Julie Giuffrida is Test Kitchen coordinator for the Los Angeles Times.
Whether you prefer brownies, cookies or a spectacular chocolate ganache strawberry tart, one of these recipes can help woo your valentine.
Face it: On Valentine’s Day, chocolate is required. I’m not sure who really has a problem with that. But there is the dilemma of what form the chocolate should take. Chocolate-dipped berries or fruit? Chocolate cake? Pudding? Soufflé? Brownies?
Most people I know would say, “any or all of the above.”. By the way, if you’re looking for artisanal chocolates, there are several great local chocolatiers you can visit. If you prefer a more personal touch, offer your valentine homemade chocolate dessert. Here are some options.
Grownup Mint-Chocolate Pudding
This simple pudding recipe uses a splash of absinthe to tie together mint and chocolate flavors, making it a delicious, elegant dessert choice.
Time20 minutes, plus 8 hours unattended
YieldsServes 4 to 8
This recipe uses gelatin rather than eggs for the pudding so you don’t have to worry about curdling your custard. Absinthe balances the mint flavor for a sophisticated but still comforting pudding
Simple yet sophisticated, these elegant-looking raspberry thumbprint cookies are as delicious as they are chocolatey. You can swap orange, strawberry or whatever you have on hand for the raspberry jam.
Time1 hour 20 minutes
YieldsMakes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies
Chocolate and raspberry are a classic combination, here made less showy but no less delicious in the form of a cookie. The dough is pliant and forgiving, making this a great project for kids.
Easy Chocolate Soufflés
This fast, easy chocolate soufflé recipe requires only three ingredients, making it the perfect dessert to serve on date night or this Valentine's Day.
YieldsMakes 4 individual soufflés
Don’t be intimidated. These easy-to-make soufflés will have people thinking you spent long hours laboring over them even though you will only need about 30 minutes start to finish. Light and airy and deeply chocolatey, they will satisfy the craving for chocolate without weighing you down.
Molten Chocolate Cakes
Serve these molten chocolate cakes on date night or Valentine's Day with vanilla ice cream and, if you’d like, a chocolate wafer to impress.
Among his most replicated and imitated recipes, this chocolate cake helped catapult Jean-Georges Vongerichten to master chef status. With only six ingredients, it is so simple to make at home that it is hard to mess up. Even if you overbake it, you will wind up with a delicious brownie-like cake. Yes, you, too, can be a star chef.
Simpler Salted Caramel-Chocolate Tart
Small tweaks to the classic salted caramel-chocolate tart recipe make it easier for beginner home bakers with no equipment but lots of ambition.
Time3 hours 30 minutes, largely unattended
YieldsServes 8 to 12
A wedge of caramel nestled in a cocoa crust and smothered in chocolate ganache garnished with flaky sea salt? Yes, please! A slice of this chewy, gooey, chocolatey tart is much more satisfying than the two-bite squares of chocolate-coated caramel typically included in a box of chocolates. It is easy to make and even easier to eat.
Momed’s Flourless Chocolate Cake
Heavy cream and butter are replaced in Momed’s signature flourless chocolate cake with coconut cream and coconut oil. The cake’s fudgy texture and toastier taste are all the better for it.
YieldsServes 8 to 10
Not only gluten-free but also vegan (so long as you use vegan chocolate chips), a slice of this decadence will transport you and your co-consumers to chocolate heaven. Even better, it is so easy to make that it requires neither special equipment nor a lot of time: A saucepan, a spatula, a cake pan and 35 minutes are pretty much all you need.
These homemade chocolate brownies with walnuts are made with cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate and given a ganache drizzle for a triple-chocolate boost.
YieldsMakes about 3 dozen brownies
There may be no such thing as a bad brownie, but the best ones are truly memorable, and this is one of those. Cocoa powder gives a balanced chocolate flavor. Chopped chocolate (rather than chocolate chips) ensures that the chocolate is evenly spread throughout the batter, and chocolate ganache drizzled over them gives them a creamy, extra chocolate kick. Dig into the full low-down on brownie ingredients and chemistry or just trust this recipe. Either way, you will be richly rewarded.
Chocolate Ganache Strawberry Tart
With its thin layer of ganache and even rows of sliced strawberries, this tart can be a dramatic dessert for two or an exciting presentation for a small party.
Time1 hour 30 minutes
YieldsServes 8 to 12
This tart is a great stand-in for chocolate-dipped strawberries. A thin layer of chocolate ganache helps the berries adhere to the hazelnut crust and gives the experience of chocolate-dipped strawberries without all the fuss and mess of hand-dipping.