February 9, 2018
When we were kids collecting Valentines in pink and red-decorated envelopes at our desks, the handmade ones were the best ones. You could see who had the best art skills, admire the nicest handwriting, and swoon over a message from that secret someone you had a crush on. There’s something about handwritten or handmade gifts; they’re memorable, and they just seem to say ‘I care’ much more so than store bought.
The same holds true for a Valentines’s meal; you could go out and have a fine chef make you something fancy, but a special treat cooked at home often has more meaning. Save the Best for Last - Valentine’s Dessert.
Even if you might choose to have dinner out, consider having dessert at home. Making something fun and Valentine-y doesn’t have to be hard, and often it can be made ahead, so all you need to do is break out the liqueur after dinner and cut a slice of something decadent.
For special occasions, it’s nice to play up the theme of a holiday, and for St. Valentine’s Day, that means, pink, red, sparkly, and heart-shaped. Fortunately we’ve got a few dessert options that cover most of these bases.
A classic dessert for a reason, this simple yet flavourful dessert combines rich red cherries with decadent vanilla ice cream and the sweet tang of liqueur in a light sauce. By adding the liqueur at the end of the cooking process, you can also flambé the dish, giving it some major oomph when it comes to presentation.
Choose canned or jarred black cherries for the best flavour and try to get pitted fruit to save yourself some work. To further simplify the dish, buy a pint of premium almost-like-scratch vanilla ice cream, like Fiasco Gelato or Breyers, available in Calgary-area Co-op stores freezer sections.
Pink Nanaimo Bars
Nanaimo bars combine a creamy filling and a thick chocolatey crust with a layer of chocolate ganache and the squares are a staple in many Canadian recipe boxes. Even so, there are a couple of ways to make them special for a holiday like Valentine’s day, or even for a birthday or anniversary.
Start by adding a few drops of food colouring to the filling to tint it, as this recipe from
My Baking Addiction suggests you can adjust the colour from rose to ruby as you like. The colour hint does nothing to change the flavour, but gives it a fresh new look for your special occasion.
If you have a heart cookie or biscuit cutter on hand, you can also cut shaped bars that look gorgeous on a plate. Just remember to line your baking pan with parchment so you can easily lift the bars out, and cut them on a flat surface.
Molten Lava Cake
These cakes may seem intimidating, but they’re actually easy to do and truly spectacular to serve. With a warm and melty flowing centre ringed by fresh baked chocolate cake this is the dessert to pick for chocoholics.
There are a few different ways to make lava cakes; one is to underbake them slightly, resulting in a centre that’s unset. The other is to place a dollop of cooled or frozen chocolate ganache in a ramekin that’s been half-filled with cake batter, then to cover it over with more batter and bake. This results in a fully baked cake but a centre that’s gooey and rich. I’ve had the best luck with the latter method, so that’s the recipe I’m sharing today.
Whatever your Valentine likes for dessert, whether it’s chocolate, fruit, sweet or tart, something homemade is a sweet way to say you care.
Gareth Lukes and Eric Hendry have a bone to pick with store-bought pasta sauces that are supposed to be convenience items.
What’s for dinner? Skinless, boneless chicken thighs make a great starting point, with so many possibilities.
The sausage roll. That staple of holiday parties and chilly winter nights.