If I could list a few of my favorite things, like Frauline Maria/Julie Andrews does in The Sound of Music, I’d definitely figure out how to wiggle into the lyrics the fact that one of my favorite things is when Valentine’s Day coincides with President’s Day and as a result, we get a beautiful long weekend to celebrate love. Don’t know how’d I’d fit that into the song, actually, but you get my point.
Whether you’re single and hate V-day, you’re doing it up for Galentine’s day, you’re dating, you’re engaged, you’re married, at least we have Monday off, am I right?
Part of the joy of Valentine’s day is partly, at least this weekend, a chance and an excuse (if you need one!) to bake something heart-shaped, to make a fancy cake or a fancy meal. Even if your V-day evening consists of Ben & Jerry’s and You’ve Got Mail (or, if I could pick, it would be brownies and Pride and Prejudice), you gotta admit that the holiday is basically synonymous with Chocolate Day. Which is pretty awesome.
And without getting on my (married) high horse on this holiday, I want to say that I think that love is beautiful. My mom used to wake up early on Valentine’s Day, even if it was a week day, and make my brother and I some kind of fancy breakfast, and give us heart balloons sometimes, and little bears and chocolate to show us she loves us. And that’s amazing.
So go love someone, something. Even if it’s just you. Do some yoga. Journal. Drink fancy tea and watch your favorite movie. Remember that Jesus loves you (even if you don’t believe in that, doesn’t make it not true). Remember that your family loves you (even if they are messed up, at least 1 person in your whole family circle, or a friend who is so close, they might as well be family loves you). Go online and search for something to donate money to. Here’s a great one. Let your heart be broken for people less fortunate than you, and then love them by giving something of yours to help.
Ok so now that that has been said, I want to introduce you to this amazing cake, and also teach you a little secret. Right now, it is full-on Girl Scout cookie season. I see them by the Walgreens at my house, and at the train station when I’m super hungry and still have an hour before I get home and eat dinner. The secret: how to get Thin Mints out of season. Safeway (or Vons, in some places), carries “Fudge Mint” cookies, Safeway brand, in the cookie section. Same flavor, slightly different texture, but they definitely help curb that Girl Scout cookie craving if you miss the season somehow.
Jon is not a big chocolate person, but he loved this cake. It’s based on the ever-popular Beatty’s Chocolate Cake by Ina Garten. This particular rendition is a hit because it’s kind of like cookies and cream, but the cookies are minty and chocolatey, and the cake is perfectly soft and moist. The ganache is the rich chocolatey addition to the top of the cake. Without it, though it may not look like it, the cake is very lightly chocolate flavored.