Intro: Anatomical Chocolate Hearts (Your Unique Valentine, Pt. 2)
Problem: Boring, inaccurate chocolate Valentine's hearts.
Solution: Anatomical handmade chocolate Valentine's hearts!
(possible side effect: appetite loss)
Step 1: Get Your Stuffs
Melting chocolate, chocolate chips, chocolate bars, or some other kind of melt-able chocolate.
Peanut butter chips
Other truffle-like fillings
Human Heart mold
A double boiler (or two pots of different sizes)
anatomical heart-shaped box
Some things to note:
-If you have a double boiler, great. If not, you can put an inch or two of water in a pot, put some jar rings in the bottom, and the put another smaller pot inside the first pot.
-Some confectionery companies (such as Welton) make candy-making chips just for this very purpose. I haven't used them, but I suspect they are easier to work with but don't taste quite as good as high quality chocolate
-A google search of "human heart candy mold" will return a couple retailers who will sell you this obscure item. I purchased mine through a large website named after an even larger South American river basin. There are also brains, ears, skulls, fingers, and rats. You can also make your own mold.
Step 2: Melt Your Chocolate
Assemble your double boiler, real or improvised and put it on medium heat on your stovetop. The water should heat up and simmer, but don't let it boil hard or water could get into your second pot.
After five or ten minutes, place a couple of chocolate chips (or whatever you're using) to see if they melt. They should start melting right away. If they don't, wait another couple minutes.
Place the rest of your chocolate into the pot. Wait one or two minutes. When the chips become shiny they are probably ready even though they may have kept their shape. Stir them a little to turn the chocolate into a paste.
Step 3: Put Chocolate Into the Mold
Spoon the chocolate into your heart mold until it is full.
Spread a square of wax paper onto the back. It will stick now, but when the chocolates are cooled and hardened it will peel right off.
Place mold in the freezer for 15 minutes.
My Valentine is not huge chocolate fan but she likes white chocolate and loves Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I used this great instructable to make some. However I used about three times as much powdered sugar in my peanut butter mixture (yeah, I know!) and used white chocolate and milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate (even though I myself prefer dark chocolate).
An easier way to change up your hearts is to just add nuts or dried fruit to the chocolate as you spoon it into the mold.
Add chopped maraschino cherries to make the heart softer and more heart-like.
I dyed one of the white chocolate hearts red by mixing cake decorator's food coloring into the white chocolate while it was still in the double boiler. The food coloring seemed to harden the chocolate a little but in the end it turned out alright.
If you bought lollipop sticks, its easy to stick them into the chocolate before it hardens. This doesn't work so well if you made peanut butter hearts.
In addition to chocolate chips and white chocolate chips there are peanut butter chips, toffee chips, and butterscotch chips in the baking aisle at the grocery store.
You can also make gummy hearts. Just use this instructable but substitute your heart mold for the baking dish.
Sugar candy hearts
Step 4: Remove the Chocolate From the Molds
Once your chocolates have hardened, take the mold out of the freezer.
Turn it upside down over a plate and flex the mold gently back and forth until the chocolates fall out.
Trim the extra chocolate off the edges using a butter knife. If you like, you can heat the knife in warm water and then dry it before using it to trim so that the warm metal will melt thru the chocolate and smooth it down as you go.
Step 5: Present!
Sure, you could dump these into a ziplock bag and brashly thrust them into the palm of your significant other (you Philistine!), but after all this work, why not put some more effort into presentation?
Of course, my favorite idea is to make an anatomical heart-shaped box, but here are some other ideas:
-Make a traditional heart-shaped box, thus catching your Valentine off guard when he/she opens it to find real hearts. (There is additional comic potential here if the shock causes a heart attack. Imagine the irony.)
-Wrap them in red tin foil, which makes them look like roses until they are unwrapped to unveil A HIDEOUS HEART!
-Make a book safe or a better book safe out of your favorite heart-themed book. The obvious choice here is The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe. Its not really long enough to make a decent book safe out of, so maybe The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writings is a better choice. If you made dark chocolates, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad might be more appropriate (again, not really long enough, so look for a compilation). The Silence of the Lambs novel or any of its sequels could work too. If you make LOTS of hearts, some anatomy textbook could probably accommodate as many chocolates as you're willing to make. An antique medical textbook (ubiquitous in antique stores) would be even cooler. Put the hearts in the hollow of the book safe and wrap it like a present.
Happy Valentine's Day!