It’s that time of year again. Valentine's Day is upon us and the chocolate hearts are everywhere. Never fear—instead of spending exorbitant amounts of your hard-earned money on boxed chocolates, here are some super easy ways to turn ordinary snacks into the ultimate Valentine’s Day desserts.  

1. S'mores

Minerva Ho

Channel your anticipation for summer into Valentine’s Day. Although it’s a bit cold for outdoor bonfires (and your RA might not like you starting one in the courtyard), break out your microwave skills and pop some s’mores in.

To upgrade your s’mores, add some Valentine’s Day colors. Fresh (or frozen) strawberries and raspberries will add some summer-y sweetness, as well as that amazing decoration.

After you microwave your marshmallows and chocolate on top of two graham crackers, place the fruit on top of the chocolate. Top with additional chocolate and marshmallows you see fit. Assemble as usual and enjoy!

2. Cupcakes

cake, cupcake, champagne
Katie Davidson

Cupcakes are great for any occasion but in order to get them ready for Valentine’s Day, bring out the pink. This works best with vanilla cupcakes and frosting but any flavor will do. Red Velvet is also an excellent choice if food dye is not going to work for you.

Grab your favorite cupcake mix and prepare it according to the directions. Before you put them in the oven, add in a few drops of red food coloring. Stir the batter until it achieves your desired shade of pink. Warning: the color may fade slightly during the baking process, so add dye accordingly.

The fun doesn’t end there, however. Once the cupcakes are cool and ready to be frosted, grab your food dye again. Add a few drops of coloring and stir until the frosting turns pink as well. Apply your desired amount to the top of each cupcake. You can use a piping bag and decorative tip, or just spread the icing with a knife. Before you serve the cupcakes, place one or two candy hearts on top of each one to fully embrace the Valentine’s Day spirit. 

3. Giant Skillet Cookie 

Minerva Ho

The best part of Valentine’s Day is February 15th, when all of the leftover candy in the stores is on sale for super cheap prices. In order to enjoy it before it goes bad (although, let’s be real here—chocolate never goes bad), bake the chocolate into a giant, gooey skillet cookie.

Prepare your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough (either from scratch or grab a mix). Add a few big handfuls of chocolate candy into the batter and stir again. Then, place the whole mixture into a greased pie pan. Top with a generous layer of chocolate candies.

Put the giant cookie into the oven for about double the amount of cooking time on the the batter directions. When it is golden brown and the chocolate is melting, remove from the oven. Let cool (as long as you can wait) and enjoy. Suggested additional toppings: whipped cream, ice cream, and even more chocolate. 

In all honesty: Valentine's Day is only about the chocolate. Use these hacks to upgrade your desserts and love yourself on February 14th.