For the gentleman, Valentine's Day presents a unique opportunity to stand out and make an impact. The key is making anything you do personal. Here are a few tips on how to wow your significant other this year:
Don't buy a generic card, write an old fashioned love letter.
Your usual last minute stop at Hallmark on your way home from work just won't cut it. Let her know how you really feel with an old fashioned love letter. Write from the heart. Believe us, write anything more than
"Happy Valentine's Day" and she'll be enthralled. Add a surprise element by slipping it into the mailbox or stack of mail on the 14th.
Don't take her to dinner, cook her your signature meal.
There's nothing special about taking a women out to a restaurant, even if it is more expensive than your usual haunts. A man in the kitchen on the other hand, is a strong and welcome gesture. Cook her your signature dish and she'll be eating right out of your hand. Don't have one? Try this romantic 3-course meal.
Don't buy her chocolates, make your own.
Is there anything more cliche than store bought chocolate on Valentine's Day? Turn the expected into the unexpected by making your own gourmet chocolates at home. While it requires a bit of patience, the end result will melt your special someone's heart. Here are directions to make your own decadent melted center chocolate truffles:
Make the truffle center
- Stir 8 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips, 1 cup of heavy cream, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 3 to 4 tablespoons of rum over medium-low heat until melted and thoroughly mixed.
- Chill in the fridge until firm. A few hours to overnight.
- Mold into spheres. A melon scoop works great or you can carefully use your hands. If it sticks, use a bit of confectioners sugar.
- Place on a lined sheet pan and return to fridge.
Melt and temper the chocolate for the coating
- Bring a pot of water to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Place a large, heat proof bowl over the pot to make a double boiler (make sure the water doesn't touch the bowl and that no steam or condensation can enter the bowl).
- Stir your 8 oz of milk chocolate chips in the bowl until melted and over 105°F (41°C).
- Once your chocolate is melted, you'll need to temper it. Basically, tempering chocolate ensures that when cooled it will form a dense crystalline structure, resulting in hard, brittle chocolate.
- The easiest way to temper chocolate is to remove the melted chocolate from heat and add a piece of unmelted chocolate. Mix until the chocolate's temperature is between 86 and 88 degrees F and keep it at that temperature by adding and removing heat.
Dip your truffle center into the tempered chocolate
- Use a skewer or dipping fork to quickly roll the truffle center in the tempered chocolate.
- Place the chocolate-dipped spheres on clean parchment. When the chocolate has set, transfer the truffles to a sealed container.
Ready for something more complicated? Try this recipe for homemade cherry cordials.