A Homemade Valentine's Day Picnic - The Bend Magazine

A Homemade Valentine’s Day Picnic

Pulled from the archives, Justin and Kayla Butts share their perfect Valentine's Day picnic recipes

By: Justin and Kayla Butts  Photos by: Rachel Benavides 

Packing a picnic is one of the best ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year in a safe and fun way. Although the weather might have other plans, bringing the picnic indoors is just as sweet! The thought and intention one puts into planning is sure to be appreciated on this special day of love. Whether you’re celebrating with your partner or best friends or wanting a treat yo’self moment, a beautiful display of treats is a good way to go.

Here are a few different recipe ideas to help make the preparation a bit easier on you! 



Makes 30 truffles

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Inactive Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes


8 oz high-quality bittersweet chocolate (at least 55% cacao)

4 oz high-quality semi-sweet chocolate

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream, preferably organic

2 tbsp unsalted butter

Optional add-ins to cream: 1⁄2 cup fresh herbs, 2 tbsp citrus zest, 1⁄2 vanilla bean, or 1 cinnamon stick

Optional add-ins to ganache: 1 tbsp liquer, 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ancho chile powder, 1/8 tsp fleur de sel, 1/3 cup pureed fruit, 1 tsp instant espresso

For coating: high-quality cacao powder, powdered sugar, toasted coconut, or finely chopped toasted nuts


Combine 4 oz bittersweet chocolate and all of the semi-sweet chocolate into food processor bowl. Process until the size of hazelnuts, then pulse until pieces are very neat and uniform. Place in a small, dry stainless steel bowl. Process remaining bittersweet chocolate in the same matter, and set aside.

Heat cream and butter (as well as optional ingredient, as desired) in a small saucepan over medium heat until boiling. Add cream mixture to bowl of chocolate. Using a wooden spoon, begin quickly stirring in small concentric circles until all of the cream has been incorporated into the chocolate. If un-melted chocolate pieces remain, place bowl over hot (not boiling) water, and continue to stir until all of the chocolate melts. 


Remove from heat (add in option- all ingredients, as desired) and let stand at room temperature for one hour (or place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes). The ganache should be close to the consistency of frosting.

Using two teaspoons, form a ball from the ganache approximately 1” in diameter and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Continue forming the truffles, working quickly, until you have used all of the ganache. Place cookie sheet in the refrigerator for an additional 10 minutes.

Place reserved chocolate over medium-low heat in a double boiler and stir until melted. Remove from heat. Form an assembly line with coatings and melted chocolate. Remove ganache from the refrigerator. Roll the chilled ganache in between your palms to achieve the desired round shape. Using a fork, dip the formed ganache into the melted chocolate, tapping the excess chocolate back into the bowl until no additional chocolate drips from your truffle. Roll the truffle in the coating of your choice and place on a clean parchment-lined cookie sheet. Store in the refrigerator up to one week.


This bread is versatile, great for dipping, and can hold up to heavy spreads.

Serves 4

Prep time: 10 minutes

Inactive prep time: 10 hours 

Cook time: 40 minutes


4 cups bread our

1 package (2 1⁄4 tsp) yeast

1 1⁄2 cups water

4 tbsp butter, room temperature 1 tbsp salt



Combine 2 cups flour, yeast, and water in a large bowl. Stir until a thick batter is formed. Cover with a tea towel and let sit overnight.

The next day, mix in butter, salt, and the remaining flour. Knead dough until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Return dough to bowl, cover with tea towel, and let rise one hour.

Punch down dough and remove from bowl. Form into a baguette shape and place on a cookie sheet. Let dough rise for one hour.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Score the bread using a sharp knife and bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and sounds hollow when thumped.


Yields one cup

Prep time: 15 min


2 cups heavy cream, preferably organic, from grass-fed cows

Ice water

1⁄4 tsp sea salt (optional)

1⁄2 cup chopped fresh herbs (optional)


Place cream in a blender or standing mixer. If using a mixer, secure plastic wrap around the circumference of the bowl by starting it at the top of the mixer and cascading it down the sides. Make sure lid to blender is tightly fitted.


Mix or blend on medium speed for 10-15 minutes, until cream has solidified and there is liquid at the bottom of the bowl. If desired, reserve this buttermilk in the refrigerator for later use. Wrap the butter in cheesecloth and squeeze out additional buttermilk. Rinse the butter with ice water several times, wringing out the buttermilk with each rinse, until the liquid be- comes clear.

Return butter to mixer and mix in salt and herbs if desired. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week or freeze for up to six months.