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Amorous aphrodisiacs create delectable desserts

Chocolate is one of the most popular aphrodisiacs and a typical treat on Valentine’s Day. (credit: Kristen Severson | Publisher) Chocolate is one of the most popular aphrodisiacs and a typical treat on Valentine’s Day. (credit: Kristen Severson | Publisher) Incorporate these lesser-known aphrodisiacs in your dinner: They will surely stimulate your palate. (credit: Kristen Severson | Publisher) Incorporate these lesser-known aphrodisiacs in your dinner: They will surely stimulate your palate. (credit: Kristen Severson | Publisher)

Everyone knows that at Carnegie Mellon, although the odds are good, the goods are most certainly odd. Here are some quick and easy recipes to make sure that on Valentine’s Day, you can show your Valentine that your goods aren’t odd at all.

On a campus that boasts diversity, your sweethearts are sure to be from every reach of the earth. Take this chance to impress them and try something new. At globalcookies.blogspot.com, Lisa Rohner shares recipes from all over the world in her blog, Cookies For Every Country.

Sweeten the day by making these Persian cookies with a heart-shaped cookie cutter:

Nan-e Nokhodchi (from Iran)

Ingredients: 1 cup canola oil; 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar; 4 teaspoons finely ground cardamom; 1 tablespoon rose water; 4 1/2 cups fine roasted chickpea flour sifted three times; 4 tablespoons unsalted, slivered pistachios for garnish

Directions: Combine oil, sugar, cardamom, and rose water in bowl and mix for two minutes until white and creamy. Add chickpea flour all at once and mix for one minute until dough is no longer sticky. Dust work surface with chickpea flour, knead dough for two minutes by hand, and flatten dough on surface until six inches square and 3/4 inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap, place on plate, and let rest for one hour in refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unwrap dough. Use a cookie cutter and cut out dough. Place cookies on baking sheet lined with parchment. Decorate each with a slivered pistachio. Place sheet on
rack in center of oven. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Looking to break the tradition of abstinence at Carnegie Mellon? Gourmet Sleuth recommends aphrodisiac-based foods as the way to go.

The list includes asparagus, avocado, bananas, sweet basil, carrots, coffee, garlic, ginger, licorice, vanilla, nutmeg, and pineapple.

Some notable aphrodisiacs include:

Almond: A symbol of fertility throughout the ages, the aroma is thought to induce passion in a female.

Chocolate: Chocolate contains chemicals thought to affect neurotransmitters in the brain and a substance related to caffeine called theobromine. Chocolate contains more antioxidants (cancer-preventing enzymes) than red wine. The secret for passion is to combine the two. Try a glass of Cabernet with a bit of dark chocolate for a sensuous treat, or tempt yourself by trying the recipe for chocolate espresso cups.

Raspberries and strawberries: They’re perfect foods for hand feeding your lover. High in vitamin C, these fruits make a sweet, light dessert.

For a romantic dinner for two, take these easy recipes and prepare a spread to amaze. Or spend time in a cozy kitchen cooking together. The Food Network provides an entire menu of caramelized pancetta and fennel salad, roasted asparagus, and shrimp scampi with linguini for an amorous evening at www.foodnetwork.com/recipes-and-cooking/make-it-together/pictures/index.html. The website also gives directions on how to whip up classic chocolate-covered strawberries.

Chocolate-covered strawberries

Ingredients: 6 ounces semisweet chocolate; chopped 3 ounces white chocolate; chopped 1 pound strawberries with stems (about 20), washed and dried very well

Directions: Put the semisweet and white chocolates into two separate heatproof medium bowls. Fill two medium saucepans with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off the heat; set the bowls of chocolate over the water to melt. Stir until smooth. (Alternatively, melt the chocolates in a microwave at half power for one minute, stir, and then heat for another minute or until melted.) Once the chocolates are melted and smooth, remove from the heat. Line a sheet pan with parchment or waxed paper. Holding the strawberry by the stem, dip the fruit into the dark chocolate, lift and twist slightly, letting any excess chocolate fall back into the bowl. Set strawberries on the parchment paper. Repeat with the rest of the strawberries. Dip a fork in the white chocolate and drizzle the white chocolate over the dipped strawberries.

For those overworked, caffeine-addicted Carnegie Mellon students:

Chocolate espresso cups

Ingredients: 5 cups whole milk, 1/2 cup espresso, 8 ounces dark chocolate chopped
into small pieces, 1 tablespoon sugar,
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions: Heat the milk in a medium pot over high heat until hot, but not boiling. Reduce the heat to very low and add the espresso, chocolate, sugar, and vanilla. Using a whisk, stir the mixture until the chocolate has melted. Continue to whisk the chocolate mixture until frothy every few minutes for about eight minutes, until the chocolate has completely mixed into the milk. Pour into mugs and serve immediately.