CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Get your heart-shaped cookie cutters ready. They're really the only special equipment required for these special Valentine's Day treats. Oh, and a marble ...
First, the easy and most obvious ones:
Heart-shaped toast spread with red raspberry, strawberry or cherry jam.
Heart-shaped pancakes: Place batter in pastry bag and pipe batter in heart shape on hot griddle, or cut pancakes in heart shapes after they are cooked.
Valentine sandwiches: Serve any variety on bread slices cut into hearts.
Sugar, or any other rolled cookie dough, cut with heart cookie cutters and prettily iced.
Peanut butter blossom cookies topped with heart-shaped chocolates such as Doves instead of Hershey's kisses.
Heart-dusted brownies: Cut pan of brownies into squares slightly larger than a heart cookie cutter. Place individual brownie on work surface, gently center cookie cutter on top. Dust with confectioners' sugar and remove cutter to leave a heart outline in the sugar.
Ice cream sandwiches: Place softened strawberry ice cream between two heart-shaped cookies and freeze.
Pizza: Use a tiny heart cookie cutter or freehand it to cut pepperoni slices into heart shapes. Or shape pizza crust into a heart before baking.
Linzer cookies with heart-shaped cutout center and red jam filling.
A bit more complicated:
Cinnamon roll hearts. Roll long sides of dough toward middle and slice to form heart-shaped rolls. Cheater tip: unroll refrigerated cinnamon rolls, like Pillsbury. Pinch each individual strip in the middle and roll ends to center to form hearts. Bake as directed.
Heart-shaped muffins: Turn a regular muffin pan into heart-cupcake pan with the simple addition of a marble. Placing a marble between the edge of the muffin cup and the cupcake liner before pouring in the batter creates a heart shape.
Heart-tugging treat brownies: Bake and cool brownies in oblong pan; remove from pan. Cut hearts using thick heart-shaped cutter. Ice smooth with icing and allow icing to harden for about 20 minutes. Pipe dots of cookie icing in contrasting color on top. Immediately drag a toothpick through dots to create extended heart shapes. Source: Wilton.com
Heart-shaped eggs and toast: Use a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, remove the center of a thick slice of bread, and toast it. Melt 1 1/2 teaspoons butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Place bread slice in skillet, and cook until underside is lightly browned. Add another 1 1/2 teaspoons butter and flip bread. Fit cookie cutter, coated with cooking spray, in bread's cutout heart, and crack an egg into cutter. Cover skillet, and cook until egg is set, 2 to 3 minutes. Use tongs to remove cutter. Serve with toasted heart for dipping into yolk. Source: marthastewart.com
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.Valentine's Pop-Tarts
1 package of refrigerated pie crust
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sugar sprinkles for dusting
HEAT oven to 400 degrees F.
TRANSFER pie crusts to a lightly floured surface and cut it into 2-inch by 3-inch rectangles. Tip: Measure the pieces with a ruler, score the crust with a knife and cut it with a pizza cutter.
SPOON about 2 teaspoons of strawberry jam onto one of the rectangles, leaving about 1/4 inch of space before the edge.
USE a cookie cutter or paring knife to cut heart shapes out of the second rectangle. Place the heart rectangle over the jam and seal the edges together with the tines of a fork.
BAKE on an ungreased cookie sheet for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool.
MIX the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla in a bowl and add food coloring if desired. Drizzle the glaze over the warm pop tarts and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
Cream cheese-swirled brownie hearts
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
HEAT oven to 350 degrees.
MELT butter and chocolate together, either on stovetop or microwave. Mix together until fully combined. Cool slightly.
BEAT together eggs, vanilla, sugar and cocoa powder in a mixer until combined. Add the chocolate to the mixer and beat until just combined.
ADD baking powder, salt and flour to the chocolate mixture and mix until the batter is totally incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the bottom of the bowl to fully mix.
POUR batter into a buttered 9-by-13 baking pan.
FOR cream cheese swirl, beat cream cheese and sugar in a clean mixing bowl until it is light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat again until everything is completely smooth.
DOLLOP the thickened batter onto the top of the brownie batter and drag a knife throughout, swirling it in as you go. Do not overmix or the cream cheese swirl will be lost.
BAKE for 40 to 45 minutes, or until knife inserted in the batter comes out clean.