5 Ways to Eat Chocolate for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on Valentine's Day
Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year — which means if you haven’t made a dinner reservation by now, you’re pretty much screwed. But fret not: A homemade candlelit meal is always more intimate than the prix-fixe menus and forced romance served at neighborhood restaurants. And since it’s a weekend day, you’ll have plenty of time to prep, whether it be for breakfast in bed, a lingering brunch or a multicourse dinner extravaganza.
Chocolate shares equal billing on Valentine’s Day with red roses, but most often rolled into truffles or tucked into assorted boxes of candy. But why wait till dessert (or, err, whatever time of day you happen to open your gifted sweets) to indulge in the heavenly ingredient? Incorporate chocolate into your celebratory meal — breakfast, lunch or dinner — to infuse your dishes with either sweetness or bitterness, complexity and subtle spice.
Kick-start your day with endorphin-boosting Chocolate Waffles (shown above). Mixing chocolate syrup into the waffle batter ensures consistent cocoa flavor without compromising the texture of the breakfast treats. Top them with additional chocolate syrup and red berries to give them that Valentine’s vibe.
For a light midday meal (those Chocolate Waffles are filling, after all), top a refreshing salad with a chocolate-infused dressing. In this Crunchy Salad with Cocoa Vinaigrette, the cocoa powder adds subtle depth to the dressing that nicely complements the peppery arugula and slices of Parmesan.
Dinner presents multiple chocolate-spiked options, including a classic mole dish. In true Mexican tradition, this Chicken Mole begins with two types of chile peppers, is enhanced by a bevy of fragrant spices and is then finished with Mexican chocolate, which melts into the dish as the sauce is reduced, adding mildly bitter flavor that counteracts the spice.
Cocoa is often paired with steak for the same reason it’s used in mole: It complements the rich flavor of the fatty meat with its mildly bitter notes. This Cocoa-Rubbed Steak with Bacon-Whiskey Gravy packs a little heat, too, thanks to cayenne pepper in the rub.
While this last dish might technically be considered dessert, it’s pasta ( Chocolate Pasta, that is) — so we won’t tell if you eat it for dinner. Add both cocoa powder and chocolate syrup to a homemade pasta dough to create these ribbons of chocolate noodles. Toss the pasta with a chocolate-hazelnut sauce, add berries and a dollop of creme fraiche for tart contrast, and grate white chocolate over the top for a final flurry of sweetness.
Get even more recipes and ideas for Valentine's Day here.