15 Inventive Uses for Leftover Valentine’s Chocolate

istock
istock

The day of love has come and gone, but the mounds of gifted chocolate will remain for weeks to come. Instead of forcing yourself to nibble on foil-wrapped hearts until May (or freezing them until forever), find cool ways to turn those leftover sweets into new treats. The possibilities are endless, but here are 15 ideas to help get you started. 

1. CANDY CHARADES

Valentine’s Day chocolate boxes always have the traditional nougat and creme fillings, but there are also always a few mysteries that no one can quite seem to identify. For candies left over on February 15, gather some friends or family members for a game of charades. The goal: guess which flavor your teammate just ate.

2. CHOCOLATE FONDUE

Leftover milk chocolate plus marshmallow crème makes for one delicious party platter. Simply melt the chocolate, then mix in a 7-ounce jar of crème, ¾ cup of heavy whipping cream, 3 ounces of white baking chocolate, and ¼ cup toasted almonds, plus a dash of almond extract. Serve with fresh fruit or cubed pound cake.

3. CHOCOLATE-COVERED BACON

There is no wrong way to eat bacon, which means that there are numerous right ways to eat it. A drizzle of melted white and dark chocolate is one of those right ways. Many recipes you’ll come across for chocolate-covered bacon are pretty straightforward, and involve just 10 minutes or so of prep time. Refrigerate for 20 to 30 minutes, and you’ve got yourself a sweet-and-savory post-Valentine’s Day snack. 

4. LEFTOVER CANDY PIE

Seen more frequently as a post-Halloween recipe, a leftover candy pie (or recycled candy cake) would be the perfect way to consume and share all of those individually wrapped pieces.

5. LAVA CAKE

A warm treat with a molten surprise inside—made of yesterday’s date night gift, of course—is like celebrating twice.

6. POPCORN DRIZZLE

Chocolate-covered popcorn is a delicious alternative to the salty, buttery theater staple that you’re used to, and you can make it as simple or as involved as you like. Simply pop the popcorn, drip some chocolate on top, and start snacking away. Or, add in a few more ingredients like cocoa powder and vanilla, place the mixture on an oiled pan, and bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

7. HOMEMADE TRAIL MIX

Good trail mix demands the presence of tasty chocolate. Grab a few other essentials (nuts, raisins, seeds), mix in chopped Valentine’s goodies, and you’re ready to hit the trail (or gym). 

8. SWEET FRENCH TOAST

Treat friends (or that special someone) to a post-Valentine’s Day brunch. The standout on your menu: Chocolate-and-banana french toast. 

9. MODIFIED SMORES

The chocolate component of a s’more is traditionally a bar, but who says it has to be? Break the rules and use whatever pieces you have lying around, even if they have nuts or other added ingredients. You may end up creating your new favorite campfire tradition.

10. CHOCOLATE WASTED CAKE

Another “everything but the kitchen sink” kind of dessert, this cake is pretty standard on the inside (chocolate cake with coffee flavor added). The outside is where your Valentine’s Day leftovers can come in handy: use whatever you have lying around to add some edible flair to the dessert’s surface. 

11. STRAWBERRY HEARTS

Cut strawberries lengthwise, placing them flat side-down, so that the two halves form the general shape of a heart. (Stick a toothpick through the berry to keep them secure.) Melt some chocolate in the microwave (a minute or two should do the trick), then pour over the fruit. Refrigerate for an hour and serve. 

11. BARBECUE SAUCE

Reusing chocolate doesn’t always have to be a sweet endeavor. Experiment with ways to make it add a hint of chocolate to savory condiments, like barbecue or other sauces. If you’re not sure where to begin, great recipes are just a web search away. 

12. FACIAL MASKS

Studies have shown that antioxidants in dark chocolate are actually good for your skin, so melt some down and have a personal spa day at home. Good luck resisting the urge to eat it off. 

13. LIP BALM

Melt 3 tablespoons cocoa butter in the microwave, then add a piece of leftover chocolate and stir until melted. Combine with the contents of 1 vitamin E capsule and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract. The resulting moisturizer is just as effective as the one you keep in your purse (and probably way tastier). 

14. BOARD GAME PIECES

Is your game of Monopoly missing its coveted car or thimble? Does your box of Checkers feel a little light? Grab some leftover chocolate and keep the fun going. 

15. HOT COCOA

If you have access to a powerful blender (plus melted chocolate, espresso powder, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, and whole milk), you’ve got everything you need to whip up this wintertime staple.

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

35 Offbeat Holidays You Can Celebrate in July

mscornelius/iStock via Getty Images
mscornelius/iStock via Getty Images

The big fireworks show may come at the beginning of the month, but there are plenty more celebrations to keep you feeling Yankee Doodle Dandy all the way through to August.

1. July 1: National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day

Multicolored scoops of ice cream
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In 1984, Ronald Reagan deemed July National Ice Cream Month, and the third Sunday of this month National Ice Cream Day. As great as the treat itself is, we’re big fans of those unusual flavor combinations that make you question the limitations of culinary science and marvel at their possibilities!

2. July 2: World UFO Day

Keep your eyes on the sky at night on this day, because the truth is out there. What's the best way to celebrate? The World UFO Day website suggests "watching UFO movies, talking with your friends about the possibility of UFOs or alien life."

3. July 3: The Start of the Dog Days of Summer

That's right, dog days is more than just an evocative, old-timey phrase. The Farmer's Almanac describes it as the period of the summer when Sirius, the Dog Star (hence the name), rises each day around the same time as the sun. Or as we know it now, the really hot stretch of summer running from July 3 to August 11. Interestingly, the start of this steamy stretch for the Northern Hemisphere actually coincides with the day Earth reaches its aphelion, the point in the orbit farthest from the sun.

4. July 3-9: Be Nice to New Jersey Week

New Jersey gets a lot of flak. This is the week to make up for all those Jersey Shore jokes.

5. July 4: Sidewalk Egg Frying Day

Photo of a fried egg on hot concrete
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We’ve all heard the phrase “so hot outside you could fry an egg,” but today is the day we put that expression to the test. Though the origins of this climate-specific holiday are unknown, we imagine heat-inclined states were the earliest adopters.

6. July 6: International Kissing Day

Pucker up for some summer love! Formerly known as National Kissing Day in the United Kingdom, this holiday was invented to remind us all of the simple pleasure a sweet kiss can bring. It is also cited as a direct cause for National Mono Day (which also occurs on July 6).

7. July 7: Father-Daughter Take a Walk Together Day

Just because July 7 is designated as Father-Daughter Talk a Walk Together Day does not mean that it's an activity to be avoided the other 364 days of the year. The same goes for Tell the Truth Day, which is also July 7.

8. July 10: Teddy Bear Picnic Day

In the early 20th century, John Walter Bratton composed an instrumental song entitled “The Teddy Bears’ Picnic.” In the late 1980s, collectible items dealer Royal Selangor decided to turn that into a national holiday. He also had the idea to conveniently release toy boxes and collectible items in conjunction with said event. Regardless of capitalist motives, the day became a national holiday and remains popular throughout Europe, as far away as Australia, and among many reputable stuffed bear circles.

9. July 10: Don’t Step On A Bee Day

Stepping on a bee is bad for a lot of reasons (and for both parties involved), which is why it's good that these furry friends usually stick to the skies.

10. July 11: Bowdler's Day


This day honors the prudish man who gave us the word bowdlerize. English doctor Thomas Bowdler quit his job to focus on expunging all lewd and indecent references from Shakespeare's work. His (presumably much shorter) version of the Bard's tales, Family Shakespeare, came out in 1818, after which he turned his attention to Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and sections of the Old Testament.

11. July 11: World Population Day

World Population Day, which was created by the United Nations Development Programme in 1989, "seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues."

12. July 13: National French Fries Day

Or National Freedom Fries Day, depending on your politics. We can’t make any promises, but some restaurants have made a point of giving away complimentary fries in the past. Free or not, on this day treat yourself to a full basket of fried goodness—guilt-free.

13. July 13: Embrace Your Geekness Day

Whatever your definition of a geek may be, lean into why you're proud to be one.

14. July 13: International Town Criers Day


This holiday, which occurs annually on the second Monday in July, is a chance to honor the lost art of speaking loudly and starting proclamations with "Hear ye, hear ye!" in celebration of the ancient practice of town crying.

15. July 14: National Nude Day

Yes, this is the day the Tobias Fünkes of the world fear most. Originating in New Zealand, this non-public holiday encourages everyone to publicly celebrate their all-natural form. Note: please be sure to familiarize yourself with current local legislation concerning public nudity, lest you find yourself observing “international delinquent day.”

16. July 15: Saint Swithin's Day

Little is known about Swithin, the Bishop of Winchester in the 800s. But what is known is that many years after his death, his relics were transferred to the Winchester Cathedral on July 15, 971, a day which featured heavy rains. Since then, the belief has been that if it rains on this day, it will continue to rain for 40 more days.

17. July 18: Mandela Day


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Since 2009, Nelson Mandela's birthday has been celebrated as a chance to honor his life and inspire others to take action to change the world for the better.

18. July 18: National Woodie Wagon Day

Celebrate this symbol of 1940s and '50s Americana with a drive down Route 66 (or at least what's left of it).

19. July 19: National Ice Cream Day

In the middle of Ice Cream Month, there is Ice Cream Day. You know what to do.

20. July 19: National Flitch Day

A 15th century relic, a flitch referred to an amount of bacon offered to married couples by local monks who could prove a year’s worth of matrimonial bliss to a jury of their single peers. Thought to have originated in Dunmore, England, the modern-day flitch ceremony now takes place once every four years, but is still very much all about the bacon.

21. July 20: National Get Out of the Doghouse Day

It'll probably be too hot to hold grudges anyway.

22. July 20: Take Your Poet To Work Day

If you have a real-life poet friend, this could probably apply to them. But this holiday is meant to be for pocketing your favorite famous lyricist and taking them to your place of business (seriously).

23. July 21: No Pet Store Puppies Day


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Many puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills, which, according to the Humane Society, are "inhumane, commercial dog-breeding [facilities] in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits." The ASPCA campaigns to reduce demand for these puppy mill puppies by calling for a full boycott of stores that sell them.

24. July 22: Rat-Catcher’s Day

On the supposed anniversary of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, this day honors exterminators of all shapes, sizes, and species.

25. July 22: Spooner's Day


Reverend William Archibald Spooner was a learned man, the warden of New College at Oxford. But he also had a habit of transposing the first letter of certain words. It is from his frequent, funny slips of the tongue that we get the word spoonerism.

26. July 24: National Drive-Thru Day

As with every food or beverage-related holiday, you're probably celebrating this anyway, but now you have a reason.

27. July 24: National Tell an Old Joke Day

Dust off your best chicken-crossing-the-road zinger.

28. July 24: Cousins Day

Get the whole family together—via Zoom, of course—and take a screen shot (or whatever families do).

29. July 26: Parents' Day

Did you think you were off the hook for appreciating the people who gave you life just because you made it through Mother's Day and Father's Day? Think again.

30. July 27: Bagpipe Appreciation Day


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Though bagpipes are perhaps most commonly linked to the Scottish, the largest producer in the world of this aerophone instrument is Pakistan. Just one of many fun facts you can toss out on Bagpipe Appreciation Day. You're welcome.

31. July 27: Walk on Stilts Day

If you can.

32. July 27: Take Your Houseplants For A Walk Day

It doesn't matter if your neighbors think you're crazy. Set those plants free!

33. July 29: National Lasagna Day

Grab some ricotta, pasta, and Bolognese and whip up a homemade lasagna, then catch up on some Garfield comics while you wait for it to finish cooking. There are many ways to honor National Lasagna Day. The only wrong way is to not honor it at all.

34. July 30: National Chili Dog Day

The last Thursday in July is your annual chance to proclaim your affection for this truly American delicacy.

35. July 31: National Talk in an Elevator Day


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We all do it. We look at our phone, at our feet, or at the fresh coffee stain on our shirts. Anything to avoid even making eye contact with our fellow elevator riders. Not today. Not on the last Friday in July. Say hello to your fellow elevator rider—through your face mask, of course.