Most tried and true couples are well aware of an inevitable fact about restaurants on Valentine’s Day: In cities big and small, the best restaurants will be overbooked or at least packed for evening dinner. Moreover, some love experts say sitting down for big meals at the start of an intimate evening can be an, ahem, appetite killer. Instead, why not maximize the evening’s potential by cutting dinner short or staying home altogether? Here are several recipes for homemade chocolates, desserts and cocktails:

Chocolates Recipes

Chocolate Truffles With Beer Sugar: This Bon Appetit recipe for truffles only requires four ingredients. Finding a block of bittersweet chocolate around Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be too difficult.

Chai Spice Truffles: Give Valentine’s Day chocolates an exotic spice twist with this Bon Appetit recipe. There’s no need to cut open your chai teabags if you can acquire the spices from your local market.

Homemade Chocolate Squares With Champagne and Brandy: Try something different (and boozy) with this chocolate recipe from Suzy, the chef behind the recipe website “The Mediterranean Dish.”

Dark Chocolate Bark With Roasted Almonds And Seeds: Break out of the mold with this Food and Wine recipe. The recipe calls for just three ingredients.

Dessert Recipes

Chocolate Bourbon Tart: This recipe by Food and Wine’s Michael Glissman yields a flaky crust and has the right note of smokiness from the bourbon. From start to finish, you’ll need about four hours to prepare it.

Chocolate Strawberries: This recipe puts a minty twist on a Valentine’s Day dessert classic. Jessie, the chef at “Life Is A Strawberry,” gives illustrated step-by-step directions to make the effort shine through in the finished product.

Red Velvet Angel Food Cake: A coconut cream cheese glaze tops this hybrid take on easy-bake cakes. The recipe by chefs at “Carlsbad Cravings” suggests a couple of options for decorating.

Specialty Cocktails

Rossini Cocktail: What’s Valentine’s Day without a red-colored drink? This Saveur recipe only requires pureed strawberries and chilled Prosecco.

Red Shoe Diary: This sweet concoction from Bon Appetit calls for blood oranges, which gives it a red hue. Make a run to the liquor store, if your bar isn’t already stocked with vermouth, Pisco and Campari.

Champagne Cocktail: This Food Network recipe calls for orange juice and raspberry liqueur.