3 Easy Valentine's Day Desserts That Aren't Mediocre
Ah yes, it is February. That wonderful time of the year where winter is still here (and it’s super fucking cold out) but you can kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel. Life seems simple — and then oh shit — it’s Valentine's Day. Not only is it Valentine’s Day, but you totally forgot to make a reservation at that fancy Italian restaurant. And good luck getting one now. So what do you do? Cook a meal together for dinner and show that you care with a homemade dessert. Sure, you could just go to the supermarket and buy some chocolatey monstrosity and call it good enough. But if you really want to impress, put on your apron and let’s start baking!
Single? Treat yo’ self. You deserve it.
Better Than Average Chocolate Chip Cookies 🍪
Pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough has its place — but not today. On the day of love, choose to make Binging with Babish’s chocolate chip cookies! Don’t waste your time by using Chipits, splurge on some high quality chocolate chips — we used Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate. These cookies take a bit more time and effort because you have to brown and then cool the butter, but it’s so worth it!
227g unsalted butter
100g white sugar
330g brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract*
½ tsp salt**
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp cinnamon
1 bag of high quality chocolate chips
Flaky sea salt
*This is a deviation from Babish’s recipe. He doesn’t include vanilla, but every chocolate chip cookie that we’ve ever made has has vanilla, so we decided to add some.
**If you don’t have unsalted butter and are using salted butter, don’t add any more salt to the cookie dough. Babish also calls for ¾ tsp of salt, which we think is waaaay too much.
The key to this recipe is the brown butter! Start by putting the butter into a cold pan. Turn the heat up to medium high and wait until it’s all melted — soon the butter will begin to bubble and make some noise. When it’s no longer making noise, take it off the heat and transfer to a bowl or measuring cup. That’s all that there is to making brown butter. Just make sure that you take the pan off the heat immediately when the butter stops making noise, or else you’ll burn your butter, and burnt butter is not going to win you any points with your bae (we cringed writing that sentence). Throw it in the fridge (or freezer if your bowl/measuring cup is made of a strong glass *cough* Pyrex *cough*) to let it solidify before using it.
🍪 Mediocre Tip: Bubbling butter is super fucking hot. Be very careful when handling it!
The next step is to cream together your wet ingredients. Add your browned butter, white and brown sugar, and vanilla together in a bowl and mix with either a hand mixer or a whisk (or a stand mixer if you’re rich and have your life together). Once everything is nicely incorporated, add the two eggs and combine until it’s nice and creamy.
Next, add the flour, ½ tsp of salt, baking soda, and cinnamon together in a separate bowl and mix all that together so all the dry ingredients are uniformly distributed. Add half the dry stuff to the wet stuff and combine. Then add the other half of the dry stuff and mix until that’s incorporated. The final step is to mix in your chocolate chips.
This is the point where we disagree with Papa Babish. He says that you should throw the covered cookie dough in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to two days. Our main problem with aging cookie dough is: WHO THE HELL HAS THAT KIND OF SELF RESTRAINT?! Fact: cookie dough is delicious. We have literally bought/made cookie dough before just so we can eat it raw. How are we supposed to make this wonderful ball of sweet chocolatey goodness and not touch it for two days? If you want to age your cookie dough, go ahead, be our guests. We managed to age it for a whopping 15 minutes before deciding to just bake the damn things.
After exercising some self-control and not eating all of the cookie dough, form multiple balls of cookie dough and put them on a baking sheet. Squish the dough a bit and sprinkle some flaky sea salt on top — don’t skip this step! How long you cook them depends on your cookie size. Babish’s recipe says to bake at 350°F for 12-17 minutes, but his cookies were enormous. Our cookies were a lot smaller, so we baked ours for about 10 minutes and they turned out just right.
🍪 Mediocre Tip: Remember that the cookies will continue to cook slightly after you’ve taken them out of the oven. So aim for slightly underdone, and they should set perfectly.
The Best Brownies You’ll Ever Have 🍫
Forget boxed brownie mix! You’ll never get the girl with the boxed stuff. Instead, make Jamie Oliver’s bloomin’ brilliant brownies. Once you have these brownies, boxed brownies will be ruined (#sorrynotsorry).
170g dark chocolate (70%)*
250g salted butter
80g cocoa powder
360g powdered sugar
1 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
chopped nuts, optional
*Jamie uses 200g dark chocolate, but Baker’s chocolate comes in a 170g box. If you have some chocolate chips, feel free to throw them in to make up the difference, but it tastes great with 170g too!
The first thing that you’re going to want to do is to melt your chocolate and your butter. The recipe asks that you do this over a double boiler. If you don’t have the patience to watch chocolate and butter slowly melt, then feel free to microwave everything in a microwave safe bowl. But be careful not to burn the chocolate (or butter for that matter) — microwave for short periods (20-30 seconds) a few times to get everything melted but not burnt.
In another bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder with a fine mesh strainer. This will help to get rid of lumps and results in a much more smooth brownie batter!
Once sifted, add the powdered sugar and the baking powder and mix everything together. Lastly, whisk your eggs before adding them to the batter. You’ll know when it’s done, just trust your heart. (But also it should be shiny and thick.)
🍫 Side Note: Always taste your recipes to make sure things are tasting the way they should! If you ever feel like something is off, you should question it, and not just blindly continue. For example, we forgot to add the sugar to our brownie mixture. When tasting the batter, we thought it was a little flat and tasted bitter — we did not immediately clue in that we had forgotten the sugar. We only realized that the batter was missing sugar when we had placed the brownies in the oven, shut the door, turned around, and saw the big bowl of sugar staring back at us. (Luckily it was salvagable — we just had to pour the batter back into the bowl and combine.)
Pour the brownie batter into a greased 9x9 baking tin and throw it in an oven that’s been preheated to 350°F. We found that at 25 minutes our brownies were still too under-cooked — our brownies jiggled way too much in the centre. 35 minutes was the magic number for us and resulted in moist and chewy brownies!
Simple Strawberry Tarts 🍓
If your valentine doesn’t like chocolate (yes, those people exist), make Laura Vitale’s strawberry pie! Crunched for time? It’s okay to buy a frozen pie crust from the store— it’s the thought that counts.
5 cups of strawberries, cut in half*
1 cup of water
½ cup white sugar
1 3oz package of strawberry Jello
1 frozen pie crust or 12 mini tarts
whipped cream, optional**
*Are strawberries not in season or they cost a fortune? Check out the freezer aisle and buy a bag of frozen strawberries! You can buy them pre-cut, which also saves time.
**This pie is so good on its own, the whipped cream is just a bonus.
If you’ve decided to go all out and make your own pie dough, make it first so it has time to chill. If baking pre-made pie crust or tarts, preheat your oven and follow the baking instructions on the box — with this recipe you don’t bake the filling.
To make the filling, add the water, cornstarch, and sugar to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. DO NOT add the cornstarch when the water is boiling, or you’ll end up with clumps of cornstarch in water. Add everything at once and stir, stir, stir until the thick mixture is no longer cloudy. Remove from heat and mix in your strawberry Jello packet.
Then all you have to do is mix your strawberries into the Jello, and fill your cooled pie/tart crusts! Boom. Super simple, super delicious. Thanks, Laura!
These tarts need a few hours to set, so make them the night before Valentine’s Day so you can focus on enjoying the evening with your loved one.
So there you have it — three desserts to impress your date with on Valentine’s day. Giving the gift of baked goods is the best gift!
Did you majorly fuck up and forget a Valentine’s Day card too? We got you covered with these gems: