We’re one day away from V-Day, so I thought I’d be (sort of) nice and share with you all a recipe for anatomical mint cream centered chocolate hearts and a matching coffin box that, should you choose, could technically be made and given to someone you care about.
Of course, if we’re talking technicalities, you could also technically make this entire project, recipe and all, keep the chocolates for yourself and instead fill the box with spiders and give that to whoever you want, but that’s purely up to you and how you feel about whoever you’re making this for.
Do what you want. I’m just here for the chocolate…and maybe the spiders. But mostly chocolate.
And by the way, this post contains affiliate links. You can read my whole disclosure here.
To make your own anatomical mint cream heart cream centered chocolate hearts, you will need:
- 12 ounces of high quality *white chocolate or 1 bag of red candy melts and 2 tablespoons white candy melts
- *If using white chocolate, you will also need red powdered food coloring.
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
- ½ can (about ½ cup) sweetened condensed milk
- ½ cup butter, melted
- ½ Tablespoon flavoring of your choice (mint, vanilla, almond, etc.)
You will also need:
- Small, microwave safe bowl
- Larger mixing bowl
- Anatomical heart mold
- Red paper mini-muffin cups
- Red food coloring
- Parchment paper
- 4 chopsticks
- Food-safe paint brush
- Coffin box (full directions down below…along with the template. Just keep scrolling.)
The first thing we’re gonna do is temper our white chocolate. These instructions are ONLY for the people using real white chocolate. If you’re using candy melts, just zap those bastards in a microwave safe bowl for 15 seconds at a time, stirring between each zap until smooth and melted and jump ahead to the part where we start using our food safe paintbrush to put chocolate in our molds.
Tempering white chocolate:
Yes, this method is long, drawn out, overly specific, and prone to disaster every step of the way. It’s also going to mean your chocolates are doubly delicious, doubly smooth, and ten times classier than if you used candy melts alone.
Of course, as I’ve said before, I don’t judge, so if you read all this and say to yourself, “Hell no, I’m sticking with the cheap shit and using candy melts,” that’s fine as well. We’re just making sure y’all have options here.
Divide your white chocolate up into quarters. Bring the water in your double boiler up to a boil and then turn off the flame. Pop 3/4 of your chocolate into your double boiler over the hot water and allow the chocolate to melt. Use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature of your chocolate making sure the tip is not resting on the bottom of the pot and giving you a false reading. You will want the thermometer halfway between the bottom of the pot and the top edge of your pot. For properly tempered chocolate you’re going to want the chocolate to get to right around 110F/43C. Once it hits this temperature, remove from the heat.
Sprinkle in your unmelted white chocolate, a bit at a time, stirring constantly but slowly (you don’t want air bubbles). As this new chocolate melts, it will lower the temperature of your already melted white chocolate. Ideally, you want the temperature to cool to a warm but not hot 83F/28C.
When the chocolate reaches 83F/28C, maintain that temperature by either hitting the sides of the bowl with a hairdryer in 5-10 second increments or by placing on a heating pad turned to low. Whatever you do, while you’re working with it, don’t let the melted chocolate get below 83F or above 87F/30C. Make sure you keep your candy thermometer in the bowl at all times to monitor the temperature.
Check your tempering efforts by dipping a spoon into your melted white chocolate and allowing it to harden at room temperature. Properly tempered chocolate should harden dry with a shine to it. If it does, congratulations, you’ve properly tempered your chocolate.
If it doesn’t, you can try this technique again, or just say screw it and use candy melts instead.
Like I said, I’m not gonna judge you either way.
Once your white chocolate is melted (regardless of what method or chocolate product you’re using), use your food safe paintbrush and give each of your heart mold cavities a thin swipe of chocolate, focusing on the center along where the veins and valves are. In a real heart, this would be fat as well as what is called the “silver skin.”
(To see how a real heart looks complete with silver skin, check out my recipe, Roasted Heart of my Enemies, here.)
Pop your molds into the fridge for about 5 minutes or until the white chocolate is set.
*If using actual white chocolate in place of red candy melts, now is the time to add your powdered red food coloring to the remainder of your chocolate. Notice I said powdered. The science side of the Nom would like to remind you that adding small amounts of water (ie, liquid food coloring) will cause your chocolate to sieze and turn into a crumbly, thick, nasty mess (you can read about that as well as why it happens in my truffle post here.) If you don’t have powdered food coloring, oil-based chocolate coloring will work as well…just make sure it’s not water based. Don’t forget to keep your white chocolate at that perfect 83F/87F temperature range!
Add in enough coloring to achieve a deep bright red and stir well to mix.
Start by first laying down a good swipe or two of red using your food safe paint brush right on top of your earlier white layer and allow this to firm up for a minute or two.
Pour your cooled but still liquid red chocolate into your heart-shaped mold, filling each cup all the way to the top. Let the candy sit for about 3 minutes, then carefully pour the excess back into your melting bowl.
Stack your chopsticks into a frame shape just slightly smaller than your heart mold over a piece of parchment paper. Invert your mold over this chopstick frame and allow the excess chocolate to drain out for approximately 10 minutes.
Turn your mold right side up and use your spatula to scrape the excess chocolate off the top and sides of your mold. Pop the mold (still right side up) into your fridge for another additional 10 minutes to allow your chocolate to really set and firm up.
While your hearts are chilling, combine 2 cups of your powdered sugar with the melted butter, your sweetened condensed milk and the flavoring of your choice (I used mint for this batch, hence the title mint hearts, but really, any flavor you choose is fine). The mixture should come together into an incredibly thick and sticky dough.
When it’s too thick to continue mixing, turn out onto a surface liberally dusted with more of your powdered sugar.
Knead the dough, adding more powdered sugar as needed, until you end up with a dough that is pliable and glossy.
Now is also the time to add in any food coloring you want. I opted for an equally deep red. Just knead this into your dough as well. If using the powdered food coloring, just mix it right in and knead to combine. If using liquid food coloring, be aware you may need extra powdered sugar to help balance out the liquid you’re introducing to your dough. Again, you want the dough to be smooth and pliable, but not overly sticky.
Remove your chocolate heart shells from the fridge.
Pinch off a small amount of your dough and press into your heart molds and fill them up, making sure you leave a small amount of space between the top of your dough and the top of the mold to accommodate for another layer of melted chocolate.
Pour the remainder of your melted red chocolate on top of your now filled heart molds and again use your spatula to smooth down the edges and flatten the back.
Return the mold to the fridge for an additional and final 15-minutes.
Unmold your chocolates onto a plate and admire how incredible they look. Ooh, shiny and gorgeous!
Set these aside and let’s focus on making that coffin shaped chocolate box!
For this you will need:
- Coffin template for lid and main box
- Glue stick or double stick tape
- Pen or pencil
- Red card stock
- Black cardstock
- Black Washi tape
- Red Washi tape
- Tissue paper
- Items to decorate your final box (I used an old Christmas bow and a plastic spider)
Start by first printing out the template from the file here:
The file is a two 8 ½ x11” page .pdf. Make sure when you print them that you have your printer set portrait and “scale to fit media.”
Because I wanted to make my box extra fancy and use heavy, colored cardstock, I printed my two pages out on plain white printer paper and then glued them to two equally sized pieces of light cardboard, creating a template.
I wanted to make the outside of my coffin black and the inside red, so I traced each template piece twice, once on black and once on red. I also traced an additional lid onto some corrugated black specialty paper I picked up at the craft store to give my box some additional design texture on the outside.
You should end up with a minimum of four pieces total, two for the lid (one red and one black) and two for the main box (again, one red and one black). I ended up with five, as I also cut out an additional piece for my lid using the corrugated black cardboard.
Start by folding your two primary bottom box pieces along the dotted lines, bringing your flaps in towards the center of your box. I found that using the straight edge of a ruler helped me make sure my fold lines were crisp and sharp.
For both the inside and outside of your primary box, gently fold all your flaps upwards.
If you’re using textured paper and you’d like the texture to be seen, make sure for the interior piece that the right side of your paper is facing upward and for the exterior piece that the right side of your paper is on the downward side. This way when the two pieces are put together, the outside of your box will have the right side of your bottom paper facing outward and the inside will have the right side of the paper facing the interior of the box space.
Place a generous amount of glue on the inside section of your outside piece and glue your inside piece on top, sandwiching the glue between the two pieces. Allow this to dry.
Do the exact same thing with your coffin lid, again making sure that your inside piece is right side up and your outside piece is wrong side up when folding and gluing.
Once those two pieces are dry, it’s time to start gluing and assembling the flaps.
I found it was easier to work in a circular motion, first completing the inside flaps and then tackling the outside flaps as I glued. I’m including two more diagrams to try to explain this better than I can in just my words. To make it easier to see what I’m doing, I’ve color-coded them according to how my final coffin box will look (red and black).
Starting with your bottom coffin piece, first fold up your bottom inside flap of your red paper and glue your tab to the outside of the red flap next to it, making sure that the tab is on the outside of your inside piece (I know, it sounds way more complicated than it is, but the goal is to make sure that when you look into the box, all you see are the lines where the corners meet, not the tabs holding it all together.)
Continue folding and gluing your red flaps, tabs facing outward, until you complete the interior section of your coffin box base.
Repeat these steps with the black flaps of your coffin box base, again making sure that you’re tucking the tabs that you are using to glue the two pieces together into the “inside” of your box walls. You should also make sure, as you glue these black flaps together, that you also glue them to the red walls you created in the earlier steps. This makes your box stronger, provides support to your box walls, and helps to keep the whole thing together. Repeat these same steps with the lid.
Once all your flaps are properly folded and glued, use your scissors to clean up any unevenness on your edges. While both pieces should be sized exactly the same, stacking and gluing them on top of each other will leave you with a small ridge of your interior color peeking out above your exterior color. Just snip this off and even the whole edge out.
At this point you can stop if you’d like. You should now have a complete box that includes a base (bottom) and a lid. The outside should be black and the inside should be red.
To clean up the edges even more, I ran a strip of black Washi tape around the top edge of both my lid and main box, folding it over to cover both the outside and inside with an equal strip of black. I then ran a second red piece of Washi tape around the inside edge of the main box. This isn’t needed, but it cleans up the lines of the box and makes them pretty.
The, because I’m fancy and shit, I cut all the tabs off my black corrugated piece and glued that to my lid. I also glued an additional strip of vertical corrugated cardboard around the outside edge of my main box piece, but again, this is purely optional.
Finally, decorate the outside of your box any way your dark little heart desires. I picked up a few red bows from the craft store post-Christmas and found they were perfect for this project. I also added a single giant spider because, well…why not?
Line your box with a piece of black tissue paper. Now it’s time to add our chocolates (or spiders, depending on the direction you’re taking this project). Gently place each treat into a paper mini-muffin cup and transfer to your now decorated coffin box.
While this recipe only covers how to make the mint chocolate anatomical hearts, I also supplemented my gift box with a few white chocolate versions of my Raspberry Truffles as well as a few store-bought pieces I had from another box I purchased earlier in this week (I’m calling those research…)
Of course, as I stated at the very beginning of this post, you could also just not put any chocolates into the box and stuff it full of spiders instead…but that’s a decision you’re going to have to make.
Close up your box and give to your
victim intended…or better yet, just keep for yourself and enjoy!
Looking for more V-D ideas? Why not print out some fancy Nom exclusive VD cards to go with your box of
And if you’re still in the mood for even more hearts, here are four more recipes and a festive craft to get you going!