Thursday, February 11th, 2010
by Page Hodel (Abrams)

Artist Page Hodel gifted her girl every Monday with a homemade heart throughout their relationship. They were made of hardware, grass, fruit and flowers as a show of love—a literal assertion that said, “I give you my heart.” However later, following the tragic passing of Hodel’s partner, she kept crafting those hearts in a tradition emoting a message of undying love.

Monday Hearts for Madelene features 100 images of Hodel’s hearts in a hardcover photo book exhibiting her unique, beautiful and inspiring handcrafted art pieces with a portion of the book’s royalties benefiting the Women’s Cancer Research Center in Oakland, CA.  
Chocolate Bliss by Susie Norris

Rub it on your body, pass it along, save it for future generations or eat it: Chocolate—the fermented seeds of the cacao tree yields a delicacy that has won the world over throughout history in almost every culture that ever existed. Artisinan chocolatier and pastry chef Susie Norris’s comprehensive celebration of which, per the book jacket, fully documents the sugary food stuffs “types and flavors, health and beauty benefits, origins, baking secrets, ecological influences, and gifting delights.”

It isn’t enough to say that Chocolate Bliss: Sensuous recipes, spa treatments, and other divine indulgencesis a book for the chocolate lover, but perhaps it’s more a book for chocolate’s lover.

by Anneka Manning (Thunder Bay Press)

If you dream of decadent desserts, this book will feed your weaknesses. From custards to brulees, after reading this book you will want all meals to START with desserts. And what would Valentines Day be with chocolate? Luckily, this book has options for all the chocoholics out there.Featured proudly on the cover of 101 Desserts to Eat Before You Die(t) is the chocolate brownie raspberry ice cream sandwich – a perfect Valentine’s Day treat! 

Chocolate Brownie Raspberry Ice Cream Sandwich

Ingredients (Makes 12)
8 cups fresh or thawed frozen raspberries
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
6 cups vanilla ice cream, slightly softened
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

chocolate brownies
2/3 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
12/3 cups superfine sugar
2/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
12/3 cups finely chopped dark chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten

Line a large square cake pan with baking paper, leaving a generous overhang on two opposite sides. Put raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a blender and blend to a pure?e. Reserve 1/2 cup of the puree and fold the remainder through the ice cream. Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Freeze for 2 hours, or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8 x 12-inch cake pan and line with baking paper, leaving the paper hanging over the two long sides. To make the brownies, sift the flour and cocoa into a bowl. Add the sugar, nuts, and chocolate. Mix together and make a well in the center. Pour the butter into the well, add the vanilla extract and eggs, and mix well. Pour into the pan, smooth the surface, and bake for 45 minutes (the mixture will still be a bit soft in the middle).

Allow the brownies to cool, then chill for at least 2 hours. Lift out, using the paper as handles. Trim and cut into twelve 2 x 3 1/2 inch rectangles. Then, using a serrated knife, cut through the center of each brownie to form two thinner brownie slices.

Remove the ice cream from the freezer. To remove it from the pan, use the overhanging paper. Cut the ice cream into 12 rectangles, the same size as the brownies. To assemble, put 12 brownie slices on a tray, top with a rectangle of ice cream, and then another brownie slice. Smooth the sides of the ice cream to neaten, if necessary. Freeze for 10 minutes until firm. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve with the reserved raspberry sauce.