February 10, 2017
Homemade chocolates are the perfect Valentine's Day treat.

Great food is an essential part of Valentine’s Day, whether you’re having a romantic evening with someone special or just hanging out with fellow singles. If you’re pursuing a culinary arts certificate online, this is a great opportunity to try out some new desserts. Valentine’s Day is the perfect occasion to explore rich, decadent flavors like you’ll find in these recipes:

1. Embrace molten deliciousness
For many people, it’s simply not Valentine’s Day without plenty of chocolate. If you agree, Bon Appetit’s molten chocolate cakes might be the perfect choice for the holiday. Start by preparing the ganache to go into the centers of the cakes: Warm a quarter cup of heavy cream to a simmer and pour over two ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate. Stir the mixture and refrigerate until it firms up.

In the meantime, coat four ramekins with butter and a sprinkle of demerara sugar. Melt five ounces of chopped chocolate and six tablespoons of butter in a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs and brown sugar, and then vanilla extract as well.

Slowly and carefully combine the chocolate into the egg mixture, using a spatula to fold the ingredients together. Fold in flour and salt as well. Place half the batter into the ramekins, adding a tablespoon of ganache to each before pouring the rest of the batter.

Set the ramekins in an oven set to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for up to 15 minutes, checking for the tops to become firm. After the cakes have 30 seconds to cool, turn the ramekins upside down to put the desserts on plates and serve.

2. Break away from chocolate
If chocolate isn’t your thing, Martha Stewart Living offered an alternative with directions for raspberry-almond financiers. First, heat a stick of unsalted butter in a saucepan, whisking as it turns golden brown. Add in honey before removing from heat.

Use an electric mixer to combine blanched, ground almonds with both granulated and powdered sugar, cake flour and salt. Gradually add five egg whites, beating them in one by one. Continue mixing at low speed as you slowly pour in the honey butter. Then, increase speed and beat for another 45 seconds.

Coat muffin tins with cooking spray and fill each cup halfway with batter. Place half a teaspoon of raspberry puree in each, close to the edge. Use the tip of a paring knife to make the puree into  the shape of a heart.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Let the petits fours cool a little before using the spatula to move them from the tins and onto a wire rack.

Valentine's Day is a great chance to create delicious confections.Valentine’s Day is a great chance to create delicious confections.

3. All the taste, with no animal products
If you or your valentine maintain a vegan diet, check out the recipe for chocolate truffles from Minimalist Baker. This no-bake approach calls for processing walnuts and pecans, setting them aside, and then processing dates with the pits removed. Add half of the nut meal back into the processor, along with cocoa powder and set to pulse.

Continue pulsing as you pour in the rest of the nut meal, forming a dough. Shape one-tablespoon bits of the dough into balls. Set the balls on parchment paper, and then place in the freezer. While they chill, melt a dairy-free chocolate bar and stir in some coconut oil.

Dip the truffles into the chocolate and place them back on the parchment paper. Top with crushed pecans, sea salt and cacao nibs. Allow the truffles to set at room temperature before serving.

Valentine’s Day is a fantastic time to make a new dessert or two. For culinary academy students, this is a chance to build on their repertoire while sharing the tasty results with a loved one.

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