I feel like crazy December with all it’s holidays (and birthdays and anniversaries in our family) is only just behind us, but the next one is already looming. Only three more weeks until Valentine’s Day!
Well, I am not trying to even compare Christmas to Valentine’s Day. But here is one thing they have in common for me: a perfect opportunity for homemade gifts. I am a sucker for everything that is thoughtful and comes from the heart instead of from the mall.
Is there any Valentine’s Day gift more popular than chocolates? Well, flowers maybe. Here is an idea for easy homemade chocolates. Change up the recipe to make it perfect for your sweetheart.
We start by making the filling. It is a simple mixture of dates and nuts with vanilla – for natural sweetness and crunch.
First, whirl the pitted dates in a food processor until they form into a smooth ball. Then add the nuts and flavorings and process again until evenly combined.
Use whichever nuts your special someone likes best. And there are no limitations to your creativity with the flavoring extract. Love a coffee lover? Add some instant coffee or espresso to the mix. Rum or coconut extract would also make delicious flavor combinations.
Then we move on to the chocolate. What kind of chocolate do they like best? Dark, semi-sweet, white, vegan, organic? Or healthy? Yes, you can even use this homemade chocolate recipe.
Melt the chocolate in the microwave (in 20 second bursts; stirring in between) or on top of a double boiler. Use a brush or skewer (I used a cake pop stick) to spread it around the outside of a mold. I used only the heart cavities of this multi-shape silicone mold. You could also use an ice cube tray (around Valentine’s Day you can find heart-shaped ones in dollar stores).
The amount of 87chocolate you need and your final candy yield will depend on the mold you use.
Once you have spread the chocolate around the bottom and walls, give the mold a few good taps to smooth out the chocolate. Then place in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to set up.
Press a little of the filling mixture into each cavity, but don’t fill to the top.
Spread a little more melted chocolate over the filling, tap down again. Then, scrape of any excess with a knife or spatula.
Return the mold to the fridge or freezer, to let the chocolate set up fully.
Once hardened, pop out the chocolates. Place into mini muffin liners for presentation.
If you are feeling especially creative, you can use colored candy melts (or white chocolate with a touch of gel food coloring) for a set of chocolates that kind of reminds me of pastel colored conversation hearts.
(I added a little silver sparkle dust – left over from my cake decorating days – at the bottom of the mold before adding the pink chocolate).
- 4 ounces (115 g) chocolate (~1/2 cup in chips) (any kind - dark, semi-sweet, vegan, organic etc.)
- 2 ounces pitted dates (~1/2 cup before pitting)
- 2 ounces nuts (I used equal parts almonds and pecans)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (or other flavoring, eg coffee, rum, coconut)
- Place pitted dates in a food processor and whirl until a smooth ball forms. Add nuts and vanilla extract and process until combined.
- Melt chocolate in the microwave (in 20 second bursts; stirring in between) or on top of a double boiler. If needed, you can add a little vegetable or coconut oil (1 teaspoon at a time) to make it even smoother.
- Use a brush or stick to spread chocolate around the bottom and walls of a heart mold and tap mold down to smooth out chocolate. Place in the fridge or freezer (faster) to set up.
- Press a little of the filling mixture into each chocolate cavity, but not to the very top. Spread more melted chocolate over the filling and tap again to smooth out. Using a knife or spatula scrape off excess chocolate.
- Let the chocolates set up fully in the fridge or freezer, before popping them out of the mold.
- Place in mini paper liners for presentation.
Products used for this recipe: