DIY Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is always a confusing holiday. It’s all about flowers and romance…. chocolates and (hopefully) jewelry. But where does that leave your guy? Do you buy him a real gift like a watch or pair of boots? Or do you acknowledge that this is really YOUR holiday to be wined and dined, and just go with a card? It seems like the answer lies somewhere in the middle. But where?

We decided that this year, the middle was something simple but thoughtful… the ultimate gift being the effort that went into making it. Guys love homemade stuff. Even if it’s not that impressive, they are surprisingly sappy when you spend the time to hand make them something.

After some Googling and Pinning, we came up with the idea of a manly, homemade box of chocolates. It’s on theme and requires that DIY effort. We searched for 3 recipes for chocolates that we considered to be “manly”:

  1. Sea Salt and Almond Bark

  2. Pecan and Bourbon Truffles

  3. Classic Chocolate Fudge

Ok, disclaimer: We failed miserably on the fudge. So ultimately, we ended up with 2 chocolate delicacies but they really are delicious AND the recipes made a lot of each so it turned out fine. It’s always good to DIY with a friend to find the humor in your mistakes!!

We started with the bark which was a good idea because it was the easiest recipe.  All it involves is melting chocolate (double pan…. water in the bottom one, chocolate in the top one!), crushing and candy-coating almonds, and grinding a little sea salt.Lay it on a baking sheet, stick it in the fridge for 3 hours and break it apart. So good! We used 60% Ghirardelli Cocoa but if you aren't a dark chocolate person, we are sure it would be just as delicious with milk or semi-sweet chocolate.

Click here for the full recipe!

Next up was the Pecan Truffles. This time you are melting semi-sweet morsels directly in a pan with condensed milk. Not sure why you don’t have to double-pan this melting situation, but it didn’t burn so go with what the recipe says! Once the chocolate is creamy, you take it off the heat and add vanilla extract, chopped pecans, and whiskey. Let it cool in the fridge for 3 hours and when it’s congealable but not cold, roll the chocolate into 1 inch balls and coat again with chopped pecans. (The recipes says it makes 8 servings and that a serving size is 1 ball. It made WAY more than 8 so no need to double this recipes like we thought we had to.)

Click here for the full recipe!

Now on to packaging. We set out to find tin cans to put the candy in but they were super pink, girly, and juvenile looking, so we opted for pine boxes from Michael’s for $4.99. Manly, right? Here’s the link:

Pine Box

We lined the inside of the box with parchment paper to house our chocolates. Then we printed off and embellished these little “Handmade with Love” cards. (We love this font for anything homemade because its rustic but still uniform. It’s available on Google Drive and it’s called “Homemade Apple”)

Then we grabbed some cotton burlap ribbon and wired-twine to serve as a ribbon. And here is our final product! The whole thing cost about $25, but took a good 6 hours to complete. A 6 hour labor of love!

Happy Valentine’s Day!