Chock-full of chocolate

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Melt hearts this Valentine’s Day with pie, cheesecake and cookies!

No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake Jars

Makes 4 servings.

  • 6 chocolate sandwich cookies, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar

Evenly divide cookie crumbs, adding to bottom of 4 half-pint canning jars. In a saucepan, cook heavy cream over medium-low heat. When it warms, add chocolate chips, stirring until melted. Set aside for 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth with an electric mixer. Beat in vanilla extract, sour cream and powdered sugar.

Swirl two-thirds of chocolate mixture into cream cheese mixture. Divide between jars. Top evenly with remaining chocolate sauce. Serve immediately or refrigerate for several hours before serving.

Note: These can be made up to 2 days in advance.

Easy Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Makes about 22 cookies.

  • 1 (15.25-ounce) package devil’s food cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne or more (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Combine cake mix, cinnamon, cayenne, sugar, eggs, canola oil and butter until thoroughly mixed. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 350.

Drop by the spoonful (about 1 1/2 tablespoonsful), and space them 2 inches apart on parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 11-12 minutes. Allow to cool. Store cookies in airtight container.

Notes: This recipe was inspired by Mexican hot chocolate, which has cinnamon and a kick of hot pepper. You can omit the cayenne pepper if you don’t like heat.

Divine Chocolate Coconut Caramel Pie

Makes 8 servings.

  • 1 prepared pie shell
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes, divided
  • 6 ounces whipped topping
  • 1/3 cup caramel sauce

Bake pie shell according to package directions. Set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, whisk together cocoa powder, sugar and cornstarch. Add milk or half-and-half, and cook over medium-high heat. Stir constantly until thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Remove 1/4 cup of mixture, and stir it into egg yolks to temper. Quickly add yolks to pudding, and bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes, whisking constantly. Remove from heat, and add butter, vanilla extract and 1/2 cup coconut flakes. Pour into pie shell. Allow to cool for 2-3 hours.

Heat oven to 325. Toast remaining coconut by spreading on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and baking for 8-10 minutes, stirring once. Allow to cool.

Top cooled pie with whipped topping and a generous drizzle of caramel sauce, and refrigerate for 2 hours or more. Sprinkle with toasted coconut before serving.

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