All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt. - Charles Schulz
Ever dine on one of those crazy gastronomic meals with tons of courses? Each course is more complex than the previous, with dessert usually culminating into a work of art. Just when you think you've taken your last rich and unctuous bite of the cheese course, unexpectedly, out come les petites gourmandises. Just a little bite, barely a whisper of something sweet. They are a bit of luxury created from simplicity, courtesy of the kitchen to acknowledge your time together. We think of it as a culinary namaste.
Depending on how you are celebrating Valentine's Day, here's a treat you can easily make with the one (or ones) you love. Doesn't matter if they are tall, dark and handsome or short, gap-toothed and cherubic. In fact, four-legged and furry often does the best job cleaning up.
All you need is some good quality chocolate, parchment paper and some garnishes of your choosing. We love the way fresh raspberries taste with chocolate, but we also experimented with some dried and candied fruits like orange peel, apricots and ginger. Culinary lavender and dried flower petals added an aromatic flourish. We also couldn't resist Oregon hazelnuts.
Use a small pastry bag, or make one out of parchment paper. We suggest making several (so you can work in small batches) and having them ready before you start. Cut the parchment into an equal-sided triangle (we went with 8-inch sides). First wrap one point around to meet another (front side touching the back side) and then bring the third point around the same way. Line the points up as precisely as you can to make a nice tight tip on the bag. Fold the paper over to keep it from popping open. You can add a piece of tape if you feel more comfortable. Fill the bag two-thirds full with melted chocolate, fold it over again and cut a tiny opening at the point to start drawing chocolate hearts.
Happy Valentine's Day! - xoxo Thread & Whisk
(makes 12-24 chocolates)
4 oz good quality chocolate, dark or milk
garnishes: small berries, dried or candied fruit, nuts, edible flower petals, etc.
small pastry bag
medium metal bowl
Assemble all of you garnishes before you begin.
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and put in a metal bowl that is slightly larger than your saucepan (to avoid water splashing into your chocolate). Add about one inch of water to saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Alternately, a double-boiler can be used if you have one.
Place the bowl of chocolate over the simmering pan of water.
Place a sheet of parchment paper on your counter and have your pastry bag and spatula ready.
As the chocolate starts to melt, stir it with the spatula. When it is about 75% melted, remove the bowl from the saucepan and continue stirring the chocolate until it’s completely melted. If the chocolate gets too runny, allow it to cool for a few minutes before proceeding.
Carefully pour the melted chocolate into the pastry bag. Do not fill the bag more than two-thirds full. Repeat this process again to work in small batches. Use the spatula to scrape every last bit of chocolate out.
Pipe the chocolate onto the parchment paper by outlining hearts and then filling them in. Garnish as you wish and allow the chocolate to harden before gently peeling from the parchment.