Introduction: Chocolate Valentines

This Valentine's day I made some chocolate heart shaped candies to share with my family and friends. It was a simple and delicious way to celebrate the holiday!

All you need is:

A candy mold: I suggest a silicone ice cube tray
Chocolate Chips: The better the chips, the better the chocolates
Additions to the chocolates: Marshmallows, potato chips, chili powder if its dark chocolate, crushed almonds, peanut butter, coconut shavings, cereal such as rice crispies, another kind of chocolate, jelly etc.
Toppings for the chocolates: Sprinkles, smaller candies, nuts, or cocoa powder

Step 1: Melting the Chocolate

Double boiler: If you don't have one of these I suggest:
1) Fill up a saucepan with about 2 inches or more of water.
2) Put a metal mixing bowl on top of the saucepan but do not allow the water to touch the bowl.
3) Next put the chocolate chips in the mixing bowl and mix constantly, do not allow the chocolate to burn.

In a microwave:
1) Use a microwave safe bowl for this part
2) Add one layer of chocolate chips of your choosing to the bowl and microwave for 30 second increments. Mix after each session to see if it is fluid.
3) After each microwaving session, mix the chips, sometimes they will just melt when exposed to a different part of the bowl.

* Every microwave works differently but the melting process will vary so this may take a few tries before perfection. In my microwave it took 2 30 second sessions for one layer of chocolate chips. Be careful not to burn them, and keep in mind that different chocolates will melt differently*

Step 2: Molding the Chocolates

Now that your chocolate is melted, you can pour it into your molds (or ice cube tray)
This is a good time to chop up any other ingredients that you will want to add to your chocolates.

Here are some suggestions of chocolates to make before you add them to the mold:
(All recipes are for an estimated 1/4-1/3 cup of chocolate chips

Almond Clusters: Chop up very finely (crush even) about 1/4 of a cup of almonds for every 1/3 cup melted chocolate chips and mix
Coconut Clusters: Mix melted chocolate chips with coconut flakes, you can also put an almond (whole or half) on top for aesthetic reasons (Remember if you want something on top of your chocolate, you might want it to be the first thing you put in the mold depending on the size of it)
Peppermint Hearts: Add 1 tsp. of peppermint extract to your melted chocolate chips
Orange Hearts: Add 1 tsp. of orange extract to your melted chocolate chips
Peanut Cluster: Chop about 1/4 cup of peanuts for every 1/3 cup melted chocolate chips and mix

Always experiment! If worst comes to worst, you can eat the misfits :)

Step 3: Toppings!

Be creative! Add whatever you want to the top of your chocolates

Sprinkles, nuts, candy covered chocolates, etc.

You can foreshadow what kind of flavor the chocolate will be by adding different toppings for different chocolate types.

You can fill up a quart size plastic bag with some melted chocolate and then cut a hole in one of the corners to create a patter on top of your chocolate like, zigzags, hatched marks, polka dots, and anything you can think of, you can even spell something out with multiple chocolates

*** Do not refrigerate or freeze your chocolates!! They will discolor due to an increased rate of oxidation, and although they will not taste any different, they will look less desirable (to some)  room temperature is the longer way, but the prettier way ***

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