Like it or not, it's best to simply embrace that chocolate must play a key role in any Valentine's Day dinner.
But a chocolate tart or truffles or bonbons or even chocolate-dipped strawberries are so … cliche.
Maybe think a little outside the chocolate box this year. Maybe slip the chocolate in as a savory component to a steak dinner so rich and so delicious, you'll be tempted to abandon silverware as you eat it.
And you can.
Though mole dishes such as this beef version often are served over rice, I've instead paired it with a warmed, butter-drenched baguette. Torn hunks of crusty bread are perfect for sopping up the delicious sauce the beef tips are cooked in.
Beef Mole with Buttery Baguette
12-inch baguette, halved lengthwise
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ pound beef sirloin tips, cut into 1-inch chunks
¼ cup almond butter
¼ cup canned crushed tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Pinch ground cloves
½ cup water
Hot sauce, to taste
1 scallion, white and green parts, chopped
Nutrition information per serving: 670 calories; 400 calories from fat (60 percent of total calories); 45 g fat (16 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 120 mg cholesterol; 38 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 4 g sugar; 33 g protein; 810 mg sodium.