Ah, the allure of chocolate. With Valentine’s Day coming up, desserts are fashionable and chocolate makes them more so. Rich chocolatey desserts are especially appropriate during February. Split the chocolate love and share and share alike. How can you not fall for chocolate? Plymouth restaurants showcase the luxurious qualities of chocolate in cakes, cookies, bars, ice cream and more.
ICE CREAM COOKIE SANDWICH
Potbelly Sandwich Shop
You might be greeted by the smell of cookies at Potbelly Sandwich Shop. Batches of cookies are baked fresh as requested during the day through closing time. They are in demand as standalone treats and as the foundation for a portable dessert. Two palm-sized cookies make a vanilla ice cream sandwich. “You can’t beat fresh baked cookies and vanilla ice cream,” says Nevin Nylin, general manager. Since you have your pick of flavors, go with the chocolate brownie cookie. The deep dark chocolate cookies get another cocoa jolt from semisweet chocolate chips. At $2.85, the ice cream cookie sandwich is a chocolate lover’s splurge that won’t break the bank.
CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE SUNDAE
The Sunshine Factory Bar and Grill
With the chocolate chip cookie sundae there’s plenty of dessert, “enough for the whole table.” says April Hanson, general manager-partner. The plate-sized, six-ounce cookie appeals to the kid in all of us and the generous size adds to the fun. “People come in during the day sometimes and just have a dessert and share it.” says Hanson. A warm chocolate chip cookie is the foundation of the sugary but not overly sweet dessert, topped with a mound of vanilla ice cream encircled by puffs of whipped cream. Frills of hot fudge and butterscotch caramel decorate the plate. Contrasts of hot and cold meld into a memorable dessert for Valentine’s Day or any occasion. $7.95.
HOT FUDGE KAHLUA BROWNIE
Famous Dave developed the hot fudge Kahlua brownie himself so you know you’re in for something enjoyable and slightly showy. Vanilla bean ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream cover the brownie. It’s perfect for Valentine’s Day because it’s chocolate and because it’s big enough to share,” says general manager Steve Nicholas. “We serve it with two spoons.” The scent of a warm walnut-covered chocolate brownie will entice you and is well-suited for any date night. Kahlúa liqueur improves subtle sweet notes and adds to the appeal. “We do use alcohol flavor in our recipes. It’s an alcohol-free dessert once you bake it.” Nicholas explains. The scratch-made hot fudge Kahlua brownie has delighted chocolate lovers for 15 years. $6.69.
FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE TORTE
Rock Elm Tavern
The charm of love exudes from intensely dark chocolate, and some desserts do a superb job of highlighting that amorous attribute. The flourless chocolate torte showcases the roasty notes of dark chocolate to the fullest. The soufflé-meets-cheesecake explosion makes a graciously sweet ending. An indisputably rich bite melts on your tongue with the smoothness of an artisan-made chocolate candy truffle. Still, simplicity is the key to the desserts’ overriding success. A minimal finish of fresh blackberries and whipped cream lets the rich cocoa flavors shine. “It’s almost fudge-like. It has that density and moistness to it,” says Troy Reding, owner. This strong cocoa-powered dessert is best shared with a dear friend, so bring your valentine. $7.
Dessert Decorating from the Pros
Try these sweet tips
You don’t have to cook from scratch to make an impressive dessert.
The recipe for great desserts is to let someone else do the baking. Why not let pastry pros take care of you? Just look for top quality when you buy. “A lot of it comes down to finding the best product,” says Troy Reding, Rock Elm Tavern owner. You don’t have to go far. The upscale bakery goods at Lunds & Byerlys offer an ideal starting point for a grand dessert, according to Rock Elm executive chef Dustin Pallansch, who knows how to style desserts with ease.
Garnishes and flattering serving styles make all the difference. Little touches add up in a big way to create memorable desserts.
The good news is showstopper desserts are easy to put together. A streamlined approach can produce the effect you want. Clean flavor profiles with a few accents heighten subtle sugary flavors. We all eat with our eyes so the appearance of a dessert is critical for success. “Try not to overcomplicate the center of the plate,” says Pallansch.
Look at your plate as a canvas. Approach the placement of your garnishes with the eye of an artist. A drizzle of mashed and seeded raspberry puree, a swish of melted chocolate, a sprig of fresh mint, a curvaceous cookie or a dollop of whipped cream will do the trick.
Decorating Sweet Treats for Valentine’s Day
On Valentine’s Day, Davanni’s offers a sweet deal that’s better than a box of a chocolates. Purchase a chocolate chunk cookie, a dark chocolate brownie or a Rice Krispie treat at the regular price, then decorate it at no extra charge for your valentine. Roll up your sleeves and get creative with frosting, sprinkles, red hot candies, take-home packaging, stickers and more. The sentimental selection of Valentine’s Day decorations will have you smitten. Davanni’s does all the prep work making it easy for you to get fancy with your decorating. A dessert with a hand-made look will make your sweetheart swoon. “It’s a way to personalize something special for that special someone,” says marketing director Tim Huberty. Bring the whole family along for an activity everyone will love. You can decorate desserts at the Plymouth location on February 14 from noon until 6 p.m. $1.49 - $1.79 per treat.