Monday, February 8, 2010

Delicious Homemade Valentine Treats

Need some ideas for decorating treats for Valentine's Day? Homemade treats are a wonderful way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It can be very satisfying to make homemade goodies for your family and they will love it. They also make great gifts!

Cakes, Cookies, Brownies
If you have a heart shaped cookie cutter, you can make a lot of heart shaped treats. You can cut out cookies, brownies, cakes, rice krispy treats, jello, sandwiches, biscuits, toast, pancakes, and lots of other stuff. Cookies, cakes, and brownies can then be frosted and decorated. Cookie cutters are relatively inexpensive and come in all kinds of sizes and shapes. If you don’t have one, you can cut out a cardboard heart pattern and cut out your treats using the pattern and a sharp knife
To decorate: You can frost with white or pink or red tinted frosting. Here is where you can really get creative. Write messages on them like “Love Ya” or “Be Mine” or simply write their names. Decorate with pink or red sprinkles, icing, tinted sugar, conversation hearts, pink M&Ms, chocolate pieces, tinted coconut, raspberry jam, cherries, strawberries, the list is endless. You can decorate cakes with cut out and decorated cookies. You can also make a heart stencil, place it over the cookie, and sprinkle sugar across the heart cutout. (You can make your own tinted sugar by placing some granulated sugar in a ziplock bag, add a few drops of food coloring, seal bag and massage until mixed.)

Heart Shaped Cake or Cupcakes
If you are lucky enough to have a heart shaped cake pan, you can easily make a heart shaped cake to frost and decorate. You could also make a jello mold, banana bread or even a meatloaf. Wilton makes heart shaped cake pans and cupcake pans. If you don’t have a special pan you can still make a heart shaped cake. Mix up a cake mix and bake it in one square pan and one round pan. Cool for 10 minutes and gently remove from pans. After it has cooled, cut the round layer in half. Arrange the square layer on a flat cookie sheet in a diamond and place one of each of the round layers with the cut side against each side of the diamond. Frost and decorate.

You can make heart shaped cupcakes or muffins with a regular cupcake pan and some marbles. Fill each line half way with batter. Drop one marble between the liner and the pan to make a heart shape and bake as usual.

You can buy many pretty candy melts and molds at craft stores like Michaels. They even come in kits. You can make all kinds of candy and it is easy and fun. You can also make traditional candy and decorate them.
Here are my favorite candy recipes:

2/3 cup carnation milk
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 ½ cup minimarshmellows
1 ½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla.

Mix milk, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan over low heat. Heat until boiling, then cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add marshmallow, chocolate chips, and vanilla. Stir until well mixed. Pour into butter 8 inch square baking pan. Cool. Cut into squares. Decorate.

Peanut Clusters

½ pound vanilla coating
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups peanuts
Melt chocolate and coating in the microwave for 2 ½ to 3 minutes until melted. Stir in nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls on to cookie sheet cover with wax paper, chill until firm. (Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)

21/2 packages Baker’s Semi Sweet Chocolate
1 package cream cheese, softened

Melt 8 chocolate squares. Beat cream cheese with mixer until creamy. Refrigerate until firm.
Shape into 36 balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. Melt remaining chocolate. Use a fork to dip cream cheese balls Return to cookie sheet. Decorate. Refrigerate for one hour. (Kraft)

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

16 oz milk chocolate chips
2 tbsp Shortening

Melt chocolate and shortening in a double boiler stirring occasionally until smooth. Stick a toothpick into each strawberry and dip into chocolate. Stick strawberry upside down into Styrofoam until cooled. (
Valentine’s Day is about making the special people in your life feel loved and appreciated. Cooking or baking them a special treat is one perfect way to show your love.

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