Texas Living

Thoughtful Handmade Valentine’s Day Treats

By Celia Bryan-Brown 1.24.18

Valentine’s Day can be daunting. Just the thought of cupids, candy hearts, and googly-eyed couples drives many away from the pressure (and the price tag) of gift-giving. But, luckily, this is one holiday that’s exactly what you make of it.

Valentine’s is a perfect excuse to shake up dreary mid-February and make a gesture not just for your partner but for anyone in your life, whether it’s spending quality time with your kids, showing appreciation for colleagues, or reaching out to an elderly neighbor.

Personal can be more effective than pricey, and creative always says more than canned. And after all, what is a holiday without gift giving?

Jeweled Holiday Chocolate Bark

Valentine’s Day treats become extra special when you make them yourself, and chocolate bark is an easy but impressive treat that can be dressed up for the occasion.

Gather your favorite good-quality chocolate and any decorations or toppings. Edible glitter, dehydrated raspberries, and edible flowers are perfect for the holiday — or for a traditional Lone Star kick, add some pecan praline. If you have a specific audience, and you know what their favorite treat is, all the better!

Line a rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap, taking care to smooth out as many wrinkles as possible, and use a paper towel to swipe the tray with a drop of flavorless cooking oil to make sure the chocolate will release easily.

Melt your chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water and pour into the waiting trays. You can swirl two colors (white, dark, or milk) together using a skewer to create nice patterns. Scatter with your chosen toppings and leave to cool and harden, about two hours.

Once cool, break up the Valentine’s Day treats into large pieces and package in little cellophane bags dressed with pretty ribbons and heart-shaped gift tags.

Gift Basket Full of Goodies

Gift baskets are a great way to show someone you care. They require some careful thought and assembly, they’re so fun to open and peek inside for all the different goodies, and, best of all — they’re completely customizable.

Pack a basket with gifts the recipient will love. If you don’t know them too well, a combination of typically Texan treats (think Texas tea, jalapeño jam, habanero salsa, pralines, and a stuffed Longhorn to cuddle with) is usually a winner. It really doesn’t matter if the gifts are store-bought or homemade — this is one gift when it’s really the thought that counts.

Don’t get hung up on finding the perfect wicker basket, either — a wooden box or cardboard box covered in pretty wrapping will do just as well. Fill with tissue paper to nestle your treats into; and for a bit of extra presentation, cover the entire thing with cellophane and top with a bow!

Crafts With Kids

These are fun for any craft lover and are a great way to get your kids in the spirit. Better still, you can use materials you already have around the house.

Line up some pieces of stiff card stock or construction paper and think up a series of “vouchers.” For a partner, fun ideas include a date night, a night taking care of the kids, cooking a special meal together, going to a game — or anything else you can think of!

For kids, think going to that movie they really want to see, having dessert for dinner, or getting the dog they’ve been begging for. Your kids can make them for each other and for you, too. Don’t be afraid to give them ideas like making breakfast one day, walking the dog, or simply enjoying quality family time!

Punch holes in the corners of your vouchers so you can thread them all together at the end, and decorate with magazine clippings, stickers, ribbons, and any other paper materials. String a ribbon through your vouchers and present to your person of choice.

For more Valentine’s inspiration, try these perfect Texas date ideas.

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