Big bouquets of flowers, thoughtful gifts, and handwritten cards with heartfelt messages are all good ways to show your affection on Valentine’s Day, but there’s something even better than sentiments (and more reasonably priced than diamonds): chocolate. More than 58 million pounds will be sold during Valentine’s week alone. Whether it’s a box of hand-crafted truffles or a rich, frosted triple-chocolate cake, who can say no to this indulgent aphrodisiac?xocolatl (or “bitter water”) was used in everyday life as well for ceremonial purposes. The Spanish conquistadors learned about chocolate from these Mesoamerican cultures and brought it back to Spain. By the mid-1600s, France and England were drinking chocolate as well. It wasn’t until the end of the nineteenth century, though, that chocolate started to resemble the bars with which we are familiar today; Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter (with help from his neighbor Henri Nestlé) added milk to “eating chocolate,” dramatically increasing its popularity.
Today, most chocolate is identified by the amount of cacao that it contains. Dark chocolates have a higher percentage of cacao solids (which means they have less sugar and dairy added), making them intensely flavored and not very sweet. Milk chocolates contain less cacao bean ingredients by weight than dark chocolates do and, as a result, have more added sugar and dairy products. White chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa solids at all; white “chocolate” is a mix of cocoa butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla.
With a chocolate for every taste and a recipe for every skill level, these decadent desserts are sure to make your valentine swoon. So, before you order another bouquet of red roses, consider making one of these delicious desserts for Valentine’s Day.
Baked Chocolate Alaska
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.