Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentines by the Numbers

For all the math nerds in the house, it's time for a statistical break down. Every year thousands in America rush to their nearest Hallmark store to buy cards, candy, and pink stuffed teddy bears. By doing a quick google, I discovered that Valentine's sells the most flowers and the fourth most candy of any holiday. The favorite flower? Red Roses by 48% of the sales according to . No need to guess about the favorite type of candy. It's chocolate all the way.

So sure, Valentine's is commercialized. It's hard to find a holiday on the American calender that isn't (Maybe Martin Luther King Day?). It's also commercial in Japan. While I was there, all the stores broke out elaborate boxes of chocolate. What a tempting sight it was! I almost bought a crate load for myself. Every chocolate truffle, an intricately crafted piece of art, wrapped perfectly in typical Japanese fashion.

In Shoujo manga however, heroines take a step back from the commercialism and cook up homemade Valentine's treats. I've hunted down recipes for a few of the more unusual desserts for your Valentine's consumption.

For those who are not satisfied with mere chocolate decadence, I present:

Sunako Nakahara's Chocolate Monstrosity (aka Devil's Food Cake Cockaigne)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook and stir in a double boiler over boiling water.
2-4 oz. unsweetened chocolate,
1/2 cup milk,
1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg yolk
Remove from the heat when thickened.
In separate bowl, cream
1/2 cup butter, 1 cup sugar
Beat in 2 egg yolks
2 cups flour,
1 tsp baking soda,
1/2 tsp salt,
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
Combine the two bowls. Stir until smooth. Whip 2 egg whites until stiff and fold them lightly into batter. Bake in two greased 9 inch round pans for 25 minutes. Spread when cool with your favorite icing.

For a sophisticated flavor, join Ren Tsugura in trying:

Kyouko Mogami's Queen Rosa Jello (aka Gelee au Vin)
Soak 2 tbsp gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water.
Dissolve in 3/4 cup boiling water.
Stir in until also dissolved
1/2 cup sugar.
Let cool. Then, add

1 and 3/4 cups orange juice,
6 tbsp lemon juice,
1 cup well-flavored wine
Taste the combined ingredients and add more sugar if needed.
Pour the jelly into sherbet glasses. Chill until firm. Makes 8 servings.


Thanks to Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer for the recipes.

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