Ah, Valentine’s Day. The time to express your love for people through copious amounts of chocolate. If you’re lucky, your sweetheart will be presenting you with a box of these decadent chocolate raspberry bars rather than some crummy old box of chocolates. Who am I kidding? I am an equal opportunity chocolate-consumer. But in my humble (ha) opinion, nothing says I love you like homemade treats.
For a perpetually single person, I am shockingly enamored by Valentine’s Day — I love the color combination of red and pink, the doilies, the supermarket decorations, the cheesy cards, I just can’t help myself. Most people hate it, ignore it, or proudly declare that they’re “just not a Valentine’s Day person.” What? Who is not into candy, chocolate, hearts, and declarations of love? Communists.
I’d had chocolate and raspberry on the brain for sometime and I wanted to make a delicious Valentine’s Day treat to bring in to work for everyone. I keep talking about how much I love to bake and how I’m always cranking out tasty snacks, but I’d never provided any evidence. I figured now was as good a time as any to pony up. In a twist of luck, I stumbled upon a New York Times story by Melissa Clark called “Plain-Jane Cookie Dolls It Up for Valentine’s Day” all about taking the classic staple that is the shortbread cookie and gussying it up with jam, dark chocolate ganache, and fleur de sel. Yes, please. This recipe had everything I was looking for and all I had to do was sub out the cherry jam for raspberry to complete my plan.
The shortbread dough is super easy to make — just a few quick pulses in the food processor and you’ve got yourself a mass of crumbly chocolatey goodness. It’s easier to work with than regular brownie batter too because all you have to do is press it into the pan. Once the shortbread was baked and cooled, I slathered on a thick layer of sweet, fruity raspberry jam.
Then there’s the ganache. Sweet, dark, mysterious ganache. It can seem daunting, this culinary confection. There are those who have no idea what it is and others who think it’s too complex to ever try at home. This is not the case! It is…chocolate mixed with warm heavy cream until the chocolate melts and the cream blends in yielding thick, luscious, spreadable, magical ganache. There you have it! Mystery solved. You can even make truffles by rolling the cooled ganache into little balls and coating them with cocoa powder or anything your chocolate-loving heart desires. Yes, that is all truffles are. Sorry to shatter any grand illusions.
Once the ganache is spread over the jam layer like an edible blanket, a sprinkling of fleur de sel is all you need to bring the rich decadence to life. I must say though, shocking as it may be, I ended up with a bit too much ganache. As if that’s possible. But having doubled the recipe to yield more deliciousness, I think I overdid it on the ganache, which resulted in an uber-thick layer on top. There are worse problems to have.