Mexican Chocolate Valentine's Hearts

Uros Krstic

Photos and Recipe courtesy of Scarletta Bakes

V-Day is coming up, Smarties! Chocolates can be a typical gift, but not when they're handmade with the labor of love. Start melting! Try wrapping them in these red favor boxes for an extra sweet touch. Mexican Chocolate Hearts 12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (You can use chips or baker’s chunks, whichever you prefer.) 1/2 tsp. canela, ground (Ground cinnamon may be substituted.) 2 tbsp. almonds, peeled, blanched, slivered 1/3 c. cacao nibs 1 vanilla bean, whole Please note that you will need a chocolate/candy mold with at least 14- 1 oz. cavities. I opted for Wilton plastic heart molds, but you could really use silicone or plastic molds in any shape and size. To prepare your chocolate, begin by grinding your almond slivers to a fine meal in a spice/coffee grinder. Don’t worry if your meal is uneven with larger pieces remaining – this will add a nice texture to the finished chocolates. Slice open your vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Place the cacao nibs, canela, ground almonds and vanilla seeds into the bowl of a large mortar. Use your pestle to grind the ingredients together into a coarse but uniform meal. The most important thing is that the final product is well-blended. Place the meal into a heat-proof container with a pouring spout. Meanwhile, temper the chocolate in the bowl of a double-boiler. Pour the melted chocolate over the meal and stir until well-blended. Carefully pour the chocolate mixture into the cavities of your mold and smooth the tops of each chocolate. Allow your chocolates to harden before popping them out of the mold. The instructions that accompanied my plastic molds directed me to place them into the freezer for 5 minutes until the bottoms of the cavities appeared frozen, at which point I removed them and popped the chocolates right out – this worked like a charm. Store finished chocolates in an air-tight container for up to a week. YIELD: 12-14 1-2 ounce chocolates
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