Low Mileage Kitchen: Valentine’s Day mug dessert overflows with chocolate goodness

(Michael Jarecki~Chicago Sun-Times) Photo styling by Judith Dunbar Hines.

Recipe: Mugs of Love

Thinking about the perfect gift for your Valentine this week? A visit to the flower shop, candy store or lingerie counter usually come to mind. And you know that searching out the perfect bottle of Champagne and a sparkly bauble are always welcome.

Instead, this year why not try something unusual yet a little closer to home. How about a trip to the kitchen?

Sometimes the simple things are the most likely to stir the hearts of the ones we love. And everyone knows that nothing spells Valentine magic like chocolate, especially when it is prepared by the hands of someone dear to you.

In Chicago we are lucky to have the aroma of chocolate wafting around the North Side on a regular basis. Blommer’s chocolate factory not only produces products for most major food manufacturers, but their little retail store, tucked into the corner at Kinzie and Desplaines, has treats for the home cook as well.

And Downstate, the Kilgus family produces the richest milk and cream to enhance any recipe. Look for their products in many markets around town. Even Eataly, the new market just arrived from New York, recognizes that fact and includes their products on their voluminous shelves.

So open the cupboard and pull out a few ingredients, and in a few minutes the aroma of hot chocolate fills the house. No special equipment is required except oven-proof mugs. Little kitchen skill is necessary, just stir and bake.

A little surprise awaits — cake on top, pudding at the bottom. A swirl of whipped cream makes it extra special. Top with some red sprinkles if you have them.

You are assured your gift will be the right size and meet all other gift-giving requirements. Smiles are guaranteed. Anything more is up to you.