Valentine’s day is both the best day to own a chocolate shop and the worst day to be single, especially if you’re broke. Anyone who has been single for their fair share of Valentine’s Days is familiar with the sinking realization that your night to be spent watching Netflix, eating some candy and not texting your ex – really, don’t do it.
First of all, this is a perfectly dignified way to spend any day, especially Valentine’s Day. But with a little planning, your Alone-entine’s Day (we went there) could be a little – or a lot – sweeter. Hershey’s chocolate bars are classic and delicious, but all too often they melt when you fall asleep eating one. You need the real stuff to handle this type of bitter loneliness. Instead, head down to Reading Terminal Market in Center City to get the job done. Mueller Chocolate Co. is a Philadelphia Chocolate company located in Reading Terminal on 12th and Arch that has been making quality chocolates since 1980. They are open as long as the Market (8a.m.-6p.m.) and serve every kind of chocolate treat you could imagine, even a chocolate covered onion for the more adventurous palate. Their prices are not outlandish either, the half-pound of chocolate that we used in the following recipes cost us a little over 10 dollars.
One of the main attractions of Mueller’s, as with all of the stores in Reading Terminal Market, is the locality. It is here, standing in front of the unbelievably-long counter stuffed with chocolate, that you will decide what sort of Valentine’s Day your single self will be having. Our personal favorites are the tiramisu truffles and the chocolate turtles, but there’s plenty for the traditional type, too.
Beyond this, their chocolate is made in small batches. Mass-produced chocolate bars, such as Hershey’s, will always have a place in our hearts but with Mueller’s you can really taste the quality (plus, you’re free of corporate guilt). The chocolate is smooth and not too sweet, the perfect combination to really allow the cocoa to shine through, as the star its mother always said it would never be. We tried both the dark and milk chocolate and found the milk had much more depth of flavor than most other milk chocolates. By this we mean it wasn’t just a sweet bar of sugar; the chocolate was the main attraction. As for the dark chocolate, you better like dark chocolate if you’re going to go with this option. Even more than the milk, the sweetness of the dark chocolate takes a serious backseat to an overwhelming but oh-so-satisfying flavor; unapologetically chocolatey without extra sugar and milk to dull it down. This same quality goes into all of their various candies. One of their more interesting sweets is anatomically correct chocolate organs, (in case you need to buy yourself a heart to share the day with).
So now what? You’ve got your candy, but that night of sitting in front of the TV, binge-watching The Office for the fifth time and blasting Adele is starting to feel more and more pathetic. While chocolate is pretty amazing on its own, it’s even better when it comes with a distraction from your less-than-Hallmark love life. Lucky for you, we have the perfect solution for that, too. Nothing takes a load off your mind like a project, and we’ve got not one, but two recipes for you to try out (and they’re a perfect companion for any breakup song).
Mueller’s has your baking needs covered, selling chocolate by the pound. For both our recipes, we totaled a quarter pound of milk chocolate and a quarter pound of dark chocolate. Some people stick to cocoa powder for their favorite brownie recipe but melted chocolate not only tastes better, it also adds moisture for that perfect chewy consistency. For the sake of presentation we baked ours in cupcake tins and added frosting hearts (we have too much time on our hands), but they taste just as delicious square-shaped. If you do go with the cupcake tins, make sure to grease inside of the tin well.
Valentine’s Day is just one out of 365 days a year. While the various rom-com’s and restaurant specials may not be the best mood-lifter, Valentine’s Day can be just as fun when you’re single, too. Being alone simply means there’s more candy to go around and that you don’t have to waste money on dinner for two. A little sugar and an embrace of your independence can be all you need to have a great Tuesday (or you can just blame it on the greeting card companies like the rest of us).
When You’re Feeling Downy Brownies
1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter
⅓ cup chocolate
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
¼ cup flour
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Melt butter and chocolate over medium heat, stirring frequently
- Beat together eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Fold in chocolate mixture
- Fold in flour and cocoa powder
- Pour into well-greased baking pan or cupcake tin
- Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the tray after 10 minutes.
- Top with your favorite decorations when cooled and enjoy!
Salty Singles Chocolate Covered Pretzels
4oz milk or dark chocolate
1 16oz bag pretzels (we recommend any with butter in the name)
1-2 Tbsp rainbow sprinkles
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or plastic wrap
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave or double-boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
- Dip pretzels in chocolate, covering completely (tip: a bent fork can double as a great dipping aid to give full coverage and few marks)
- Place on cookie sheet and add sprinkles
- Place in fridge for 15 minutes or until chocolate is set and dig in!