Can you smell it? Try again! I know you can, but maybe you’ve just got used to it as it’s been here for some days already: LOVE. Oh, yes, you’ve heard me right. In case you didn’t realise, Valentine’s is coming in less than a week now. And if you are alone, it’s time to worry – you cannot spend one more Valentine’s alone. Again! If you are with someone, it’s time to worry – you really want to make sure that they do still love you as much as they did in the first day. As it’s said, the path to someone’s heart is through their stomach, so you can make sure that the love of your life (this week) will know how much you love her/him by sharing some sweets. And because we are in the food section here, it’s easy to imagine that I don’t propose you to go and buy some fancy over-priced chocolates, but to bake your love and sweat (maybe less sweat, more love) into something special.

Chocolate truffles

This year was the first I’ve ever tried to make such things and I loved them! I mean, everybody loved them – so much that there was none left after two hours. Easy to make and very effective.

Ingredients - 3 cups high quality chocolate (preferably chips so you don’t have to chop it) - 1 cup heavy whipping cream - 1 tsp vanilla extract - ½ tsp cinnamon - cocoa powder – again, look for something that is higher quality, not cheaper Melt the chocolate for a couple minutes. Keep in mind that you don’t have to completely melt it, but to soften it a bit. At the same time, heat the cream to a simmer. Add the vanilla and cinnamon. If you feel like it, you can add some other flavours – mint, rum – but keep in mind that you cannot mix everything so you might need to prepare different batches for different flavours. On the top of chocolate, add the heavy cream and stir until smooth. Let it cool a bit and then refrigerate it for two hours.

Take the mixture out and, using a teaspoon, roll out little balls of chocolate. Roll them in the cocoa powder and place on baking paper – or any other kind of non-sticky paper. Place in the refrigerator overnight. At this point, you might have to watch over it for the whole night so you can make sure that they’ll still be there in the morning.

Also, keep in mind that you can also roll them in chopped nuts or anything else, really. Maybe you’d fancy some pink decorations you find everywhere this time of the year. Just don’t overdo it! Simple is better in this case.

Now, go and impress them!

Chocolate muffins

As expected, this is a bit more complicated recipe, but overall, it’s faster as it doesn’t require any sitting and refrigerating. In the same time, it has plenty of opportunities for you to fuck up. But hey, at least, you’ve tried! Don’t be intimidated by a couple of possible mistakes. I think I’ve baked over 100 muffins in my life (if you do some math, you’ll see that this is not that much, but… I try to impress you, pretentious reader!) and I still have times when they are just ‘OK’, not ‘perfect’.

Ingredients - 6 tbsp melted unsalted butter - 1 cup chocolate (chips or chopped) - 2 cups flour - 1 cup sugar - 2 eggs - 1 tsp baking powder - 1 tsp baking soda - 13 cup cocoa powder - Nutella - ½ tsp salt - 1 cup butter milk - 13 cup chocolate chips - 1 tsp cinnamon Preheat the oven to 175ºC and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Make sure that you have plenty of time and a lot of bowls – I personally always use ten too many bowls.

Melt the butter and 1 cup of chocolate in bowl over a saucepan of simmering water – this is how a real chef would do, but if you feel that’s too complicated, use the always-there-when-you-need-it microwave. Stir from time to time until completely melted and smooth.

For the first step you’ll need a rather large bowl. Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and soda – you may wonder why you need them both; you should go and do some research, that’s why you are an Imperial student – salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and the butter milk until well combined. Add the melted chocolate and butter and mix until smooth.

Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ones and mix with a spatula. Make sure that all the ingredients are well incorporated. Add the rest of the chocolate chips and make sure that the mixture is homogeneous, but do not over mix the batter.

Divide the mixture equally in the muffin cups. Put a tsp of the batter, add a tsp of Nutella and then cover with more batter.

Bake for 15-20 minutes.

And now, feel guilty every time you have a bite of one of these definitely-too-much-chocolate muffins, but tell yourself that you’ll find your true love despite those stomach rolls – yes, I can see them from over here.

P.S. Try the Callebaut 70.4% chocolate