Valentine’s Day is a day to remind our loved ones just how loved they are: husbands, wives, partners, girlfriends, boyfriends, gal-pals, children, pets and more.
But for chefs, the holiday is their annual chance to combine the luxurious taste of chocolate with unexpected flavors, in ways that surprise and delight diners.
A few Hilton chefs have shared their best chocolate-based Valentine’s Day recipes just in time for the holiday. They vary from simple to multi-step—but all are delicious.
Jump to recipe:
- Walnut Turtle Pie from DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Boston - Cambridge
- Quick Choco Fruffles with Mixed Dried Fruit & Nuts — Lobby Restaurant, Homewood Suites by Hilton Santo Domingo
- Chocolate Tart — Spencer’s Steak and Chops, Hilton Salt Lake City Center
- Chocolate Crinkle Cookies — Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
Walnut Turtle Pie
Boathouse 400 at DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Boston - Cambridge
According to Chef Scott Bakutis, who bakes up breakfast treats for Boathouse 400 at DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Boston – Cambridge, Valentine’s Day (and winter months in general) are a great time to tuck into a chocolate indulgence like walnut turtle pie. The pie offers a warm, gooey chocolate filling with a chocolate crust.
“Winter skies go perfectly with Walnut Turtle pies,” Bakutis said.
- 8 ounces all-purpose flour, plus extra for work surface
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ½ lb. unsalted butter (cold, ½-inch dice)
- 2-3 tablespoons ice water
- Pan coating
- 1 ¼ cup light corn syrup
- ½ lb. unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 6 large eggs
- 1 ¾ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup dark Crème de Cocoa (a chocolate flavored liqueur with hints of vanilla)
- 12 ounces walnuts, roughly chopped
- Make the crust by combining the 8 ounces flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, cocoa powder and ½ pound diced butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium-low speed until cornmeal consistency. Add 2 tablespoons of ice water and mix just to form into a smooth ball (use extra tablespoon if dough doesn't come together). Divide the dough in half.
- Lightly flour a cutting board and roll out the first piece of dough to a 10” circle, about ¼ inch thick. Spray the inside of the pan lightly with pan coating, such as Pam, and then gently lay one crust inside, and press down on the bottom and up the sides. The crust should come up the inside side of the pan about 2 inches. Repeat with the other piece of dough and pan. Place pans in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
- For the filling, combine corn syrup and butter in a medium saucepan and bring to a low boil. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, 1 ¾ cup sugar, vanilla and dark Crème de Cocoa; add the reserved corn syrup and chocolate mixture, and blend well (I also use the electric mixer for this step).
- Sprinkle the walnuts evenly over the bottom of the crusts, and then pour in the batter. Place the pans on a baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees F (300 degrees F for a convection oven) for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until the center of the pies puff up and appear set.
- Remove pies from the oven, and allow to cool for 15 minutes at room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Serve with whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream.
Quick Choco Truffles with Mixed Dried Fruit & Nuts
Homewood Suites by Hilton Santo Domingo
For Chef Jorge “Franco” Gonzalez Aguilar, from Lobby Restaurant at Homewood Suites by Hilton Santo Domingo, choco truffles are the way to go.
“The combination of the sweetness of the berries, with the strength of the chocolate and the crunchiness of the nuts will make your palate fall in love,” he said. “In addition to creating a crunchy layer around the truffle while the center remains soft and creamy, the best recipe for Valentine's Day without a doubt.”
- 1 lb chocolate (55% was used)
- 1/4 tsp dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup mixed granola
- 1 oz bourbon
- Chop the chocolate to small bits for easy melting.
- Melt in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time to prevent the chocolate from burning.
- Pour the chocolate into a bowl and with a silicone spatula and beat gently and slowly to bring it to room temperature.
- Add the nuts, berries and granola to the bowl over the chocolate and mix in an enveloping fashion so that the ingredients come together.
- Pour the bourbon over your mixture and whisk until it all comes together (the mixture will start to look a bit doughy and creamy), this is the consistency we want.
- Use an ice cream scoop to scoop out the small balls and place them on a tray with a little space between them to prevent them from sticking together.
- Prepare ice water in a bowl, introduce your hands and pat dry for easier modeling, take ball by ball between your palms with circular movements to give a smoother surface.
- Place them on the tray and put them in the fridge for about 10 to 15 min.
- After the time, serve as you wish and enjoy them with who you love.
Spencer’s Steak and Chops, Hilton Salt Lake City Center
Jared Maish, executive sous chef at Spencer’s Steak and Chops at Hilton Salt Lake City Center, has a dessert suggestion that’s big enough to create a memorable Valentine’s Day for the whole family.
“This decadent and silky chocolate caramel tart will surely create an everlasting memory for you and your loved one this Valentine’s Day,” he said.
- For the Tart Shell: 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/3 cup almond flour
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder
- 10 tbsp room temp butter
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar sifted
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg white
- For the Caramel: 2 tbsp water
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp sea salt
- For the Chocolate Ganache: 1 ¼ cup dark chocolate
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp spoon corn syrup
- 2 tbsp room temp butter
- For the Vanilla Chantilly: 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp sugar
- For the Chocolate Crispies: 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate
- 1 ½ cup rice krispies
- For the Tart Shell: Mix all all-purpose flour, buckwheat flour, almond flour, and cocoa powder and sift into a bowl and set aside.
- Cream the butter and powdered sugar in the mixer until smooth. Make sure to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula in between each step.
- Add egg in and mix until smooth.
- Slowly add flour mixture into the butter mixture until a dough Is formed.
- Dump the bowl onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is a nice smooth ball.
- Make dough into a disc about ½ inch thick and refrigerate until dough is hard.
- Once dough is hard, roll out until dough is 2 inches larger than a 9-inch tart pan. Pinch sides and cut off all excess dough from the pan.
- Dock the dough and bake at 325 degrees until the dough is fully cooked. ~10 mins. 3 minutes before the tart shell is fully cooked pull dough out and brush with beaten egg white. This will help with the shell from getting soggy from the liquid.
- For the Caramel: In a heavy bottom pot add water, corn syrup, and sugar. Stir to combine. On medium heat, heat the mixture until it turns an amber color, ~ 7 minutes.
- Pull off heat and mix in butter until combined.
- Slowly add in heated heavy cream and mix until smooth caramel is formed.
- *Be careful as it boils vigorously for a moment.
- Sprinkle sea salt evenly over the caramel. Then pour caramel into the tart shell and let cool until hardened.
- For the Chocolate Ganache: In a double boiler melt the chocolate.
- Once melted, add corn syrup and heavy cream until smooth.
- Once combined, pull off heat and whisk in butter until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into the tart shell on top of the caramel and use an offset spatula to spread the mixture evenly.
- Place in the refrigerator until cool.
- For the Vanilla Chantilly: In a mixer combine heavy cream and sugar and whip to medium peaks.
- Add vanilla and continue to whip to stiff peaks.
- Use it to garnish the top of the tart.
- For the Chocolate Crispies: In a double broiler melt the chocolate.
- Once melted, pour over rice krispies until fully coated.
- Spread evenly onto a sheet pan and allow to cool.
- Once cooled, break them up into the desired pieces and use to garnish the tart.
Chocolate Crinkle Cookie
Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills
Chef Steve Benjamin and Pastry Chef Johanna Natividad at Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills agree that the hotel’s chocolate crinkle cookies are a perfect treat to share for Valentine’s Day, no matter what your relationship status is.
“This recipe is perfect for Valentine’s Day, not only because of its rich flavor, but versatility,” said Natividad. “The perfect sweet treat to gift to a galentine or Valentine, the cookies can be made fresh together and enjoyed on a cozy night in, or packed on a picnic to watch the sunset and enjoy with a loved one. They’re soft, decadent, and perfectly sweet.”
- 340 grams - Valrhone guanaja chocolate, 70%
- 172 grams - Butter
- 4 Eggs
- 284 grams - Sugar
- 4 grams - Coffee extract
- 8 grams - Vanilla extract
- 58 grams - Cake flour
- 1.5 grams - Baking powder
- 0.50 grams - salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Over a double boiler heat chocolate and butter just enough to melt. Do not get too hot.
- In a mixing bowl with a whip attachment, whip the sugar, eggs, vanilla and coffee extracts until it gets to a ribbon stage. Making sure to scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula to get all the sugar from the bottom of the bowl.
- Switch the whip attachment to the paddle and slowly add the butter and chocolate mixture. Scrape the bowl and make sure it is mixed thoroughly, but do not overmix.
- Sift dry ingredients.
- Add to bowl in 2 stages making sure not to over paddle and scrape in between.
- Place cookie mix in refrigerator overnight to set.
- Scoop to desired size and roll in either raw sugar or powdered sugar.
- Depending on the size for a 1 oz cookie bake for 8 min and check. It should crinkle and be fudgy in the middle.