Open a book like Valerie Gordon’s Sweet (Artisan 2013) and read the motto of Valerie Confections: “For gifts and personal indulgence” and you know you’ve come to the right place for Valentine’s Day inspiration.
If your heart (excuse the pun) is set on filling a box with chocolates you’ve made yourself, then turn to the chapter entitled: Box. First Valerie instructs you on how to temper chocolate, making your own Bittersweet, Milk or White, or Dark Milk Chocolate variations and then takes you through how to make chocolates. What about a fancy box of red peppermint candy topped Peppermint Bark (p. 181) or Single-Malt Scotch Truffles (p. 198) to pair with your favorite tipple?
Finally, if your aim is not to weigh your love down, try Chocolate Marshmallows (p. 211) – they are easy and quick to make, but give yourself a few hours to let the marshmallows set.
But what if your special someone isn’t fond of chocolate? Then Sweet will serve you well. Choose the Valentine’s Pie (p. 143) with a cut out of a heart covering a filling of rhubarb, strawberry, and raspberry. You could try Salted Caramel Pudding Parfaits (p. 233) rich with cream and topped with a caramel sauce. Or you could go with winter fruit, and bake up The Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake (p. 41) with a cream cheese frosting.
Sweet has luscious photographs by Peden +Munk that will inspire you to spend some time in the kitchen before someone arrives with that bouquet (hint, hint).