Tag Archives: valentine’s day
2/1/14

Conversation Heart Cookies

conversation heart cookies

A few years ago I made my first batch of Conversation Heart Cookies. Because, even though I try to every year, I really don’t like the taste of Conversation Heart Candies. So I made a cookie-lookalike, and the craziest thing happened. It went viral on Pinterest. As in, featured on the “most popular” category and all. It was a big surprise, in a crazy cool kinda way. To this day, it’s still one of my most-viewed posts. Continue reading

2/11/13

Valentine’s Day Recipe Roundup

I know it’s silly, but I like Valentine’s Day. Sure it’s totally commercialized and overdone, but I appreciate the reminder to tell my nearest and dearest that I love and appreciate them. And it never gets old to hear the same from others.

Besides feelin the love, it certainly doesn’t hurt that I have a major sweet tooth – and there are always delicious treats for Valentine’s Day. Below I’ve rounded up a few of my favorites. If you’re running behind, you have a few days to get your act together!

How are you celebrating?

Valentine's Day dessert recipes

Raspberries and cream beer floats

Brownie marshmallow sandwiches with strawberry syrup

Dark chocolate dipped macadamia nut shortbread cookies

Rhubarb citrus frozen yogurt

Conversation heart cookies

1/31/13

Brownie Marshmallow Sandwich with Strawberry Sauce

Brownie Marshmallow Sandwich with Strawberry Sauce

Brownies were, by far, my all-time favorite treat growing up. As in, made-from-a-box, just-add-eggs-and-water brownie. To this day, I always have a box of brownie mix in my cupboard. Just in case.

And it sure came in handy when I got inspired to create a decadent treat for my Valentine. I’m a little obsessed with making homemade marshmallows, and have had my fair share of hot chocolate and marshmallows this winter. It’s also one of Sam’s favorite combos.Brownie Marshmallow Sandwich with Strawberry Syrup

Playing on the chocolate-marshmallow combo, I baked brownies and whipped up a sheet of vanilla marshmallows.

Brownie Marshmallow Sandwich with Strawberry Syrup

With a large heart-shaped cookie cutter, I stamped hearts out of both the brownie and marshmallow sheets. Then I stacked the cut outs into layers. And because I just couldn’t help myself, I whipped up some strawberry syrup to drizzle over. Looks romantic-ish, right?

Brownie Marshmallow Sandwich with Strawberry Syrup

What I didn’t plan for was coming down with a pretty bad cold. Sam wouldn’t come anywhere near me. In his defense, I would have done the same thing had the roles been reversed.

Brownie Marshmallow Sandwich with Strawberry SyrupSo to make him a bit more… comfortable, I was able to squeeze out a few smaller desserts using the sheets of marshmallows and brownies I had already made, and a smaller cookie cutter.

Brownie Marshmallow Sandwich with Strawberry Syrup

We both thoroughly enjoyed this taste of Valentine’s Day. Even if it was from separate plates 🙂

Brownie Sandwich with Vanilla Marshmallow and Strawberry Sauce

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Ingredients
1 box of brownie mix and necessary add-ins
cooking spray
2 cups sugar
1 T light corn syrup
4 packages (1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
2 cups strawberry
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 T fresh squeezed lemon

Instructions
Brownies: Follow instructions on box and bake in 13×9 baking pan. Once baked and cooled, stamp with heart-shaped cookie cutter.

Vanilla Marshmallows
Coat an 13×9 square pan with cooking spray; line bottom with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with cooking spray, and set pan aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring; let mixture come to a boil. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until mixture registers 260 degrees on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 cup water in a heatproof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in extract; set aside. Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture; with mixer running, gradually add to egg whites. Mix on high speed until very thick, 12 to 15 minutes. Pour mixture into lined pan. Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, at least 3 hours. Stamp with cookie cutter.
Strawberry Syrup: Cream strawberries, powdered sugar and lemon in food processor until smooth.
Stack brownie and marshmallow cut outs, and top with strawberry syrup.

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/

 
Strawberry Syrup adapted from this recipe for Raspberry Sauce.

1/16/13

I ♥ Chocolate Dipped Macadamia Nut Shortbread

Dark chocolate dipped macadamia nut shortbread cookies

I have a very eclectic selection of cookie cutters.

Some of the most random ones include: squirrels and greek letters. These are unrelated. Promise.

Dark chocolate dipped macadamia nut shortbread cookies

Although the heart cookie cutter is probably the most normal one, it only comes out once a year, in February.

Last year for Valentine’s Day I made Conversation heart cookies that my friends and colleagues loved. This year I made a personal favorite: macadamia nut shortbread dipped in dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate dipped macadamia nut shortbread cookies
 
I didn’t make up this combination, but I can certainly appreciate it.

Life sure is sweet. xo

Dark chocolate dipped macadamia nut shortbread cookies
 
Chocolate Dipped Macadamia Shortbread
Serves 2

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Ingredients
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cup flour
1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
An extra 1/4 cup macadamia nuts finely chopped to use as a topping
8 oz. chocolate (I prefer dark)
1/4 cup shortening

Instructions
Cream the butter until smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla. When combined, slowly add the flour and beat until incorporated. Mix in the coarsely chopped mac nuts. Pat the dough into a ball and refrigerate in a large ziplock bag or plastic wrap for 2 hours. Heat the oven to 300 degrees F and remove dough from refrigerator. Roll out to 1/4-1/2 inch, and stamp with cookie cutters (or, simply roll into log and slice). Place pieces on ungreased baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes or until the cookies turn golden around the edges. Remove from oven and place cookies on a cooling rack. In the meantime, melt the chocolate and shortening, and dip (or drizzle!) over cookies. Sprinkle with finely chopped mac nuts, if desired, and let cool.

Margaritas in the Rain http://margaritasintherain.com/

Chocolate Dipped Macadamia Shortbread

Makes approx. 2 dozen large cookies
Adapted from Use Real Butter

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cup flour
1 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
An extra 1/4 cup macadamia nuts finely chopped to use as a topping
8 oz. chocolate (I prefer dark)
1/4 cup shortening

Instructions:
Cream the butter until smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla. When combined, slowly add the flour and beat until incorporated. Mix in the coarsely chopped mac nuts. Pat the dough into a ball and refrigerate in a large ziplock bag or plastic wrap for 2 hours. Heat the oven to 300 degrees F and remove dough from refrigerator. Roll out to 1/4-1/2 inch, and stamp with cookie cutters (or, simply roll into log and slice). Place pieces on ungreased baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes or until the cookies turn golden around the edges. Remove from oven and place cookies on a cooling rack. In the meantime,  melt the chocolate and shortening, and dip (or drizzle!) over cookies. Sprinkle with finely chopped mac nuts, if desired, and let cool.

1/23/12

Sweetheart Cookies

For almost two years now, we’ve been on buckle-down-and-get-Sam-through-grad-school mode. That said, our gift exchanges have been pretty minimal, and homemade wherever possible. From coupons to hand-drawn notes, we’ve pulled every creative card in the book.

Valentine’s Day is no exception – and love it or hate it, the holiday is right around the corner. This year, I wanted to test a new recipe that plays off the classic Valentine’s Day treat, Sweethearts. The recipe turned out to be successful (and an inexpensive treat!) so I thought I’d share the idea.

{Traditional Candy Sweethearts}
{My Sweetheart Cookies}

1.  Mix together your favorite sugar cookie dough recipe. Here’s mine:

Super Soft and Cake-Like Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups + 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
2 eggs
8 ounces light sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons baking powder
Approximately 4 ½ cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add wet ingredients – eggs, sour cream and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine salt, baking soda and baking powder. Slowly mix into wet ingredients. Add flour slowly, adding more or less if needed.

2. Chill dough.
3. Once chilled, separate dough into six sections. Re-mix each ball of dough with a different color icing gel.

4. Once all the dough is colored, roll each colored section out ¼ inch thick onto a lightly floured surface. Stamp with heart cookie cutter.

5. Bake on lightly greased cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes. Don’t over bake.
6. Wait patiently for cookies to cool. Or don’t, and sample one.

7. Once cookies are cool (and taste-test approved), write messages carefully using edible color markers.

Voila, candy heart cookies! And, if I do say so myself, they taste way better than the traditional candy treat. Try the recipe for yourself, and let me know what you think.

Cost of Materials
Baking ingredients – items already in pantry: $0
Cookie Cutter: $0.99
Wilton Icing Gel color pack: $6
FoodWriter Edible Color Markers: $5
Total: $12