Normally, my more hair-brained schemes fail big time but this one actually turned out! The chocolates are very sweet but I think if I use semi-sweet instead of milk chocolate for the shells it won’t be so ultra sweet. Also maybe less butter. Anyway, here is how I made a homemade heart-shaped box out of recycled materials and homemade chocolates to fill it with.
I ordered these cute valentines from A Black Apple:
They came right away in a super-cute envelope that I just couldn’t throw away. I had also bought these red cardboard hearts at our local thrift shop:
I cut out two strips from the mailing envelope and put a stripe of glue on the edge of one cardboard heart:
Then I put the cardboard on the heart and put some masking tape that I would remove later on there to hold it. Then I put glue on the inside as well for extra reinforcement:
I ended up with this box which I will line with wax paper before putting the chocolates into:
It’s not the greatest but I have to remind my readers that when I am doing all this I am also dealing with an 8-month old and a 3-year old who want to get into everything! For the chocolate candies, you are going to need these Wilton molds.You can line mini cupcake tins with foil but these work best:
Okay, so you kind of have to work fast here because everything needs to be at a certain temperature. It helps to plan. I decided to do chocolate covered cherries, coconut and caramel nut for fillings. I was going to do some with the leftover marshmallow fluff inside but of course I forgot that until after so write down your plan!
In a double broiler, melt a bag of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup butter. If the chocolate is thick and grainy looking and not smooth and shiny looking add more butter. I ended up adding a whole stick (1/2 cup) but probably should have compromised at 3/4 stick (6 TB) because these turned out extremely rich. Melt the chocolate and turn off the stove. Let the chocolate sit in the double broiler. It won’t harden as you work on the fillings but do be sure to give it a stir now and then.
For my caramel nut filling, I unwrapped 10 caramels and put them in a bowl with a few tablespoons of heavy cream. I put the bowl in a pan of simmering water. The water was shallow so that it didn’t boil up and over into the caramel. The idea is to melt the caramel slightly so that it can be stirred easily to form a gooey goodness filling. Stir in the peanuts. It should look like this:
So basically you want to put down a base of chocolate, a scoop of filling and then a cover. You want to chill each step so that it doesn’t melt all together and form a gooey mess so lay down some chocolate and then stick it in the freezer for 5 minutes. Then get it back out and put a scoop of filling on top of the base shell. It should look something like this:
Stick it back in the freezer for 5 minutes before covering the whole thing in more chocolate. While those are chilling, work on your other fillings. I did cherries as well. I just used marchianos and had my son pluck off the stems. I’m sure he ate a few cherries while on the job.
For these, I used a rounded Wilton Brownie Pop Mold and the same technique mentioned above with the chilling after every layer.
For my coconut filling, I boiled 1/4 cup cream, 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/4 cup corn syrup and then added 1 cup of flaked coconut and 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract. It turned out great and I am going to use the left-over for some homemade Almond Joys!
Make sure you chill everything for a good 1/2 hour before packaging them up. Bake it Pretty has some really cute packaging ideas. I recommend the heart window box and some pretty little pink mini paper cups. I’m out of pink and had to use white! After experiencing on my own, I am ready to try something a little more advanced, like this: Making Artisan Chocolates
I added some Valentine-themed sprinkles to my coconut ones. Remember to put those on when the chocolate is still warm so they stick. Here they are cut open:
The caramel peanut ones are the best. I really wish I would have remembered the marshmallow! One bag of chocolate chips mixed with 1 stick of butter yielded 25 candies. Next time I need to either use 2 bags of chocolate or stick to just one flavor as I had tons of filling concoction left-over and not enough chocolate.
I hope this inspires you to make something special for your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. Oh and here’s another, more quick and easy idea to do with the melted chocolate. I think this is self-explanatory: