It’s not that I’m not crazy about Valentine’s Day – it’s just that I’m not crazy about those overbearingly coochy-cooey, soppy sappy couples who suddenly feel the need to out-PDA each other, and then try to sell you the idea that you cannot possibly be single on Valentine’s Day and live to tell the tale.
The thought of having to put on my faux-gleeful face when presented with one of those acetate cones containing a plastic rose and a little white bear wearing a red bowtie – blegh.
I got this idea for chocolate Valentine’s pinatas from the movie Valentine’s Day. Remember the part at the end where Jennifer Garner has just delivered her best performance EVER (when she’s the waitress for the cheating McDreamy – the pork dish description is legendary) and marches into the Indian restaurant and beats the bejeezus out of the pink heart-shaped pinata? Yes, I got the idea from that bit of the movie. Making an actual life-sized pinata out of chocolate seemed to me a potentially messy operation so I scaled it down some, and replaced the baseball bat with a hammer. It doesn’t make it any less satisfying to smash the heart to pieces, and once you’ve finished unleashing your anti-Cupid wrath on the heart you get to eat it all up including the yumminess within.
This is where you can really get creative, and personalise the contents. I made one with white chocolate-coated toasted almonds (these were quite big though, and only 3 fit comfortably – which seems a little stingy to a greedyguts like me). Then there was another containing chocolate-coated strawberry-milkshake flavoured sweeties. And then a third for those nauseatingly health-conscious types who will exclaim with false joy on receipt of the gift only to pull a face and slip it into the nearest potplant when you turn your back – 70% dark chocolate heart containing toasted almonds and dried cherries. I didn’t have anyone to test my other option on. Well maybe I did but then they would read this and know it was done on purpose. If you absolutely hate someone’s guts and hope to spoil their Valentine’s Day might I make a wee suggestion to fill the heart with something slightly unsavoury. Nothing dangerous or illegal, mind. I’m thinking more along the lines of – no, actually all the things I was thinking of probably are dangerous or illegal (chopped raw liver; a dust bunny fresh from under the couch; there were worse ones but I would probably get into some kind of trouble for publishing them) (you can call me if you think you need to use one of the worse ones).
Anyway, back to the good hearts – they are lots of fun. I know this because I made someone test a prototype out this morning so that I could post this before Valentine’s Day proper. There’s nothing quite like being able to conclude business by saying, with a huge smile on your face, “Thank you for taking the time to break my heart”. 🙂
Remember that presentation is everything, so line a gift box with something pretty and Valentine’s-y, decorate it with a nice label and a suitable message (I kept mine succint – “Valentine Shmalentine”), and then go to town with ribbons and all the fluffy bits of schmaltz that is Valentine’s Day.
For one chocolate heart:
Lots of chocolate. I’m guessing 100g for the heart – but have extra on hand because you will be snacking throughout. Pink baking chocolate and a nice snappy 70% dark chocolate worked for me.
More dark chocolate – for the hammer.
Filler – such as jellybeans or chocolate buttons or nuts or toenail clippings. (I’m KIDDING!!).
Heart-shaped chocolate moulds – I like the silicone cupcake ones because they are dual-purpose.
Heart-shaped cookie cutter, similar size as the mould base.
Hammer/tool chocolate mould – mine came with actual chocolates in it, it was a Father’s Day chocolate gift pack. I bought it just for the mould.
Okay – break up the chocolate for the heart into little pieces and put these into a microwave-safe bowl. CAREFULLY melt the chocolate at about 60% power – after 30 seconds, check every 10 seconds and shove the pieces around with a spoon. Remove from the microwave while there are still a few blobs remaining and keep stirring – burnt chocolate is never fun (but it’s not bad to eat, kind of fudge-like. In case it does burn, don’t be too miserable, just eat it). Spoon a little into the moulds and use a food-safe brush to mush it around the heart shape. Spread a tablespoonful onto greaseproof paper or a silicone mat and while the chocolate is still partially set press the cookie cutter into it.
Pour the chocolate for the hammer into the mould to the top, then tap it a few times to remove any air bubbles hiding down at the bottom.
The heart shape will most likely require a second coat – especially for the point of the heart and in the dink, as these were most likely to break when unmoulding impatiently. Chocolate does not like to be rushed.
I left the components to chillax overnight before assembling but this is not strictly necessary. Place a few of the filling materials into the heart shape (don’t pack it too much, as it shouldn’t be so heavy that it breaks the heart or doesn’t make a nice rattling noise) then carefully attach the “lid” with a little melted chocolate along the perimeter. Allow to set before placing it into the gift box with the hammer. If you like, you can spread a tiny bit of melted chocolate onto the heart and sprinkle embellishments onto the chocolate before it sets.
Some recipients will laugh. Some may cry. Everyone will LOVE being able to smash a heart to pieces.