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 S’MORES
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.