This year, Seattle's Essential Baking Company urges us all to "forgo the overdone heart-shaped box of chocolates and surprise your loved ones this Valentine's Day with artisan breads, pastries and desserts". Marketing ploy (since the company obviously doesn't offer boxes of chocolates)? Perhaps. But good idea? Definitely. Why? Just take a look at their menu of sweet treats which will be around for a limited time only (the Cara Mia cake from now til February 14; the other desserts through Feb. 23):
Cara Mia: "My Beloved" in Italian, this heart-shaped chocolate bread is kissed with chocolate chunks and cherries embraced by a sweet French bread sprinkled with sugary love.
Valentino Cake Cookie: This hand-held delight consists of two moist chocolate cake cookies spread with a luscious raspberry buttercream frosting and pressed together for a sweet and irresistible treat.
and their line of Parisian Star Desserts:
Chocolate Syrah Seduction: This heart-shaped chocolate cake is enrobed in chocolate ganache blended with a reduction of Chateau St. Michelle Syrah for a deep, rich flavor, all in a dark chocolate cup decorated with beads of white chocolate mousse.
Cherry Jubilee: Cherries soaked in Kirsch are suspended in a light mascarpone filling, all tucked into a velvety dark chocolate mousse atop a chocolate-almond cake.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Heart: A dark chocolate heart-shaped cup filled with a light peanut butter mousse and chocolate brownie chunks, sprinkled with chopped peanuts and topped with a dark chocolate heart.
Porcupine Chocolate Heart: This chocolate chiffon cake is brushed with Grand Marnier and layered with Belgian dark chocolate mousse, then covered in dark chocolate with white and dark chocolate spikes.
Raspberry Linzer Tart: Raspberry jam fills the buttery shortbread crust and lattice topping made with Northwest hazelnuts.
What are you waiting for? Call in advance to ensure availability or to special order; locations and more information can be found at essentialbaking.com.