I experience a Valentine's Day miracle every February, with about 50 of my closest friends. Many years ago, the men in our Sunday School Class began cooking the ladies (single, married, whatever) a Valentine's Dinner. It all began with some grills in the church parking lot, and has slowly escalated into a gourmet delight.
And the best part is...they do all the planning, cooking, serving and CLEANING UP (not kidding)!
This year we celebrated a week late, which worked out great for us, because we were at Nashville Market on Valentine's Day. We gobbled down a pizza in our room before we opened our door for the Friday night Early Bird Shopping event...not a great celebration.
Friday night a small group of dedicated men gather to bake the cheesecakes (they discovered you have to do this a day ahead). The rest of the menu varies from year to year, but we look forward to a cheesecake dessert smorgasbord every year!
While the men chow down on take-out pizza, the wives disappear to eat girly food at a selected restaurant. Then the guys get to work with 2 mixers, one food processor, two ovens, 5 recipes, 5 spring-form pans and a kitchen full of ingredients! Special thanks to Doug for gathering recipes and all the ingredients. There's a grocery store nearby for the forgotten ingredients...another yearly event.
When the gals return several hours later, there are already a few cheesecakes cooling. WHAT? They were chowing on pizza when we left and now the house smells heavenly and there are beautiful cheesecakes in the kitchen?! Above is the famous white chocolate raspberry in the coveted heart-shaped pan.
While the ladies adjourn to the basement to watch a chick flick, the guys complete 5 cheesecakes. Every year they vary the flavor a bit. Here was this year's cheesy lineup:
* Caramel macchiato
* White chocolate raspberry
* Classic New York with fresh strawberries
* Chocolate mocha
And here are the proud cheesecake bakers beaming behind the lovely dessert table. Sadly, after 50+ attendees sampled their favorites, there were no leftovers....darn!
But our tummies and our hearts were full and happy and GRATEFUL for the fabulous men of Pneuma Sunday School Class, First United Methodist Church, Wichita!
WHITE CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CHEESECAKE
Blogger's Note: We've also discovered that it's possible to bake these cheesecakes at other times of the year. Yes, the miracle still works! Now that Alan has acquired this skill, his white chocolate raspberry cheesecake is often requested for special events. Sounds good right now....