Sweet Surprises

Make Your Own Valentine's Day Chocolate Desserts

Chocolate has been associated with love for nearly 700 years. It is a suspected aphrodisiac, an endorphin factory, and a gift of love. No matter how you spend your Valentine’s Day this year, you will likely end up with some of it in your grasp! Be it the day of or the day after on discount, chocolate is quite nearly unavoidable in February. Why settle for bunnies and boxes when you could delight and astound with something homemade?

2020 was the year that birthed many home bakers and chefs. With most folks still trying their hand at new dishes, we're recommending these recipes to gather the family and your loved ones to create, bake, and enjoy some chocolate goodies together.

Chocolate Truffles

2 cups old-fashioned oats 

3/4 cup roughly chopped pitted dates 

2/3 cup creamy almond butter

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup raw coconut flakes

3 tablespoons chocolate chips

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder for coating 

Prepare the oats in a food processor with short pulses. Add the dates, almond butter, and honey and continue to pulse until well mixed. Add the coconut flakes and chocolate chips and continue processing until evenly combined. Dampen your hands and roll them into tablespoon sized balls (if crumbly, add some warm water until right). Arrange the truffles in a single layer in an airtight container and chill them for about 25 minutes. Just before serving, roll in cocoa powder.

Chocolate Pudding Parfaits

1 box chocolate instant pudding mix - 5.9 ounce size

3 cups milk

1 quart heavy cream

Chocolate Chips 

Single-serve glasses for serving

Easy and impressive - these can mold to any kind of parfait you want. Whisk the pudding mix and milk together and set aside. Mix the heavy cream with a hand mixer until it whips and also set aside. Layer your single-serve cups as desired. This also works great with crushed oreos, thin mints, cookies, brownies, you name it!

Homemade Chocolate Cream Puffs

1/2 cup butter

1 cup water

1 cup flour

4 large eggs

1 tsp salt; optional

2 - 3.4 ounce size packages chocolate instant pudding mix; prepared according to package directions

Preheat the oven to 400°. Heat the butter, water, and salt over high heat in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add the flour all at once, stirring quickly until the dough creates a ball. Let the dough cool for 5 minutes. With a mixer, add eggs one at a time until the dough is smooth and silky. Scoop onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temp to 350° and bake for 30 additional minutes until golden brown. Poke a couple of holes into the sides of each puff and then return to the oven and turn it off. Leave the slightly door open for another 12 minutes or so. Let cool completely before filling with pudding.

Coated Chocolate Brownie Thins

½ cup flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder 

⅛ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 tbsp unsalted butter. melted and cooled slightly

1 large egg white, room temperature

½ tsp vanilla 

2 tbsp plain nonfat Greek yogurt

5 tbsp pure maple syrup

2 tbsp milk

Almond bark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 300°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together the first four ingredients in one bowl and the butter, egg, and vanilla in another. Stir in the Greek yogurt, then the maple syrup. Alternate between adding the flour and milk, and stir until just incorporated. Spread the batter onto the parchment paper, about ⅛” thick. Cook for about 13 minutes. Let cool for several hours before slicing and coating in melted almond bark.

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