Valentine’s Day recipes: Delicious desserts to celebrate love

March 20, 2024

Vancouver chefs and restaurant teams share four lovely recipes to whip up on Feb. 14.

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Valentine’s Day has become synonymous with love. And there’s no sweeter way to celebrate the day dedicated to all things ‘mi amor’ than with a delicious, chocolatey dessert. In honour of the slightly saccharine holiday, we asked a few Vancouver chefs and restaurant teams to share four lovely recipes to whip up on Feb. 14.

Chocolate Butter Shortbread

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Recipe by: Chef and owner Steve Hodge of

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2/3 cup  unsalted butter, cold

½ cup  icing sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. Dutch-process cocoa powder

½ tsp. kosher salt

7 oz. dark couverture chocolate, tempered

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, icing sugar and vanilla, until light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder, then add the salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until the dough just comes together. Remove from the bowl. Form the dough into a square, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the fridge and lightly flour the dough and the work surface. Roll out the dough to about 1/8-inch thick. Use a 2-inch cookie cutter to cut out the cookies, then place them on the lined baking sheet.

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes, until light golden. Remember, the cookies will already look darker because of the chocolate, so be careful to watch for doneness. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

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Place the tempered chocolate in a bowl. Dip one-half of each cookie in the chocolate, or use a fork to drizzle some overtop. Set on a piece of parchment paper to cool.

Makes 28 cookies.

Warm Chocolate Mini Cakes.

Warm Chocolate Mini Cakes

Recipe by: Chef Daniel Kenney of

1 cup 62 per cent cocoa dark chocolate, chopped

¾ cup unsalted butter

½ cup castor sugar

3 whole eggs

4 tbsp. egg yolks

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease teacups or ramekins for baking.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the dark chocolate and unsalted butter together. Stir until the mixture is smooth and well combined. Remove from heat and allow it to cool slightly.

In a mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, whole eggs, and egg yolks until the mixture is well combined and slightly frothy.

Add the melted chocolate and butter mixture to the beaten eggs and sugar. Mix thoroughly until you have a smooth, cohesive batter. Gently fold in the flour until just combined. Be cautious not to overmix; the goal is to maintain a light and airy texture.

Divide the batter evenly into the greased teacups or ramekins, filling each one about 3/4 full. Place the filled cups on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 12 minutes. The cakes should have a set edge but a slightly gooey centre.

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Allow the warm chocolate cakes to cool for a moment before serving. They can be enjoyed on their own or garnished with a dusting of powdered sugar, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a dollop of whipped cream.

Serves 4.

Perfect Pecan Brownie.

Perfect Pecan Brownie

Recipe by: Chef Matteo Fontana of

8 medium-size eggs

3¼ cups granulated white sugar

1 lb.  unsalted butter

½ lb. dark chocolate chips

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

½ cup pecans

Roast the pecans in the oven at 360 F for 7 minutes. Let cool, then crush them and put aside. In a stainless steel bowl, sift the flour and cocoa powder to obtain a uniform mix. Set aside.

In a metal bowl, over a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate. In another bowl beat the egg and the sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Add the melted chocolate and butter to the egg mix whisking it in slowly. Fold in the flour mixture to the batter mixing until uniform. Transfer into a baking pan lined with parchment paper and lightly sprayed with baking spray. Spread until levelled.

Bake at 350 F for 40 to 45 minutes. Check the centre of the cake with the tip of a knife after 30-35 minutes to assess doneness.

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Let cool but serve warm, topped with your favourite ice cream, if desired. At Italian Kitchen it’s served with housemade salted caramel gelato.

Serves 8. 

Chocolate Ganache Bar.

Chocolate Ganache Bar

Recipe by: Chef Craig Sung of

Nutella Feuilletine Crust

6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, melted

10 oz. Nutella

5 oz. Feuilletine

Line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment paper, making sure the parchment paper hangs over the edges.

In a large bowl, combine melted chocolate and Nutella spread and stir until smooth, then fold in the Feuilletine until combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and use a sheet of parchment paper to press the mixture into a smooth, even layer. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill while making the filling.

Chocolate Ganache Filling

14 oz. dark chocolate

14 fl oz. whipping cream

3 oz. unsalted butter

½ tbsp. white sugar

Bring the cream and sugar to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Add the chocolate and butter and stir until well combined. Let it cool slightly before filling.

Pour the ganache over the crust and smooth with an offset or rubber spatula. Transfer to the refrigerator until set and firm, about 1-2 hours. Slice into bars before serving.

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Caramel Sauce

4 oz. salted butter

½ cup  brown sugar

½ cup whipping cream

½ tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium-size pot over medium heat, melt butter and brown sugar together until completely melted. Slowly whisk in the whipping cream until fully incorporated. Add in vanilla extract and allow the sauce to cool.

To plate: Drizzle caramel sauce generously on desired plate. Put ganache bars offset on the plate. Garnish with whipped cream and dark fruits like cherries, if desired.

Serves 8.

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