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Sure, you can sweeten Valentine’s Day with a treat from your favorite chocolatier, but because of how surprisingly easy it is to melt, temper, and mold chocolate, I like to observe the indulgent winter holiday by taking the task on myself. Homemade chocolates and hand-dipped treats are a thoughtful and inexpensive gift, and the activity itself makes a great date night project.

Whether you’re celebrating with a special someone or ignoring the holiday with friends, consider picking up a bottle of bubbly, a bag of couverture, and some of our favorite candy-making equipment.

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The Prettiest Marble Pastry Board – Williams-Sonoma French Pastry

Using a marble slab to cool chocolate during the tempering process, referred to as the “tabling method,” is both classic and efficient. Chocolatiers pour two-thirds of their melted chocolate over the slab and use an offset spatula and bench scraper to quickly spread and scrape it across the cool marble. When the chocolate reaches a perfect 80°, it’s folded into the remaining warm chocolate to achieve a perfect, glossy temper.

This beautiful, Spanish-made version from Williams-Sonoma is one of the more expensive pieces you can add to your confectionary arsenal, but its other uses make it easier to justify. Beyond chocolate work, this board is equally excellent for rolling out pie doughs as it is for serving cheese and charcuterie (not to mention the professional background it will add to all those Instagram shots you’re going to snap on it). Invest in this piece and you’ll immediately channel the true pastry professional you are meant to be.

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