Whether you're putting on a Valentine's Day knees up or are snubbing Cupid and celebrating the single life, there are plenty of delicious ways to spend February 14th. Here are some of our alternative ideas…
Not everyone's a fan of cute, quaint and sometimes chintzy Valentine's traditions, so if you fancy doing something a bit different this year, here are some inspirational ideas. Share the love but shun the romance by throwing a blowout bash for family and friends, plan a singles-only soirée, or give some tongue-in-cheek gifts to celebrate in derisive style.
Cater for a crowd
Valentine's Day is a great excuse to get together, and whether you're planning a sit-down dinner or some casual buffet bites, we've got you covered. Plan your menu in advance with our recipe collections for dinner party starters, mouthwatering main courses and delicious desserts, or choose a selection from our buffet recipe collection - these halloumi fries are a real crowd-pleaser. If you're planning more of an elegant affair, our canapé collection is sure to impress.
Make a statement... in icing
Who says cookies have to be complimentary? These caption cookies are designed to be personalised with any message you like, so you can be as cute, cheeky or caustic as you like - have a look on Pinterest for some alternative Valentine's inspiration. Watch our how to make iced decorative biscuits video to see the flood technique in action.
Revamp classic colours
Experiment with food colouring and brightly coloured icing to transform the theme of our Valentine's baking recipes. Try using black food colouring instead of red in this hidden heart cake - you might need quite a lot to end up with something that looks like this black heart cake on Pinterest.
Alternatively, skip the pastry heart on top of these treacle tart hearts and flood the surface with black or dark purple icing for a dramatic finish.
Shelve sickly sweet cocktails
If you're bored of pink drinks that leave you feeling like you've downed a glass of syrup, try serving one of our refreshing alternatives. Our cranberry sours include tart frozen berries, orange and lime juice for a short, sharp fruity hit. If you're after something hot and spicy, homemade chilli vodka is perfect added to a Bloody Mary, or sip on a spiced mulled wine cocktail (main image above).
If you're after something darker, why not adapt our black Halloween cocktail recipe and use clever decoration to make it Valentine-themed. We love this clever idea of using half a passionfruit skewered on the side of the cocktail glass. More of a beer lover? Our five Guiness cocktails you can make in minutes are quick, easy and deliciously dark.
For those who don't drink, try our non-alcoholic driver's punch.
Create chocolates with a kick
Let's face it - there are only so many heart-shaped boxes of confectionary that anyone can stomach. But you can still get your cocoa quota with these bitter chocolate truffles or our fiery chocolate, mint and chilli truffles - perfect packaged up in a goodie bag to take away, or served alongside dessert on your party buffet table.
Banish cute cupcakes
This time of year, most cupcakes are known for being typically twee. Inject some satire by topping a classic sponge and buttercream with a fondant icing heart... then stabbing it with a sword-shaped cocktail stick. We've taken inspiration from these dagger through the heart cupcakes. Find sword-shaped cocktail sticks in specialist cook's shops.
Want to get that piping perfect? Watch our how to ice cupcakes video.
Are you throwing an alternative Valentine's Day party? Let us know what you're making and how you're celebrating in the comments below...