Riot Headline The Most Read Books on Goodreads This Week

Valentine Desserts: Chocolate, Candy, and Cake Cookbooks

Elizabeth Bastos

Staff Writer

Elizabeth Bastos has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe, and writes at her blog 19th-Century Lady Naturalist. Follow her on Twitter: @elizabethbastos

Looking to bake Valentine desserts, sweets for your sweetie? Or to woo someone new? Are you single? Dylan’s Candy Bar Unwrap Your Sweet Life by Dylan Lauren says, “Moping and feeling sorry for yourself is not an option. Hosting a Chocolate Movie Marathon is.” The book is relentlessly upbeat, like candy conversation hearts.

The fist-bumping and date-going Obamas seem very much in love, and no doubt they are aided by Bill Yosses, executive pastry chef to the White House who has written a dessert cookbook called The Perfect Finish. “Weigh all the ingredients,” Yosses writes, which, in certain circles, is a very political statement. Also he says, “Along with Napoleons, eclairs, and macaroons, Sachertortes are among the most famous bakery desserts in the world.” Both Republicans and Democrats will meet in the middle, with their forks raised over this dense chocolate-almond cake filled with apricot preserves.

Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for The Serious Sweet Tooth by Jill O’Connor has promise for best title of a regrettable one-night stand. Why not recover with Banoffe Pie? It is “a play on the words banana and toffee and is a popular British pudding invented in 1972.” O’Connor suggests you mound it with whipped cream – and how could you not? If you’re still feeling like trash, have a White Trash Panini (serves one). Take a croissant, split it, fill it with marshmallow fluff, a chocolate bar, and crunchy peanut butter, then warm press it until oozy. Yum.

With several cupcake books, not only will you and your honey “meet cute” in matching aprons, but together with your whisks you can cheaply travel the world. To London, with Cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery. To San Francisco (where many have lost their heart) with miette: san francisco’s most charming pastry shop. Try the Tomboy Cake: chocolate and pinkest pink raspberry buttercream that is, according to author Meg Ray, “unexpectedly voluptuous.”

The miette chapter on Afternoon Cakes might be just right for a snack after an afternooner, if you and your wife are into that sort of daytime debauch and can both get off work, to pull out of the oven a Lemon Tea Cake.

Dorie Greenspan, cake doyenne, invites you to Paris, city of romance and oh la la with Paris Sweets: Great Desserts from The City’s Best Pastry Shops. For a menage a trois, chocolate mousse, is “a trinity of cream, butter, and eggs.” The advice to achieve such a thing? “Work gently” and “it is the ideal mousse for people who can make it a la minute,” meaning, in English, a quickie.

Someone is always vegan, and if you are, or are dating one of them try Sweet Vegan: A Collection of All Vegan, Some Gluten-Free and A Few Raw Desserts by Emily Mainquist, which is a lot to put in your mouth. The carrot cake and the almond jam cookies, that is. But the word “butter substitute” makes me sad, and reminds me of “Memory,” the terrific and achingly sweet Y.B. Yeats’ poem. Can one ever really give up butter? “The mountain grass/ Cannot but keep the form / Where the mountain hare has lain.”