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Author Notes: These four-bite hearts are a relatively healthy chocolate treat, especially when made with dark chocolate. Soaking the dates in hot water and double-dipping them in chocolate results in a smooth consistency that mimics that of a chocolate truffle. Pink peppercorns provide pleasant crunch (together with the interior toasted nuts), though the same beautiful color contrast can be achieved with crumbled freeze-dried raspberries for a sweeter note. These are enjoyable any day of the year, not just for Valentine's Day. —eat chic
- 8 Medjool dates
- 16 walnut or pecan halves
- 200 grams good quality dark or white chocolate
- 2 teaspoons pink peppercorns
- Soak the dates in boiling hot water for 20 minutes, until soft.
- Toast the pecans or walnuts in a 375?F (190?C) oven for 7-10 minutes, until they are slightly browned.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over simmering water.
- Pat each date dry with a paper towel, then slice lengthwise from the wider part two-thirds down to the bottom. (Do not slice all the way down since you want to keep the point at the bottom of the "heart.")
- Pull each date open slightly to form a heart shape, remove the pit, and stuff each cavity with a nut half. (The nuts should be securely pressed into the date so as not to dislodge in the dipping process.)
- Dip each date in the melted chocolate, carefully turning it to fully coat in chocolate.
- Transfer to a plate lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes, until chocolate is set.
- Remove dates from refrigerator and repeat the process of dipping the dates in chocolate, using a rubber spatula to scrape chocolate off the sides of the bowl. (You may need to remelt the chocolate if it has cooled too much.)
- Transfer dates to the parchment paper-lined plate and sprinkle with crushed pink peppercorns immediately after dipping, while chocolate is still wet.
- Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes until chocolate is set. Remove from refrigerator at least 10 minutes before serving to allow the chocolate to soften.