With Valentine's Day on a Saturday this year, why not opt for a night in instead of fighting the NYC crowds?

Chef Francois Payard believes that there's nothing more romantic than a homemade chocolate-- but he doesn't go around popularizing that theory: it's bad for business!

His Grand Cru Chuao Truffles are available at Francois Payard patisseries, but try your hand at making this easy treat for a sweetheart.

The key to a successful chocolate is high quality ingredients. Try chef-recommended lepicerie.com, New York Cake and Bake or your local specialty food store.

Ingredients:

17 ounces (482 grams) Valrhona Grand Cru Chuao chocolate, finely chopped

2½ tablespoons (50 grams) light corn syrup

2 cups (464 grams) heavy cream

1 fresh vanilla bean

Coating:

9 ounces (255 grams) bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1?cups (157 grams) unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder

Special Equipment:

Pastry Bag with a 1?4-Inch Plain Tip (Such as Ateco #2)

1. Chop the chocolate

This is to make the interior of the
This is to make the interior of the truffles. Watch your fingers! (Credit: Melissa Kravitz )

2. Place chopped chocolate and corn syrup in a large bowl

Set aside.
Set aside. (Credit: Melissa Kravitz )

3. In a medium saucepan, scrape the vanilla bean into the heavy cream

Bring the heavy cream to a boil.
Bring the heavy cream to a boil. (Credit: Melissa Kravitz )

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4. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate

Let stand for 30 seconds, allowing chocolate to
Let stand for 30 seconds, allowing chocolate to melt. The less you touch the chocolate, the better, Chef Payard advises. With chocolates, hands-off is best. Who knew being a chocolatier could be so simple? (Credit: Melissa Kravitz)

5. Whisk until smooth

Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about
Let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Place the chocolate mixture in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally, until it is the consistency of pudding, about 20 minutes. It should look shiny! (Credit: Melissa Kravitz )

6. Make the truffles!

Have a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
Have a baking sheet lined with parchment paper ready. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a ¼-inch plain tip with the chilled chocolate mixture. Pipe out ¾-inch mounds of the mixture onto the baking sheet. Chill the mounds for 15 minutes. (Credit: Melissa Kravitz )

7. Prepare to coat the truffles

Fill a medium saucepan one-third of the

Fill a medium saucepan one-third of the way with water and bring to a simmer.

Place remaining chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and put over the simmering water. Stir until chocolate is completely melted.

(Credit: Melissa Kravitz )

8. Coat the truffles

Place the cocoa powder in a shallow dish

Place the cocoa powder in a shallow dish or pie pan.

Using your palms, roll chocolate mounds into balls. Dip the truffles, one at a time, into the newly melted chocolate. Remove the truffles with a fork, allowing excess chocolate to drip off.

Using a fork, immediately roll the truffles in the cocoa powder, coating them completely. Store the truffles in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.

(Credit: Melissa Kravitz )

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Voila!

Merci, Chef!
Merci, Chef! (Credit: Melissa Kravitz )