I’ve never been a big Valentine’s Day person, and if I’m being honest, I’m not much of a romance person either. Call it being a child of divorce, but I’m way too logical in my relationships and it’s really hard to sweep me off of my feet. So when Valentine’s Day came around 5 years ago and it was the first one Roark and I would be celebrating together, strangely, I got a bit excited.
At that point in our relationship, we were in that phase when you feel the need to one-up each other every holiday. He did a spectacular job for our first Christmas (it didn’t hurt that he bought me one set of presents, and his mom bought another just in case he forgot), so I felt the need to up the ante a bit for Valentine’s Day. It was, and to this day is, my proudest moment in gift giving.
It all went down on the afternoon of February 14, 2008. I cut out of work over my lunch break when I knew Roark would be in class. Heading back to our apartment, I was armed with a bag of handmade Valentines I had crafted the week before with some of my girlfriends. To our cat Gary’s amusement and frustration, I taped each heart to the ceiling, dangling them from pink ribbons that were buckling under the weight of glitter, sparkly pipe cleaners, and glue. As they waved in the wind, his little eyes were going wild. It was like St. Valentine threw up all over our apartment. As a final touch, I put this song on loop, blasting it over our speakers, and went back to work.
I just love surprises; the really good ones where the person is not expecting it and you know they will truly love it. Even now, that Valentine’s Day still goes down in the record book of our relationship as one of the most epic surprises ever. One day, I plan on one-upping myself.
For now though, sweet treats and a heart felt card seem to do the trick. If there were a food that could get you into Roark’s heart, it would be chocolate; so each year I try and make sure he gets a different, homemade variation on the theme. This year it’s Truffles- the dark chocolate kind that are silky and covered in crunchy Hazelnuts. Then there’s the other half of the batch- little spheres covered in dark Cocoa Powder with the goodness of Peanut Butter and Chocolate in the inside.
If you’re thinking your sweetheart might need a special surprise this Valentine’s Day, I’m here to help you out. Just call me Cupid Valentino. Happy Valentine’s Day!
- 8 oz. of Dark Chocolate, something around 60% cocoa
- 1 Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
- ½ Cup of Creamy Peanut Butter
- ⅔ Cup of chopped Hazelnuts
- ¼ Cup of Cocoa Powder
- If your Dark Chocolate is in bar form, chop it up into small, chip size pieces. Place the chocolate in a medium size, heat safe bowl.
- Heat the Heavy Whipping Cream on the stove in a small saucepan bringing it just to a boil. Pour the Cream on top of the Chocolate, but resist the urge to stir it right away! Let the Cream rest on the Chocolate for 5 minutes. The heat will melt the chocolate so you don’t get a grainy ganache.
- After 5 minutes, whip the ganache with a whisk until smooth, making sure to incorporate any chocolate that fell to the bottom of the bowl. Divide the ganache in half, pour each part off into separate bowls. In one bowl, add the Peanut Butter and whisk until smooth. It helps to sometimes heat the Peanut Butter in the microwave so it melts easily into the rest of the ganache. Cover the each ganache with plastic wrap so it lies on top of the mixture, and refrigerate for 4 hours.
- Fill a small bowl with the Hazelnuts and another with the Powdered Cocoa. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place it near the bowls. Remove each ganache from the refrigerator and using a mellon baller, scoop out Truffles. You might need to whack the baller on the countertop or use a spoon to get the Truffle out.
- If your Truffles are uneven, you can roll them in between your palms to even them out. Roll the Peanut Butter Truffles in the Powdered Cocoa and the Dark Chocolate Truffles in the Hazelnuts so the each Truffle is evenly covered. Place the covered Truffles on the baking sheet, filling it up with as many Truffles as you can make.
- Once your ganache is full of holes from scooping Truffles, you can lay the plastic wrap down on top of it and use your hands to push the ganache down making an even surface again. Repeat this process until done.
- After scooping all the Truffles, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, so they harden. They are then ready to enjoy with a loved one. The Truffles will store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.