Use these spices and herbs to heat up your Valentine’s Day

Make chocolate bark for your love for Valentine's Day. (Sarah Keiffer/For Food52)

Make chocolate bark for your love for Valentine’s Day. (Sarah Keiffer/For Food52)

Looking for love? There are a few herbs and spices that can kick things up a notch for Valentine’s fun.

Anna Russ, a former biotech/oncology researcher and now proprietor of Anna Apotheca, an Atlanta-based lifestyle company that specializes in Ayurvedic medicine and education, recommends a “his and hers” chocolate bark of bittersweet chocolate, cacao nibs, organic coconut flakes and toasted pistachios with lavender and shatavari for women, and a pinch of cayenne pepper and ashwagandha for men.

Russ suggests using herbs associated with Ayurvedic practices, which began in the Indian subcontinent thousands of years ago and focus on the prevention of disease. “In Western medicine, the focus is on treatment, not prevention,” says Russ.

Read more about Ayurvedic herbs here, and find the recipe for chocolate bark below:

 

His-and-Hers Chocolate Bark

Anna Russ of Anna Apotheca recommends this easy-prep chocolate bark as an Ayurvedic enhancement for Valentine’s Day.

 

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao), chopped

1/4 cup unsweetened flaked, organic coconut

3 tablespoons roasted, salted pistachios, chopped

1 and 1/2 tablespoons cacao nibs

 

For her:

Add a pinch each of lavender and shatavari

 

For him:

Add a pinch of cayenne and ashwagandha

 

Preheat oven to 350°. Spread out coconut on a rimmed baking sheet and toast, stirring occasionally, until most flakes are straw-colored, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.

Spread melted chocolate on baking mat in an even layer about 1/8″ thick. Scatter toasted coconut, pistachios, cacao nibs over the chocolate. On one half, scatter lavender and shatvari; on the other half scatter cayenne and ashwagandha.

Let chocolate cool completely, then break into pieces. Bark will keep for about a week stored in a cool place in an airtight container between layers of parchment.

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