Something sweet for Valentine’s Day

If you’re planning a special meal for the one you love on Valentine’s Day, these super-easy puddings will draw gasps of admiration, yet they’re (almost) foolproof to make. Even better, you can make them the day before so that you can concentrate on creating the right romantic atmosphere rather than slaving over a hot egg whisk. Here’s what to do:

Quick and easy rich chocolate mousse

For two people, you’ll need:

  • 120g good quality dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids. It’s worth buying the best you can find.
  • 2 eggs
  • tablespoon of brandy, Cointreau or orange flavouring (optional)
If possible, take the eggs out of the fridge half an hour before you want to use them, to let them come up to room temperature. This gives greater volume when you beat them.
Carefully separate the eggs, putting the whites and yolks into separate bowls. Set aside.

Break the chocolate into small pieces, and put it in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds on a low power setting, then remove and stir. Continue to microwave the bowl in 30-second burst until the chocolate is fully melted. Add the brandy or flavouring if using, and mix until fully combined. Let the mixture cool a bit, then beat in the egg yolks.

Using an egg whisk or food mixer, beat the egg whites until really stiff (they should stand up in peaks). Using a metal spoon, carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, trying to keep as much volume as possible. Spoon the mixture into two glasses or dishes, and leave in the fridge to set for at least half an hour. Decorate with cream or chocolate shavings.

For serving in style, we love these Katie Alice ramekins, £10 for a set of two from the English Table.

Katie Alice ramekins

Accessorise your perfect pudding with this cute heart-topped spoons, which are the ideal size to complement the dish. £17.99 for a set of four, available from My Gift Tree.

Heart-topped teaspoons

Heart-shaped shortbread biscuits

For a few extra brownie points, serve these biscuits with the mousse or with coffee afterwards. In addition to a heart-shaped biscuit cutter, to make four to eight biscuits depending on size you’ll need:

  • 125g butter (not margerine)
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 180g plain flour
If possible, leave the butter at room temperature for half an hour to soften. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees celsius.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together, then add in the flour, working it in until completely combined (you may have to use your fingers for this bit). Turn the dough onto a floured surface, and roll it out to about 0.5cm thick.

Using the heart-shaped cutter, cut into biscuits and carefully transfer to a greased baking tray. Bake for around 15 minutes until the biscuits are tinged a very pale golden colour, no darker.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then sprinkle with icing sugar before serving. Alternatively, decorate with drizzles of white and dark chocolate. These can be made three or four days in advance and stored in an airtight container until needed – don’t forget to hide them, though!

Cookie cutters

For perfect results, we love these heart-shaped cutters, £4.99 for the set from the Oak Room. Made from stainless steel with a moulded red top to protect your fingers, they’ll last for years to come.

For maximum impact, arrange your biscuits on this beautiful cake stand, designed by Ukrainian designer Nina Jarema. Available from Cloth Ears, priced at £24.99.

Nina Jarema cake stand

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