Valentine's Day

The Romantic Desserts Kitchn Editors Heart the Most (Because: Valentine’s Day)

updated Mar 4, 2020
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Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and if you haven’t planned your date-night menu, we are here for you! After all, who better to ask for dinner advice than a group of editors who spend all day looking at recipes?

We asked our team to share their favorite after-dinner treats. From airy pavlovas to fudgy brownies, these are their suggestions for desserts that are guaranteed to impress.

1. Pavlova

“The first time I ever cooked for my boyfriend, I made a pavlova and refused to let him cut it into perfect servings. (Too fussy! Too much work!) Instead, I served the entire pavlova on a plate and we both dug into it with two spoons. To me, a pavlova will always be the perfect dessert for two. No matter how rustic it looks, pavlovas are always impressive. In fact, the rougher they look, the prettier they are!” — Jesse Szewczyk, Studio Food Editor

Get the recipe: Light, Airy Pavlova

2. Boulevardier

“My wife doesn’t have a sweet tooth. Our daughter bought her a box of chocolates for her birthday and they sat for months, forgotten, in the back of the pantry, until the girls and I finally found and ate them. But she does have a real taste for bitter things. (Reader, that’s why I married her.) So when I want to treat her to a special, romantic, post-dinner treat, I get out our best cocktail glasses, shave some fresh peel off an orange, and mix up a couple Boulevardiers. The thing is, they’re actually pretty sweet — both the sweet vermouth and the Campari are sugary — and it’s about as bright-red as any heart-shaped box of chocolates, so it’s even holiday-appropriate.” — Christopher Michel, Food Director

Get the recipe: The Boulevardier

Credit: Lauren Volo

3. Pantry Cocoa Brownies

“When I need to bake (on a spiritual level) it’s really just for me, but I often pretend that it’s for someone else. Does that count?” — Arie Knutson, News & Culture Editor

Get the recipe: Pantry Cocoa Brownies

4. Cheesecake

“I didn’t like cheesecake until my husband started requesting it, at which point I realized that I just didn’t like store-bought cheesecake! It’s now one of our go-to desserts to make.” — Kaitlin Garske, Social Media Manager

Get the recipe: How To Make Perfect Cheesecake

5. Vanilla Sheet Cake

“Ella, my eight-year-old daughter, and I love baking together. Every year we have steak frites for family Valentine’s dinner together and then she and I make dessert. When she was younger it was usually Rice Krispies Treats, but recently we’ve graduated to sheet cakes. This year she has her sights set on this vanilla cake. She even has heart-shaped sprinkles picked out. Obviously, we share it with the rest of the family. But the act of baking and decorating it is just for the two of us.” — Meghan Splawn, Associate Food Editor

Get the recipe: One-Bowl Vanilla Sheet Cake with Sprinkles

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

6. Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cake

“For Valentine’s Day, I like to bake my favorite Ina Garten chocolate cake into cupcakes. That way, I can share some with my friends and co-workers (so much easier to transport than a layer cake), and I always save some for myself and my boyfriend.” — Grace Elkus, Deputy Food Director

Read more: Why Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cake Is the Only One I’ll Ever Make

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Pearl Jones/Kitchn

7. Two-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse

“I always make two-ingredient chocolate mousse. It’s rich and decadent, and feels like something you’d get in a restaurant, but since there’s literally just two ingredients it’s super easy to pull together. To make it feel extra special I like to add a pinch of ground cinnamon or cardamom to the whipped cream topping and add some chocolate shavings as a garnish.” — Kelli Foster, Associate Food Editor

Get the recipe: How To Make the Absolute Easiest (2-Ingredient!) Chocolate Mousse

Credit: Minimalist Baker

8. Vegan Brownies

“Brownies are my husband’s love language. He can polish off an entire tray at one go and hates sharing them with anyone (including me!). Last year he started training for a marathon and had to cut back on processed sugar, which meant the end of his brownie affair. So for his birthday I decided to surprise him with these healthy-ish brownies from Minimalist Baker. They call for just four simple ingredients and not an ounce of processed sugar in sight. He loved them so much that I’m pretty sure I saw a tear slip out.” — Sholeen Damarwala, Commerce Editor

Get the recipe: Four-Ingredient Easy Vegan Brownies by Minimalist Baker

Credit: Hip Foodie Mom

9. Homemade Levain-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies

“My husband and I have wildly differing opinions on dessert, but there is one that we both not only agree on but obsess over — Levain Bakery cookies. They’re incredibly soft on the inside (almost doughy) and crisp on the outside with the perfect amount of chocolate chunks (the correct chocolate for cookies). Even though these are chocolate chip cookies, they are so much more than just chocolate chip cookies — they’re decadent and indulgent and it feels very special when we get them.” — Rebecca Longshore, Director of Audience Growth

Get the recipe: Copycat Levain Bakery Chocolate Chip Cookies

What’s your favorite romantic dessert for two? Let us know in the comments!