If you go by the displays in stores, or the television commercials and magazine ads, Saint Valentine’s Day is all about romantic love, hearts and flowers, expensive gifts, blah, blah. Not that I am against all that, but the celebrations and observances many of us practice every February 14 are also about children and the fun of trading those little paper cards. I thought I’d share some recipes you might want to prepare. Pre-decorated cookies and cupcakes also freeze well, in most cases.
I remember the times when the teacher would demand that we give valentines to everybody in our class, even the kids we couldn’t stand. You know -- the kid who sat in the back and flicked nasal missiles at anyone within launching distance; the kid who sneaked into the cloakroom (yes, we had those when I was in school) and gobbled up lunch box treats while everyone else was outside during recess; the kid who replaced a hard-boiled egg in someone’s lunch with a raw one, and it ended up splatted all over the teacher’s desk ... oh wait. That was me. (True story.) Here are some cookie and cupcake recipes for all of you, my valentines.
Sugar cookie hearts
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk
1. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs and vanilla; mix well.
2. Stir together flour, salt and baking soda; mix into the sugar mixture until well blended. Chill for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Divide dough into quarters. Roll out one quarter on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut into heart shapes with a 2-inch cutter; place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until the cookies are barely browned at the edges. Cool on a wire rack.
4. For the Icing: Mix together the confectioners’ sugar and milk until smooth. Spread or pipe onto the cookies.
Double kisses chocolate cupcakes
Courtesy of The Hershey Company.
About 60 Hershey’s Kisses milk chocolates
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2/3 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/3 cups water
1. Remove wrappers from chocolate pieces; set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line muffin cups (2 1/2-inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Combine butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl. Beat on high speed of mixer 3 minutes.
3. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt and baking powder; add alternately with water to butter mixture, beating just until blended. Fill prepared muffin cups about 1/2 full with batter. Place chocolate piece in center of each.
4. Bake 20 minutes or until top springs back when touched lightly in center. Remove from cups to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost as desired. Place another chocolate piece on top of each cupcake. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes.
Heart shaped white chocolate coconut blondies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup colorful sprinkle
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8-inch by 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, stir melted butter and sugar until smooth. Stir in egg, vanilla and salt.
3. Add flour and stir until well mixed then mix in white chocolate, colorful sprinkles and shredded coconut.
4. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out with just a few crumbs. Cool then cut into 14 small hearts or squares.