Preparing Valentine’s Day dinner at home is a cozy and romantic way to celebrate the holiday of love. In the spirit of Feb. 14, a sweet treat following the main course is a must. You can be prepared to make a tempting dessert with the guidance of BestReviews baking expert Andrea Boudewijn. As a Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef, she offered pro-level tips about what it takes to make Valentine's Day desserts that are as special as they are delicious.
Most days of the year, any dessert will do. Boudewijn said that Valentine’s Day is a holiday when you want to indulge in something special.
"I love to make something rich and sumptuous, something sexy. If I'm not making my honey's favorite dessert, I lean toward chocolate," she said, adding that she loves a warm five-nut brownie made with coconut oil for a little flavor flair topped with homemade ice cream.
Boudewijn has another dessert choice that's unique and great for Valentine's Day. "It’s the American version of the famous French dessert, the Opera Cake. This involves baking an almond cake, soaking it with dark rum simple syrup, and layering it with ganache and French mocha buttercream in between. Stunning," she said.
Do you want to take your Valentine’s Day desserts to the next level? Boudewijn recommended some simple yet elegant ways to make your sweet delicacies stand out:
Boudewijn included a recipe for a simple syrup that will make an excellent addition to your special desserts for Valentine’s Day and beyond.
"Simple syrup can be used over a bowl of ice cream, to soak a cake, to glaze a pie or brownies or even just as a decoration on the plate under a slice of something amazing," she said.
Simple syrup (rum, Grand Marnier and rye variations)
Place sugar and water and bring just to a boil. Take it off the heat, cool and store it in the freezer.
When you want to mix flavor into your simple syrup, blend 5 ounces of simple syrup with 1 ounce of the alcohol. Don't add more alcohol than that or it will create a bitter, overpowering flavor of alcohol and will cause you to lose the delicate sweetness of your dessert. If you need more simple syrup than that, double or triple your amounts.
Boudewijn recommended a comprehensive cake decorating kit for creating beautiful cakes for your Valentine's Day dessert. We love this one by Wilton for its 55 well-made pieces that can be cleaned in the dishwasher.
If you want to serve chocolatey goodness this Valentine's Day, you need a brownie pan. It's the unique maze pattern of this pan that ensures your brownies will have nice crispy edges. They'll also slide off the nonstick surface with ease.
If you want a tool that makes it possible to mix dessert ingredients to perfection, you need one of the best stand mixers. "To make everything sweet and savory with the perfect consistency, use a KitchenAid," advised Boudewijn.
Boudewijn said there is a simple way to make a cake extra special for your Valentine. "Chocolates are never a bad idea, and Godiva is the best. Place some of these chocolates on or around the sides of a special cake."
If you want to make a cake with the colors of Valentine's Day, this food color set includes 12 colors that will bring out your culinary creativity. Boudewijn said the right colors can be used to create a beautiful red velvet Valentine's Day cake.
Chocolate-covered strawberries are a classic Valentine's Day treat. You can make your own at home when you have a chocolate fountain that turns chocolate into a dippable delicacy.
"If you're baking a personal cake for the two of you, Parrish's is the best brand out there. Consider getting a 6-inch round for two people, or this 8-inch round model if you want leftover cake," Boudewijn said.
Don't forget the silicone spatulas for stirring, spreading, serving and more. This set includes four spatulas in two sizes for a variety of needs.
For an extra-special treat, Boudewijn recommended investing in an ice cream maker, "If you're feeling ambitious, try making your own specialty ice cream just for your valentine," she said.
Prices listed reflect time and date of publication and are subject to change.