SAN DIEGO, February 14, 2017– Billions of people worldwide open their hearts while engaging in a variety of Valentine’s Day expressions of love.
February 14th is the traditional day, dating back to the Middle Ages, in which people from all over the world celebrate Valentine’s Day.
According to Wikipedia, it is thought that the first American mass-produced valentines were created and sold in the 1800’s by Massachusetts entrepreneur Esther Holland.
With her fondness for English valentines, replete with fine laces and floral designs, Holland sparked a revolution in the greeting card industry, setting new standards which led to an annual greeting card award given in her name.
Currently in the United States it is estimated that approximately 190 million valentines are sent each year, according to the United States Greeting Card Association.
Further, it is estimated that over 15 million e-cards and other forms of digital Valentine’s Day greetings are sent every year.
Valentine’s Day is often celebrated with gifts of jewelry and tokens of love like flowers, chocolates, and more, with chocolates and flowers being among the most popular.
For those who enjoy dining at home, whether as a special surprise or a shared experience in cooking, a sweet treat is a traditional and anticipated ending to a special Valentine’s Day meal.
The delicious Brownie Tart recipe, courtesy of Chef Ina Garten on FoodNetwork.com, may be the perfect chocolate dessert able to steal any Valentine’s Day heart:
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
3 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 extra-large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Grease and flour a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a bowl set over simmering water. Add 2 cups of the chocolate chips, remove from the heat and stir until the chocolate melts.
Set aside to cool completely.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, coffee, and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cooled chocolate.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, and the walnuts.
Fold the flour mixture into the batter until just combined.
Pour into the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center is puffed (the top may crack). The inside will still be very soft.
Cool to room temperature before removing the sides of the tart pan.
Melt the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips with the heavy cream and drizzle on the tart.
For those with special health concerns and dietary restrictions, consider bake-worthy substitutes for sugar, butter, flour, and heavy cream.
There is no doubt that the meaning of Valentine’s Day is far greater than the giving of cards and gifts or the sharing of a meal.
At the very core of Valentine’s Day is the intrinsic human desire to deeply connect with others.
With the ability to love unconditionally oftentimes overshadowed by pop culture and societal expectations, the ability to love and accept oneself is fundamental.
“When we partner up with love, our lives begin to magically transform in ways we could never dream of,” says Mary Paleologos in huffingtonpost.com.
In her article, The Power of Love, by Ellen McGrath, published in psychology today.com, McGrath writes that she believes that to have the ability to get love and keep love you have to go out and be active and learn a variety of specific skills.
McGrath offers the following helpful suggestions for creating genuine happiness and reaching for love beyond the confines of societal myths:
-Focus on the other person while also caring for oneself.
-Help someone else by getting outside oneself.
-Develop the ability to accommodate simultaneous reality, being able to be aware of one’s own reality as well as that of the loved one.
-Actively disrupt internal messaging of inadequacy, removing low self-esteem and negative feelings of inadequacy.
Valentine’s Day is a fun and glorious day for people all over the world.
Whether it is celebrated by valentine card exchanges, gifts of flowers or love tokens, sharing a decadent dessert at the end of a splendid meal, or any number of other ways, its true meaning lies in the very real need for humankind to share and experience the transformational power of love itself.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!