Friday, February 14, 2014

“Chocolate Drizzled Cream Puffs” To Celebrate Your Valentine's Day!

“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.” W. Shakespeare

Welcome readers…Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Take your loved one by the hand, and enjoy this day of “Love.” Here are some interesting facts about this day; Valentine greetings were very popular as far back in history as the Middle Ages. Written Valentine greetings did not appear until after the 1400s. The oldest known Valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans. He was imprisoned in the Tower of London and wrote a poem for his wife. It is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a Valentine note to Catherine of Valois. By the middle of the 18th century, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange a small token of affection or handwritten notes. In the 1900s printed cards replaced hand written notes due to the progress in printing technology. 

Esther A. Howland
Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced Valentines in America in the 1840s. She is known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” and made creations with real lace, ribbons, and colorful photos. Today, it is estimated that 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making it the second largest card sending holiday. (Christmas is # 1)

The religious side of Saint Valentine started back on February 14, 269 A.D. History dictates that Saint Valentine was killed for his faith on this day. He had refused to worship pagan gods. Some stories say he was a priest who would marry young couples who loved each other, in secret, but did not have parental permission. In the year 496, his “Saint Day” was established. He is associated with “Love” because he fell in love with the daughter of his jailer, and would pass love notes to her. His final note before he was executed, read “from your Valentine.”

In Italy, Valentine’s Day is greeted by a feeling of energy, spirit, and romance throughout the country. Showering of gifts such as; the sweet scent of flowers, sparkling diamonds, mouth watering chocolates, and expressed words of love are believed to be the best way to communicate your feelings. Italian stores get decorated several days ahead of February 14th and prepare filling their shops with a variety of chocolates and candies. A delicious treat is called Baci, by Perugina, (Baci an Italian word for kisses) which is a small decadent chocolate, enclosed with a hazelnut filling. In its wrappings a loving lyrical quote is expressed in four languages. Another wonderful idea to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to organize a candlelight dinner, with music, and wine overlooking the Italian country side.

If you can’t get to Italy this time, you can fill your home with romance and love. A day where indulgence and passion is in the air. You may receive flowers, chocolates in a heart shaped box, or gifts to express your feeling towards that special someone, like jewelry. Some find romance on this day when couples become engaged. My dad proposed to my mom on Valentines Day in 1949 and they married in 1951. This year it will be “63” years of blissful marriage for them. My parents told me the story on how they got engaged. Picture it…….Chinatown, New York City in a Chinese restaurant, on Valentines Day. My mom and dad had a favorite Chinese restaurant that was located upstairs from a store. They would frequently meet each other after work. This was the day that my dad was going to surprise my mom with “the ring.”  He tried to be ingenious and he put the ring in my mom’s tea cup when she went to the powder room. Just before he poured the tea, my mom said, “What is in this cup?” And low and behold she saw the ring and that is how it all began. So the moral of the story is always look in the cup before you have some tea!

Mom and Dad Wedding 1951

My recipe this week is a simply light and heavenly pastry. Profiterole or cream puffs are usually filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, or ice cream; custard can also be substituted as a filling. The puffs may be decorated, left plain, or garnished with chocolate sauce, caramel, or even a dusting of powdered sugar. No matter what you call them, they are a decadent and what a way to celebrate your Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart. My “Cream Puff” recipe is a favorite among my family. So enjoy with your favorite person and have a “Happy Valentine’s Day“!!!! Baci e amore!

Chocolate Drizzled Cream Puffs

1 cup of water
1/2 cup of butter (no substitutes)
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour
4 eggs
1 teaspoon of sugar
3 cups of whipped cream (cool whip or homemade)
Melted Chocolate

Place butter in a medium saucepan. Add water and salt. Bring to boiling, stirring till butter melts. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir till mixture forms a ball that doesn’t separate. Remove from heat; cool 10 minutes. Once cooled, add eggs, one at a time, to flour mixture, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition for about 1 minute, or till smooth.
Scoop up some dough with a tablespoon. Use another spoon to push off the dough in a mound onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Leave 3 inches between the puffs for expansion. Bake in a pre-heated 400 F. degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove puffs from pan, and cool on a rack. Slice off the tops (or cut in half). With a fork, gently scrape out any soft, moist dough. Work carefully so that you don’t puncture the crust. After they are filled, you can drizzle melted chocolate on top as well. Yield: about 15 or more servings, depending how big you make them.

Till Next Time………………..

Copyright © 2014 “Family Plus Food Equals Love”  All Rights Reserved


  1. I have enjoyed reading this! I did not know any of it. It is funny how we celebrate san valentino and have no idea where it comes least I didn't.
    Tonight I am making a nice dinner for my family and then a nice dessert afterwards. The Baci chocolates will be there too!
    Lovely post as usual. Buon San Valentino XXX

    1. Dear Alida,
      So glad that you stopped by on this day of sweetness. I know Alida, I had no idea about so much of this info. Everytime I do research for the blog post, it feels like I am in school learning so much. That is a good thing as I loved school. I love that you will be home and being with your family enjoying a delicious dinner with a yummy dessert. Enjoy the Baci and your night of love...Thanks for your visit. Blessings Dottie :)

  2. Hi Dottie, I enjoyed reading your post as usual , so full of information . Lots of people don't know why or the orgin of Saint Valentine , my hubby's aunt lives with us (Mae) and she carry on the traditions of the old country , my kids is learning a lot about their culture and heritage . The cream puffs looks divine and easy to make , my kids love them homemade is much better than store-bought . Baci is another treat I make each Valentine and ;-D through the year . You Dad was a very smart man . Thanks for sharing dear dottie and have a blessed weekend :)

    1. Dearest Nee,
      So happy that you enjoyed my blog post. I love to do research for my post, and I have learned so much as well. It is so amazing that we know so much about the world and yet we really know so little. That is so nice that you have your husband's aunt Mae to carry on many traditional ways of the Italian culture. Yes, those cream puffs are one of my signature desserts. Everytime there is a holiday or get together I am asked to make them. Homemade is always better than store bought. Oh yes, can't have Valentines Day without a Baci chocolate. Thanks again for stopping by and you as well have a blessed weekend. Dottie :)

  3. Good morning Dottie:)
    What a beautiful Valentine's Day post you have shared. I was hoping to read the history of St. Valentine somewhere and lo and behold you have taken the time to dig deep into the meaning of the day.

    The story of your Mom and Dad's engagement and their timeless marriage is so romantic. I love that it took place in their favorite Chinese restaurant in the city. And you presented it like Sofia from Golden Girls, just perfect:)

    I have read that the story of Baci is also romantic. I don't remember the story but I think it had something to do with hiding love notes in the pieces of chocolate or maybe it was in the box. I'll have to do some research before next Valentine's Day:)

    Cream puffs are a perfect choice for Valentine's Day and yours look delightful. I haven't had my morning coffee yet, it's perking on the stove as I visit, but when it is done, I can't think of a better way to start yet another snowy Saturday morning but with just one or two, lol...

    Thank you so much for sharing this Valentine's Day post with us Dottie. I appreciate the amount of time and research you have shared. Wishing you a wonderful weekend, Louise

    P.s. Your words on my latest blog post touched my heart Dottie, thank you:)

  4. Dearest Louise,
    Good evening, I guess you could say. I am a night person, so that is why I am writing back to you at this time. I was having a rough day today. Thanks so much for your visit and your wonderful comments. I always say that every post I have to do research on, I learn so much. I had known a little about St. Valentine but not all. Everyday I receive an email everyday from a Catholic site, and they show the Saint of the day, with info on them. Sometimes I get to read about them, and it is very interesting.

    Every Valentine's Day my parents always talk about that day back in the Chinese restaurant. I love the way Sofia from the Golden Girls starts her story with Picture It. It is funny so I thought I'd put some humor in my post.

    If you go to the Baci website, they have the whole story of how they started. I am in love with anything chocolate, and I remember my dad buying these little goodies. It was fun to see what the love note would say.

    Oh my goodness, cream puffs are the must decadent thing I have ever had. They are like little pillows of soft cream with a sweetness to the puffs. Especially with the chocolate drizzled or just by dusting powdered sugar. Love them and so does my niece...she asks me all the time to make them. But she loves them frozen, they are like eating ice cream. (she claims)

    Yes, here we go again, snow today but thank goodness not as bad as the other day. Still piles of snow all over. The weather men have predicted that next week the temps will be in the 40's which is a heat wave for us, ha ha..So maybe some of this stuff will melt a little.

    Louise I am thrilled that you liked my post and my words to your blog post as well. I can't tell you how your friendship has touched my heart as well. I am so glad that you reached out to me and through you I have met such a wonderful group of friendly, warm, understanding, and helpful women. It is like I have know you and the others forever.

    So thank you for stopping by and your friendship. Blessings for a good long weekend. Keep warm and safe...
    Dottie <3

  5. Dear Dottie,

    Baci is one of the first Italian words that I learned, along with "give me a cup of coffee"!
    Your mom and dad are a very handsome couple. You and they are very blessed to both witness and share 63 years of marriage. Congratulations to them. A very sweet and romantic story of their engagement.
    My mom used to make cream puffs for all the holidays. They were delicious.
    Yours look wonderful too.
    Blessings dear. Catherine xo

    1. Dear Catherine,
      Thanks for stopping by! I love your story about the first Italian words you learned Baci (which also means kisses) and "give me a cup of coffee." Thank you for your words about my parents, and yes they are very blessed and grateful. I never know that my dad had that much romance in him, for the ring in the tea cup thing, but I was wrong. So many people make cream puffs not only for dessert, but I have also used them for lunch/brunch as well. I make them a little bigger and then fill them with tuna salad, or egg salad. Makes a nice presentation. Either way you are right they are delicious..Blessings for a good week...Dottie :)

  6. Beautiful! Such a great dessert, classic, easy yet impressive. Btw, my hubby voted for you too on the Homies!

    1. Dearest Christina,
      Thank you so much for visiting this post. Yes, I agree, this is a classic dessert and it can be very impressive, with the chocolate or without it. I think everyone loves these little balls of heaven. Thank your husband for me, for the Homie vote!.That is so sweet and kind. I am no where near you, but have received about 19 votes. I am so glad that I found your blog, and we became friends. Good luck on the Homies.. Blessings to you for a great weekend...
      Dottie <3 :)

  7. Replies
    1. Welcome, thank you Haffa Bexi, for your kind words and for stopping by. Please do come back every Tuesday and Friday for more fabulous recipes and stories! Blessings! Dottie :)