Valentine’s Day is undoubtedly the best occasion to indulge in heart-shaped desserts, but it is also an opportunity to get creative. Roll up your sleeves and try creating these homemade delights.
Chocolate and Cream Fondue
Fondue is always a fun dessert for sharing. In a heavy saucepan, heat three-fourths cup of heavy cream, stirring frequently, until it comes to a boil. Remove the pot from heat and add 15 ounces of bittersweet chocolate. Let it rest for a few minutes to soften the chocolate. Whisk the chocolate and cream together until smooth, then dip in whatever your heart desires. Try adding chocolate, marshmallows, pretzels or fruit. Even topping with bacon may make for a surprisingly delicious treat.
If you want to really wow that special someone, start a romantic candle-lit dinner with fresh oysters on the half shell. It might sound strange, but oysters are another aphrodisiac because they contain zinc, the “sexy mineral.” Serve them with hot sauce to really get things fired up.
For a festive breakfast, whip up a batch of your favorite pancakes. Instead of pouring the batter directly onto the griddle, pour it into greased heart-shaped cookie cutters and place on a preheated griddle or pan. When bubbles appear around the sides of the pancakes, remove the cookie cutter and flip the pancakes over to cook them through. Pop the pancakes into a 250-degree oven until you are ready to serve them and be sure to grease the cookie cutter before preparing more pancakes. Serve with strawberries, whipped cream and heart-shaped sprinkles.
Asparagus with olive oil
Asparagus is said to be a natural aphrodisiac for both men and women. It is also incredibly healthy and will surely stave off any possible chocolate-induced comas. To make an easy asparagus dish, arrange asparagus spears in a single layer in a baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus, and season with salt and pepper. Toss the asparagus to evenly coat and roast for 25 to 30 minutes in a 400-degree oven.
Decadent hot cocoa
Cozy up with your Valentine and two mugs of spiced hot cocoa. In each mug, mix together two teaspoons of cocoa powder (for a more decadent treat, use dark cocoa powder), two teaspoons of sugar, a dash of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and a pinch of salt. Pour two cups of milk into a microwave-safe container and microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until the milk reaches the desired temperature. Whisk a cup of milk into each mug and stir in a drop or two of vanilla extract.
A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 13 print edition. Caitlin Schnack is a contributing writer. Email her at [email protected]