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Three Hershey's Chocolate recipes for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day and chocolate — what a perfect pair!

Several years ago, we visited the Hershey Factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania. It was indeed a fantastic experience. Of course, I had to bring home several of their cookbooks. These recipes are from "Best-Loved Hershey's Sweet & Sensational Cakes, Pies, Brownies, Holiday Treats and More!" and "Hershey's Best-Loved Recipes."

Even though every single recipe in the books was tempting, I limited myself to three to share for your Valentine's Day dessert course. The first one is aptly named as being Perfectly Chocolate. And if you're not in the mood for baking, I've also picked out two simple no-bake desserts that make for impressive presentations. What is more romantic than sharing a chocolate fondue? I know you'll enjoy these.

Hershey's 'Perfectly Chocolate' Chocolate Cake
Serves 12

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in water. The batter will be thin. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until wood toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Prepare "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting; spread between layers and over top and sides of cake.

'Perfectly Chocolate' Chocolate Frosting
Makes enough for one 2-layer cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt butter; stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency. Add a small amount of milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.

Chocolate Magic Mousse Pie
Serves 8

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup Hershey's cocoa
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 (6- or 9-ounce) prepared graham cracker crumb crust
Refrigerated whipped light cream in a pressurized can
Hershey's mini chocolate chips

Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl; let stand 2 minutes to soften. Add boiling water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved and the mixture is clear. Cool slightly.

Mix sugar and cocoa in large bowl; add whipping cream and vanilla. Beat on medium speed, scraping the bottom of bowl often, until mixture is stiff. Pour in gelatin mixture; beat until well blended.

Spoon into crust and refrigerate about 3 hours. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate pieces. Store, covered in the refrigerator.

Special Dark Fudge Fondue
Serves 4 to 6

2 cups Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup light cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
Assorted fondue dippers such as marshmallows, cherries, grapes, mandarin orange segments, pineapple chunks, strawberries, slices of other fresh fruits, small pieces of cake or small brownies

Combine chocolate chips and light cream in heavy medium saucepan. Cook over low heat, constantly stirring, until chips are melted and mixture is hot. Stir in vanilla.

Serve warm with fondue dippers. If mixture thickens, stir in additional light cream, one tablespoon at a time. Refrigerate leftover fondue.

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Laura Tolbert, also known as Fleur de Lolly, has been sharing recipes, table decor ideas and advice for fellow foodies and novices on her blog, fleurdelolly.blogspot.com for more than eight years. You can contact her at fleurdelolly@yahoo.com.