This is one of those rare holidays where homemade gifts really are more special, especially if they’re edible. Anybody can buy a box of chocolates or chocolate-covered strawberries. Wouldn’t it be sexier if you made your own for your Valentine? We think so, so we’ve come up with a few suggestions that require very little experience in the kitchen…
- Few desserts are as easy or satisfying as chocolate mousse. All you need is two ingredients: Chocolate and Water. Yes, really. Just melt equal amounts of both in a double boiler over low heat. Then put the bowl in a bath of ice water, and begin to beat with a whisk until it turns into a mousse. It’s a mystery of to us too.
- We love granita for many reasons: It’s super simple, inexpensive, healthy, and requires only a few ingredients. We came up with a Champagne granita that’s perfect for the occassion. We use Veuve Cliquot because of its sugar content. If you cant’ get your hands on champagne, you can also use rose as well.
- If you’re really serious about the seduction, you can make an aphrodisiac for dessert. Chocolate-covered banana pops just might be the ultimate aphrodisiac. Someone tipped us off that bananas have a lot of bromelain, which supposedly enhances the male libido. (We’re convinced.) Cut a firm, but ripe banana in half, insert popsicle sticks, and place in the freezer until hard. Then dip in milk, semi-sweet, or dark chocolate. If you don’t have time to melt chocolate, buy the chocolate “shell” topping or caramel in the supermarket. You want to dress it up, just roll it in nuts, shredded coconut, or cinnamon sugar.
- Figs are another great aphrodisiac, but they’re not quite in season yet. So we decided to cut a few in half and grill them or even saute them in a pan with a little butter or a touch of olive oil. Drizzle with honey, a dab of Greek yogurt, whipped cream, or even ice cream. If you want to get a little fancier, you can flavor the whipped cream with a little cardamom or cloves.
pudding is highly underrated. A well-made pudding that’s silky and
rich can prove one of the most satisfying desserts in the world. You
don’t have to be a pastry chef to make it. There’s nothing wrong with
using chocolate pudding mix. To doctor it up, we add a splash of
chambord, some crushed amaretti cookies, and raspberries.
- Passionfruit and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand and there’s so many ways to use it. They all require passionfruit sorbet, which you can pick up at the grocery store and it’s actually cheaper than making your own. Here’s a few ideas. Our favorite is a passionfruit float with specialty sodas like ginger, tarragon, or chocolate. Or you can just drizzle a few scoops with caramel (even melting store-bought caramels will do) and sables for a little crunch. You can even drop a scoop of sorbet in a chile-spiked hot chocolate.
- Candy Hearts are a fun & flirty gesture, but they hardly get eaten. Instead of throwing them away, we use them as decoration. They’re perfect to dress up cupcakes, pudding, and even your chocolate-dipping bananas.
- While snacking one day, we discovered that mini-pretzels resemble hearts, especially chocolate-covered pretzels. You can make your oven. Just melt either chocolate or pink & red melting candy (which you can find at all specialty baking stores) and dip a bunch of mini-pretzels in. Then, gently lie each pretzel on a baking sheet covered with waxed paper. Before the chocolate dries, cover each one with festive pink &white sprinkles. They make a great gift for everyone from your co-worker to your mom for Valentine’s Day.