18 Valentine’s Day Desserts You Can Make Right Now

February  3, 2018

I’m less of a Valentine’s Day gal and more of a Galentine’s Day gal. But I appreciate both holidays for the same reason—a perfect excuse to make that dessert recipe I’ve been eyeing up for months. Chocolate is classic, but anything sweet is, well, a sweet gesture for that special someone, a significant other or oldest friend or yourself or all of the above.

This year, Valentine’s Day is on a Wednesday (and Galentine’s on Tuesday), so the trick will be finding a dessert you can make on a weeknight without feeling frenzied—if anything is a total buzzkill, it’s stress. This year, let’s not do that. Let’s plan ahead. Forethought is sexy!

The good news is: Plenty of desserts can be prepared from start to finish, then frozen, and this doesn’t diminish their quality. Think of it like recipe hibernation. A weekend project now, a pat on the back (or a smooch on the lips?!) in a couple weeks. Happy Valentine’s Day to you.


I need not tell you that ice cream, ahem, freezes well. But I will say this: Remember to pull it out 15 or so minutes before you want to eat. This way, you can enjoy a creamy, melty scoop, not an icy block.


Well-wrapped cakes are so happy to hang out in the freezer. If you’re making a frosted cake, you can freeze the layers, then thaw—at room temperature, not in the fridge—and build while still very cold. (This actually makes frosting easier—fewer crumbs.) But this holiday doesn’t need all that fuss. These everyday showstoppers ask less of you: just a shower of powdered sugar or scoop of ice cream and they’re ready for date night.


You can freeze cookies two ways. One: formed. So scoop your oatmeal-raisin, roll and cut out your sugar cookies, etc. Then freeze on a sheet tray and collect into a plastic bag. Two: baked. Complete the recipe from start to finish, let cool completely, then freeze in a plastic bag. My rule: If the cookies are great warm (hi, chocolate chips), I’ll freeze them formed and bake to order (no scented candle can beat the smell of just-baked cookies). But if they would have to cool anyway before eating (hey, shortbread), I’ll freeze them baked. Oh, and if you’re doing a cut-out cookie, now is the time to do Xs and Os.


Three ways to freeze bars: One, uncut, in their natural state (do this only if you’re planning to eat the whole pan post-thaw). Two, cookie-style—cut into squares (itty-bitty ones are all the better to feed each other with), frozen on a plate, then transferred to a plastic bag. Three, cut into squares and wrapped individually.


Nothing says Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day like dressed-up chocolate. If you want to go all out, make a few varieties and freeze in a petite, pretty box. No hints—only tasting and guessing—for that you-never-know-what-you’re-gonna-get effect.

Do you have any romantic dessert traditions? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!

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Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.