Although chocolate’s reputation as an aphrodisiac has been sadly debunked, it is still by association the most decadent and luxurious of sweet things. In his botanical classification, Carl Linnaeus granted cocoa the Greek name ‘theobroma cacao’, which translates literally as ‘the food of the gods’. Although it’s hard to go too far wrong with chocolate, our Valentine’s recipes are designed to make your dessert course extra heavenly.
Our spiced fondue is given warmth with cinnamon, cloves and black pepper; serve with homemade marshmallows and strawberries for dipping and devouring (or throw some figs into the mix, long-regarded as a symbol for love and fertility!). When you’re done with fondue, top the chocolate base with steamed milk and a pinch of chilli for Mayan-style hot cocoa. If you want to impress with the ultimate gooey chocolate dessert, try our chocolate lava cakes; we’ve added some recipe tips to make these molten cakes a little more….molten.
For less x-rated and more child-friendly ideas, our cute iced and stamped cookies make the perfect Valentine’s gift; the sugar dough is quick, simple and practically foolproof. Our marshmallow recipe is also easier than you think (they keep for up to three weeks if you have good willpower…), and the Linzer hearts come in two versions - one spiced and the other packed full of hazelnuts. The accompanying chocolate-hazel spread is by no means confined to Valentine’s consumption - a jar of this delicious stuff should always be stashed in your fridge!
For the old-school romantics among you, we recommend the light and sweet rosewater and pistachio cupcakes - a subtle and delicious way to indulge. The light-as-air mascarpone frosting can be left au naturel or coloured with natural beetroot powder. As beetroot’s biggest fan, I suggest stirring the gorgeous, fuchsia-coloured powder into almost everything on Valentine’s day - think rose-coloured yoghurt, pomegranate seeds and granola for breakfast...
Our Valentine’s recipes are adaptable for cosy shared treats or for feeding many guests - the handy recipe-scaling tool will do all the work for you. But, practicality aside, Valentine’s baking should be delicious, fuss-free and utterly indulgent. Harriet van Horne suggests ‘cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all’. Let this be your Valentine’s baking motto!
All of the recipes mentioned in this post can be found in the Drop Kitchen app (just look for the Valentine's tab). If you don't have it already you can download it from the App Store.