Despite its religious origin and commercial value, Valentine’s Day is not a recognized public holiday. This means most of us will still be plucking ourselves out of bed and heading to work on Thursday, February 14th. Some will clock out and rush to the convenient store in hopes they will grab what is left of the flowers and chocolates - or even run to a fine-dining reservation you made weeks ago, hoping it goes quickly. After all, work resumes in the morning.
Instead of a not-so-romantic rush, embrace the silver lining to the Thursday inconvenience. Enjoy the element of surprise and plan something special the weekend after. Sleep in on Saturday, then stun your sweetie with an at-home brunch date. It’s as easy as 1-2-3!
1. The Setting
Brunch in bed always seems like a great idea, but in reality, it is a bit messy and unbalanced. Instead, set up a small table for two with white linens, candles and flower petals. The saying “less is more” holds true here. The food you are about to prepare should be the statement on the table. Give your date something to sip while he or she sits- giving yourself some time to prepare the brunch.
2. The Cocktails
Most of your time should be spent cooking the food, so it is best to find an easy-to-make cocktail that still makes an impression. Break out of the mimosa-rut and entice your beloved with a refreshing spritzer. They are light enough to drink before noon, but elegant enough to impress your guest.
In a wine glass with ice, pour in PAMA Liqueur. Top off with LaBella Prosecco and garnish with a lemon twist.
In a wine glass with ice, pour in Galliano L’Aperitivo. Top off with Hi! Prosecco and garnish with an orange twist.
Blue Ice Spritz
In a wine glass with ice, pour in vodka. Top off with sparkling wine and garnish with a lemon twist.
3. The Food
Now it’s time to court your sweetheart with confections. A Valentine’s Day celebration is the perfect excuse to indulge in a real treat. We are talkin’ Bailey’s Irish Cream, whipped cream and chocolate, people. Baileys French Toast is the “be all end all” of breakfast foods – trust us.
Baileys French Toast
- 3 ounces Baileys Original Irish Cream
- 6 ½ ounces whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 2 slices of thick bakery-style bread
- 1 tablespoon butter, for frying
- Chocolate sauce, for garnish
Whisk together ½ ounce Baileys Original Irish Cream, 4 ounces whipping cream and confectioners sugar. Chill and put aside for topping the finished product. Combine on a plate 2 ½ ounces of Baileys Original Irish Cream, 2 ½ ounces of whipping cream, vanilla extract and 2 eggs. Dip the bread into the mixture while heating butter in a pan for frying. Fry the piece of dipped bread until golden brown. Serve on a plate and top with the whisked together mixture. Finish by sprinkling chocolate sauce and raspberries over top.
Again, this being a celebration your love an affection, more chocolate is required. Pick out the best in-season fruit to immerse into this dreamy dessert dip.
Fresh Fruit and Godiva Chocolate Liqueur Dip
- 1 ½ ounces Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
- 8 ounces Godiva melting chocolate
- Fresh strawberries
- Sliced banana
- Fresh raspberries
Boil two cups of water in a pot. In a glass bowl, combine the melting chocolate chips with the chocolate liqueur. Place the glass bowl over the pot with boiling water and let the heat from the steam melt the chocolate. Continuously stir until combined. NOTE: It is very important that you combine the liqueur and melting chocolate at the same time. If you add the liqueur after the chocolate melts, the sugars will crystallize, and the dip will not come out smoothly.
Finally, nothing says “I love you” more than bacon… unless it is bacon brushed with bourbon.
Cooper’s Mark Maple Bourbon Bacon Hearts
- 2 ounces of Cooper’s Mark Maple Bacon
- 12 slices of smoked bacon
- Coarsely ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut your bacon slices into 5-inch pieces and fold each slice in half length-wise. Shape two folded pieces of bacon into a heart on the parchment paper. Brush maple bourbon on each piece of bacon. (If you want extra sweet bacon, you can add extra maple syrup to the bourbon before you brush it on.) Bake the bacon for 10 minutes, or until crispy. Remember, the bacon will crisp more as it cools. Lightly sprinkle pepper on the bacon and serve.
Would you rather wine and dine your Valentine during the evening? Here are some dinner recipes and wine pairings to get you started.