Nothing says “love” quite like chocolate. And no other ingredient gets my girls more excited about helping in the kitchen. At our house, chocolate has been part of the Valentine’s Day tradition now for years, as much as card making, roses and dressing up for a “Daddy Daughter” Valentine’s Day dance. So if you’re looking to get into the spirit and you need something to keep the kids occupied for the afternoon – consider these fun and delicious chocolate-themed projects.
Chocolate-covered Pretzel Rods
These salty sweet creations couldn’t be easier. To start, you need a package of pretzel rods. You also need a couple of bars of good melting chocolate, and lastly some fun, festive Valentine sprinkles.
- Two 4 -ounce baking bars of semi-sweet chocolate
- Two 4 -ounce baking bars of white chocolate
- 24 large pretzel rods
- Assorted Valentine sprinkles
Place the semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and the white chocolate in another. Microwave each of the chocolates for 1 and a half minutes at 50 percent power. Continue to stir and microwave at 50 percent power in 30 second increments until chocolate is almost smooth and a few small lumps remain. Remove and gently stir with a rubber spatula.
Dip one pretzel rod into the chocolate; use a spoon or butter knife to spread the chocolate about halfway up the rod. Twist the rod to let the excess chocolate drip off—this is really important and requires some adult patience. Then hold the rod over a piece of wax paper and shake sprinkles on all sides. Place the pretzel on another piece of wax paper to dry. Coat another pretzel with white chocolate and sprinkles. Repeat until you’ve coated all the pretzels, half with semi-sweet chocolate, half with white chocolate, and let them harden completely, about 24 hours.
This treat is so simple, yet so delicious. We only tend to make these around Valentine’s Day and when we do, we realize that we should make them more often.
- 1 pound of strawberries (about 20)-washed and dried well
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chopped
Place the semi-sweet chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second bursts. Stops and stir chocolate after each burst, until it is melted and smooth. Hold your strawberries by the stem and dip into melted chocolate, allowing the excess chocolate to drip off. Placed coated strawberries on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. As you set the berries down, slide them slightly to the side about 1/2 inch to avoid having the chocolate stick to the wax paper when you later go to lift the berry. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes minimum. They will stay fresh if refrigerated for up to 3 days.
Homemade Hot Cocoa with Marshmallow Hearts
This rich and delicious drink from Martha Stewart (marthastewart.com) will make you never want to buy the pre-packaged powdered mix at the store. After an afternoon of skiing, skating, or sledding this is sure to warm up your kids and put a smile on their faces.
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons plus one teaspoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 4 tablespoons finely chopped or shaved semisweet chocolate
- Vegetable oil or cooking spray
- Large marshmallows
Bring the milk, sugar, cocoa, and chocolate to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until chocolate has melted (do not boil). Pour into mugs. Grease a heart-shaped petit four cutter with vegetable oil or cooking spray. Cut several marshmallows in half horizontally, and then press the cutter into the center of each one. Float the marshmallows and cutouts on the top of the hot cocoa.