15 Valentine's Day Desserts You'll Love at First Bite
Chocolate and flowers are nice, yes, but the surefire way to your loved one’s heart is undoubtedly a romantic dessert. After all, what’s Valentine’s Day without a little sugar rush? The treats are arguably the best part of the holiday, and these are by no means limited to couples celebrating. Homemade desserts make great gifts for friends, family members, and—perhaps most importantly—yourself. Ambitious sweet tooth lovers can pack up and ship less fragile treat options (like our Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Brownies) to loved ones in the mail, but we are particularly partial to the ooey-gooey decadence of the Chocolate Mousse with Croissant Crumbs and the Marshmallow and Chocolate Shortbread Slices you'll find ahead.
However you'll be celebrating this year, prepare for love at first bite.
Easy Chocolate Mousse with Croissant Crumbs
The only thing better than homemade chocolate mousse on Valentine's Day? An easy-to-make, ultra-decadent mousse filled with folds of fresh whipped cream and topped with croissant breadcrumbs. Serve alongside Champagne and fresh strawberries (duh).
Black Forest Cupcakes
Adding a splash of coffee to the batter deepens these dreamy cupcakes’ intense chocolate flavor, while a hidden center of store-bought cherry preserves take them to the next level. Finally, a crown of airy, gently sweetened whipped cream topped with wisps of chocolate and juicy cherries is a simple but eye-catching way to finish them off.
Cookies and Cream Cheesecake Brownies
This rich brownie batter has a creamy layer of cheesecake, which is then topped with whole Oreos. More thick, chocolaty batter gets spread on top and finished off with a cheesecake swirl. Work quickly on this one before the brownie batter sets—it’ll make swirling the cheesecake mixture much easier. Because these are super fudgy brownies, let them cool completely in the pan before trying to cut.
Marshmallow and Chocolate Shortbread Slices
Think of these sweet, creamy shortbread cookies like a homemade candy bar, but better. Thanks to their crunchy cookie base, marshmallow filling, and chocolate coating, they look super fancy, but they only require about a half hour of your precious Valentine's Day time. Don't forget the layer of apricot preserves for a sweet-tart zing.
No-Churn Papaya Ice Cream
Bring your Valentine's Day a little sweet tropical-tasting sunshine with this no-churn papaya ice cream. It's so easy to make (no special equipment needed!) and you can shower your sundae with coconut flakes, fresh pineapple chunks, and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.
Banana Gingerbread Cupcakes
Gingerbread or banana bread? Can’t decide which you like better? This spicy, sweet, super-moist mash-up is just for you. Finish the cakes off with a glossy confectioners’ sugar glaze and a heart-shaped cookie topper for maximum cuteness. One pro tip: Measure the oil before the molasses and the sticky sweetener will pour easily out of the measuring cup.
Churros With Chocolate Sauce
Believe it or not, making churros from scratch is a lot easier than you'd assume. When you dip these sweet fried cinnamon breadsticks in the rich chocolate sauce, you’re in for a real treat. P.S. If you're more of a caramel fan, that works wonderfully, too (or, better yet, make both).
Cardamom Orange Cupcakes
Heady cardamom pairs wonderfully with citrus and gives these tender cupcakes a spicy edge. Ground cardamom works perfectly well in this recipe, but if you want a real punch of flavor, it’s worth looking for whole, unsplit green pods in the spice section of a well-stocked supermarket. Just gently crush the pods to extract the seeds and grind them in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle.
Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Browned butter adds a luxe caramel note to this rich cream cheese frosting—but be warned: once you taste it, you may never go back to the plain version. The nutty flavor works perfectly with the tender crumb and gentle sweetness of the spiced carrot cake and a flurry of toasted coconut is a simple but festive garnish.
Chocolate Bar Fondue
A must-have for the holiday: Melty chocolate for coating fresh fruit, cake chunks, marshmallows, or an empty spoon.
Coconut Raspberry Cupcakes
Making a classic buttercream frosting takes a bit of effort, but the results are silky and buttery beyond compare. The pink is pretty, but you could also try swapping out the raspberry jam for 2 ounces of melted bittersweet chocolate for an even more decadent combination.
Romantic Brownie Sundaes
Can you consider it Valentine's Day if you don't eat a heart-shaped brownie sundae? I think not. Share if you want—or don't.
Is it a main dish or a dessert? File this sweet sandwich under the best of both worlds.
Chocolate-Cinnamon Pudding With Raspberries
You'll love the sweet-tart kick of fresh raspberry to balance out the decadent richness of this pudding.
Don't be intimidated—this one's surprisingly easy to make.