne and strawberry cake, and triple chocolate cake. Order at 859-231-9110 or visit the shop until 4 p.m. Feb. 13.

Donut Days, 185 Southland Drive and 814 Euclid Avenue in Lexington, and 330 Eastern Bypass in Richmond, will have iced doughnuts, cookies, sugar cut-out cookies, thumbprint cookies, cupcakes, petit fours and bon-bons. To place orders, call Southland at 859-277-9414, Chevy Chase at 859-269-8223 or Richmond at 859-623-9008.

Magee’s Bakery, 726 East Main Street, will have Valentine’s cookies and cupcakes. Call 859-255-9481 to order.

Caramanda’s Bake Shoppe, 332 Southland Drive and 3805 Dylan Place, has a large assortment of Valentine’s cakes and cupcakes, as well as chocolate-dipped strawberry cookies. You even may pre-order a “box of chocolates” that the shop describes as six cupcakes filled with a variety of homemade buttercreams for $16.50. Call 859-278-7172.

Mondelli’s Bakeshop, 3120 Pimlico Parkway, has heart-shaped cakes, Valentine’s themed cupcakes, sugar cookies and iced cookies and petit fours. Call 859-245-5377 to order.

Sunrise Bakery, 111 West Main Street, will have heart-shaped cookies with personal messages, red velvet cake, brownies and more. Call 859-255-0304 to order.

Bluegrass Baking Co., 3101 Clays Mill Road, will have chocolate cherry bread, raspberry ganache tarts, heart-shaped cherry mini pies and more. Call 859-296-0581 to order.

In Nicholasville, check out the Sweet Shoppe, 109 Springdale Drive, which offers a wide array of deliciousness including Oreo truffles, hand-dipped chocolate-covered strawberries and grapes, strawberries and Champagne cupcakes, chocolate-covered strawberry cupcakes, raspberry truffles, bourbon balls, rum balls, turtles, orange cream truffles, fudge, chocolate lovers mini bundt cakes, sweetheart mini bundt cakes, cake pops, and decorated sugar cookies. Call 859-223-9977 to order.

And European Delights Gourmet Bakery, 221 East Brannon Road,Nicholasville, will have meringue cups, hazelnut meringue cookies, red velvet cake pops and chocolate-covered strawberries. Call 859-271-7000 to order.

Chocolate raspberry cheesecake hearts

From Ghirardelli.com

For crust:

 3/4 cup butter

1 1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers)

 1/4 cup ground almonds

4 tablespoon white sugar

For purée:

1 package (10 to 12 ounces) frozen raspberries

4 tablespoons white sugar

For cheesecake:

 1/2 cup heavy cream

2 cups Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips

4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened

 3/4 cup white sugar

4 eggs

 1/2 cup raspberry puree (recipe below)

For chocolate ganache (optional):

 1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons butter

8 ounces Ghirardelli 60 percent Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips

For garnish (optional):

1 cup fresh raspberries

8 ounces Ghirardelli White Chocolate Baking Bar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. To prepare crust, melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Add graham cracker crumbs, ground almonds and sugar, and mix until combined. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.

To prepare the purée, combine raspberries and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and continue boiling 3-5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain through a messh strainer to remove seeds, and set aside.

To prepare cheesecake, in a small pot over low heat, bring heavy cream to just boiling. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Set aside for 5 minutes and then stir until smooth. In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Remove approximately 1 1/2  cups of this batter and place into a smaller bowl and add  1/2 cup raspberry purée. Blend until combined. Add melted chocolate to the remaining batter and mix until combined. Pour the chocolate cheesecake batter into the pan. Very carefully layer the raspberry cheesecake mixture on top of the chocolate mixture. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until filling is set. Cool in pan, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold before removing from pan.

If desired, top cooled cheesecakes with one or a combination of the garnishes. For chocolate ganache, bring heavy cream and butter to just boiling in a small pot over low heat. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Set aside for 5 minutes and then stir until smooth. Pour over cold cheesecake to form ganache layer, or drizzle over the cold cheesecake. Refrigerate until set.

You also may pour the remaining raspberry purée over the cold cheesecakes.

For white chocolate ganache, melt white chocolate until smooth in a double boiler over water. Drizzle over cold cheesecakes and refrigerate until set. Dress with fresh raspberries on top or on the side.

To make individual heart-shaped cheesecakes, prepare the recipe as directed but use a 13- by 9-inch pan instead of a springform. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes and cool. Cut hearts using a metal heart-shaped cookie cutter.

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