Chocolate Strawberry Crepe Cake

Valentine's Day this year was simple. We both requested no gifts and we actually stuck to it. We went to work, came home at a reasonable time and planned an evening of eating and video games. Very...us.

A couple of weeks ago, I tried my hand at crepes. I'm not sure why, other than I wanted pancakes and thought I'd try something new. They were kind of a flop, not unlike my last attempt at a new "pancake" (check out my post on Fluffy Perfect Pancakes if you don't know what I mean). They were too thick and not very "crepey" at all. Chad was kind and ate them despite their shortcomings in the looks department. However, I didn't feel too badly about failing crepes on my first attempt. I know I reference Chopped a lot, but have you ever seen anyone make crepes on that show? Even the best chefs trip them up on the dessert round. 

 Askinosie chocolate  Primo Vino, Cape Girardeau, MO

Askinosie chocolate

Primo Vino, Cape Girardeau, MO

On Valentine's Day, I was inspired to try again. I had just purchased fancy chocolate from a local wine shop and was dying to try it. I bought about five bars of various flavors, but for this recipe, I chose the Dark Chocolate + Malted Milk and mixed in Ghiradelli dark chocolate. I figured a crepe cake was the way to go.  I mean what's better than chocolate and pancakes on Valentine's Day?

Chocolate-covered strawberries?

Fair enough.

So I threw in leftover strawberries too. 

My one tip for this recipe: don't lose heart if your first few fall apart. Like I said, even the best chefs seem to mess up crepes now and again. Even mine didn't end up as thin as they could have. It may take a couple of tries before you get the thickness and cook time (which makes extraction from the cooking pan MUCH easier) just right. I also flip my crepes and cook them slightly on the other side. Some people apparently don't do this (and cook them only on one side), which I didn't realize until I started looking at various recipes.

Ingredients:
Crepe batter
1 cup flour
1 ½ cups milk
2 eggs
1½ teaspoons olive oil (or vegetable oil)
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt

Strawberry "jam"
1/3 cup cane sugar
2 cups strawberries, cleaned and diced

  1. In a large bowl, mix the crepe batter. I honestly don't bother with wet vs. dry ingredients most of the time - just whisk well and make sure ingredients are incorporated thoroughly (I'm talking to you, chunks of flour that like to hang out at the bottom of the bowl).
     
  2. Heat a small skillet (about 6") over medium heat. I had to turn my down to medium-low once it was hot. (You can obviously use a crepe pan if you have one).
     
  3. Lightly grease the skillet in your preferred method. Pour a small amount of batter into the skillet. This will take a little practice to figure out the right amount, but it should be a fairly thin layer, just enough to  coat the bottom of the pan (no more than 1/4 cup). 
     
  4. You will be able to see the crepe cooking through. Wait until nearly set and flip. Brown on the other side just to finish cooking, about 15 to 30 seconds, and remove from the skillet. I found it easy to just slide the crepe onto a plate. Repeat this process for the rest of the batter. You might consider separating your layers with parchment or paper towels so they do not stick to one another (although I didn't have this issue because mine were just a tad thick).
     
  5. Used the same skillet to throw in strawberries and sugar (I'm all about that minimal cleanup). Cook until strawberries cooked down slightly and "spreadable."
     
  6. In a microwave safe container, melt your chocolate and a teaspoon of oil to make it thinner (easier to drizzle). Careful, chocolate burns easily. Go 20 to 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between until just melted through.
     
  7. On a serving dish/plate, lay your first crepe down. Drizzle with chocolate. Top with a second crepe. Spread strawberry mixture on this crepe. Top with a third. Drizzle with chocolate. Repeat this process until your last crepe.
     
  8. Drizzle the top with chocolate or you can use butter/syrup. 

Serve as a beautiful layered crepe cake! Congratulations, you're Chopped champion material now! Happy Valentine's Day!

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