Why hello again, world! I sincerely apologize for the long silence. My beloved, noble Nikon D3100 broke in Los Angeles and my past, restless weeks were spent preparing hundreds of elevation and section drawings. Yet, I’ve finally completed, submitted my 125 pg. DD charette and come out of the studio with my new heftier companion: a full frame FX sensor equipped Nikon D700. Of course I couldn’t return home without also bringing back a cutting mat, some delightful dried yuzu peels, cranberries, orange extract, and this heavy, smooth, semi-sweet chocolate bar from Tomizawa just before I slept a glorious 12 hours.
Wow, and it’s as if I had just woken up and realized I’m just a few days shy from Valentine’s Day to produce something more crucial than hundreds of architectural drawings: chocolate for Valentine’s Day.
In Japan, Valentine’s day is celebrated quite differently than in America; stores are filled with a medley of chocolate from all over the world and women mad raging through chocolate boutiques and markets that sell delicate chocolates from all over the world. We women are so determined to fulfill our role for Valentine’s Day: to make and/or buy chocolate and sweets for the stellar man/men we love and in this, confess and confirm our love. Yet, men are just as pressured to fulfill their roles as the chocolate receiver. For the past few months, I’ve been approached by Japanese men who nervously ask me for advice to win a woman’s heart because of their fear of looking like an unloved, forever lonely, chocolate empty handed man. I can’t help but not only make and ship chocolate to this one man I’m absolutely gaga about, but also for those fellow Japanese men who doubt their worthiness. And no, this is not義理 (“giri” obligatory) chocolate. This is all carefully made and precisely cut chocolate with bits of yuzu and cranberry love.
So here’s a simple recipe that consists of only 4 ingredients that’s perfect for any of your emergency chocolate cravings / valentines Day “I don’t know what to give!” gift / love confession. There are a multitude of ingredients you can mix and match with chocolate.. but during this gloomy winter season, I’ve decided to add some citrus zing by adding dried peels of yuzu (a fragrant Japanese fruit that fuses orange and lemon) and dried cranberries for the red flair. For that tangy kick, make sure you swirl in that small teaspoon of orange extract into the silky smooth chocolate!
Mies love you.
- Orange extract
- 8 oz. Good quality semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/4 cup Dried yuzu peels
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
Carefully line a sheet pan with one sheet of waxed paper.
Chop the chocolate into about 1/4″ chunks. This will enable the chocolate to melt quickly.
Prepare a double boiler by placing a bowl over a pot with about 1/4″ deep water. Bring the pot to a simmer over the stovetop and add the chocolate over this double boiler. Be sure to keep the bowl away from the water, as this will burn the chocolate.
As the chocolate melts, consistently stir in about 1 tsp. of orange extract. Continue to stir the chocolate to make sure it melts evenly. Adjust the temperature accordingly if it is melting too slowly or quickly.
Once the chocolate melts, slowly pour it over the waxed baking tray and smooth it out with a spatula to desired thickness.
Top the chocolate with dried yuzu peels and dried cranberries and wait about one hour for the chocolate to cool and solidify.
Once the chocolate has cooled and solidified, cut the chocolate into different geometric shapes from scalene triangles to parallelograms. Carefully pack in waxed or parchment paper and serve at room temperature!