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
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.