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Valentine Chocolate Cream with Berries


Here's a recipe I like to make for Valentine's Day. It might sound difficult to prepare, but it is surprisingly simple, and very good.

8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon shortening
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/3 cup baking cocoa
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups whipped cream, divided
1 quart fresh strawberries

Line a 9-inch heart-shaped or square baking pan with foil; set aside. In heavy saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and shortening; stir until smooth. Pour into prepared pan, swirling to coat the bottom and 1-1/2 inches up the sides. Refrigerate for several minutes, then swirl the chocolate to reinforce sides of pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. Using foil, lift from pan; remove foil and place chocolate heart on a serving plate. 

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Combine confectioners' sugar and cocoa; add to creamed mixture with milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Gently fold two cups of the whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Spoon into heart. Using star-tipped pastry decorator, fill with the remaining whipped cream. Pipe around the edge of heart. Garnish with strawberries. Yield: 8-10 servings.
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