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Little delights
By RITA DeMONTIS, National Food Editor, QMI Agency
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The Raspberry Devine cocktail. (Courtesy of William Grants & Sons)

    A cocktail kisses the heart with fire and flavour.

    Well, that certainly does sound poetic - and why not? We're in the season of love. You can see it in all the card shops, flower boutiques and specialty chocolate stores. And nothing says Valentine's Day like the colour red - as in the foods we eat, the drinks we down, the moods we feel.

    The cocktails we enjoy.

    Here's a selection of excellent cocktails perfect for St. Val, courtesy of William Grant & Sons (Williamgrant.com).

    Cupid's sting


    It'll pierce your heart with pleasure!

    Add 12 fresh raspberries to a shaker. Muddle.

    Fill the shaker with ice and add:

    1 1/2 oz. (45 ml) Gibson's Finest 12 year old Whisky (or similar)
    1 oz. (30 ml) lime juice
    2 oz. (60 ml) simple syrup*

    Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.

    Serves 1.

    NOTE: Simple syrup is available at your local supermarket or grocery, or can be made by blending equal parts sugar and water and bringing to a boil until just clarified. Let cool and pour in sterilized container. Keeps in fridge for two weeks.

    Chocolate kiss

    It wouldn't be Valentine's Day without a taste of chocolate. This will light up your taste buds.

    1 oz (30 ml) Grant's Sherry Cask (or similar)
    1 oz (30 ml) dark chocolate liqueur
    1/4 oz (7.5 ml) hazelnut liqueur
    Maraschino cherries on a toothpick to garnish

    Add all ingredients to a shaker and blend thoroughly. Pour in old-fashion or highball glass.

    Serves 1.

    NOTE: Can be served over ice.

    Raspberry divine

    Ravishingly refreshing.

    1 oz (30 ml) Hendricks gin (or similar)
    1/4 oz (7.5 ml) Grenadine syrup
    1/2 oz (15 ml) Triple Sec liqueur (or similar)
    3 oz (90 mL) raspberry juice
    Lemon twist to garnish

    Blend all ingredients and serve in champagne glass. Garnish with twist of lemon.

    Serves 1.

    Chocolate and raspberry cheesecake brownies

    We've adapted this recipe courtesy of Green & Black's Organic chocolate

    Brownie:

    3/4 cup (175ml) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
    6 oz (240g) dark (70% cocoa solids) chocolate
    1 cup (250ml) sugar
    3/4 cup (175ml) all-purpose flour
    Pinch salt
    3 large eggs
    2 tsp. (10ml) vanilla extract
    4 oz (125g) white chocolate, broken into small pieces

    Cheesecake:

    2 pkg (each 8 oz/250 g) cream cheese
    1/3 cup (75ml) sugar
    1 tsp. (5ml) pure vanilla
    2 eggs
    8 oz. (240g) fresh raspberries

    Preheat oven to 350F. (180C.) oven. Grease and line an 8-inch (2L) square cake pan.

    For brownie: In a double boiler, or a heat-proof bowl over a pan of barely simmer water, (making sure bowl doesn't touch water) melt butter and chocolates. Stir until completely melted and combined. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

    Combine sugar, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl; pour over cooled chocolate, and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, gently beat eggs with vanilla. Add to mixing bowl along with white chocolate. Blend together until you create a shiny chocolatey mixture. Pour this into prepared pan.

    For cheesecake: Whisk cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, and eggs until smooth and creamy. Pour this carefully over the brownie mix, trying to create an even layer. Use a fork to drag cheesecake mix through brownie mix to create a marbled effect. Drop raspberries into pan. Try to ensure that all raspberries are almost fully pushed into mixture. Bake in preheated oven for about 35 to 40 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the pan and check to see if brownies are set but still have a slight wobble to them; return to oven if they need a little longer. Leave to cool in the pan, covered with foil. Once cooled, cut into 16 pieces, and serve.

    Serves 16.

    This story was posted on Wed, February 9, 2011

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