Make Your Own Valentine’s Day Chocolates

Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to make chocolates and candy for your friends, family, and loved ones. Giving homemade sweets is a great expression of love and friendship. Here are some lovely recipes to make your own Valentine’s Day chocolates and candy gifts.

One of the simplest but most delicious chocolates to make for Valentines Day is chocolate truffles. Dark chocolate and cream come together to form divine, melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolate truffles. It is best to use good-quality chocolate for the best results. A tablespoon of rum or brandy can be added in with the vanilla, if desired. These sweets, like most truffles, have several extensive chilling periods, so make sure you leave enough time when making them.

Ingredients

250g bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
125ml cup cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 tbsp cocoa powder

Method

1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl.

2. Place the cream in a small saucepan and scald it until bubbles being to appear around the sides of the pan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow it to soften and melt the chocolate for one minute.

3. Using a hand whisk, gently incorporate the cream and chocolate. Add the vanilla and stir until well-combined, but do not stir too vigorously or you will incorporate air bubbles.

4. Cover the truffle mixture with cling wrap and allow it to cool to room temperature. Once cool, refrigerate until it is firm enough to spoon, about 2 hours.

5. Using a teaspoon or cookie dough scoop, form small 1-inch balls from the mixture and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture. Return to the refrigerator to chill for another hour.

6. Place the cocoa powder in a small bowl or pie tin. Dust your hands with cocoa powder and place a truffle in the cocoa, rolling it until it is coated. Roll the truffle briefly between your palms to form a round shape, then place it back on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining truffles.

7. If you have different varieties/shades of cocoa powder, you can experiment with rolling the truffles in two different cocoas, creating stripes or dots of different colors. Truffles can also be topped with chocolate shavings or finely chopped nuts. Store the truffles in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and bring them to room temperature before serving.

No Valentine’s Day would be complete without hearts. These easy to make heart shaped treats make lovely gifts.

Chocolate Hearts

Ingredients

280g semi-sweet chocolate or milk chocolate, cut into small pieces
90g Puffed rice cereal

Method

1.Butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, an 8 inch (20 cm) square baking pan.

2.Place the chocolate in a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until melted then remove from heat. Gently stir in the puffed rice cereal until evenly coated. Immediately pour the mixture into your prepared pan and lightly pat until even. Place in the refrigerator until set.

3.Cut into heart shapes using a cutter or sharp knife.
Can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

Makes 1 – 8 inch (20 cm) pan. Preparation time 15 minutes

Chocolate and strawberries seem made for one another. So chocolate dipped strawberries make the perfect, heavenly Valentine’s Day chocolate gift. They make an easy and elegant candy dessert. You can substitute white or milk chocolate for semi-sweet, or experiment with double-dipping the strawberries in different chocolates to vary the flavor and appearance.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Ingredients

1 dozen ripe strawberries
450g chopped chocolate (preferable) or good-quality chocolate chips.

Method

1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil.

2. Wash the strawberries and dry them thoroughly. Do not remove the stems.

3. Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave until it is melted, stirring after every 30 seconds. Overheated chocolate gets thick and hard to work with, so it’s important to keep a careful eye on the chocolate. Remove it when some pieces are still not melted, and stir until they melt from the residual heat. If you are using low-quality chocolate chips, you might need to add a little vegetable oil to thin it out and make it easy to work with.

4. Holding a strawberry by the stem, dip it in chocolate, twirling it in a circular motion to evenly cover most of the berry. As you lift it from the chocolate, twirl it so that any excess chocolate drips back into the bowl.

5. Place the berry on the prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining berries and chocolate.

6. Once all of the berries are dipped, refrigerate them for 30 minutes to set the chocolate. These candies taste best when eaten the same day they are made.

Making and giving your own homemade chocolates and candy’s for Valentine’s Day is an original and thoughtful gift. Craft, kitchen and cake specialist stores offer a wide range of gift wrap, bags or cases to put your sweet gifts in to make them look both pretty and professional.