Sweets for the Sweet: Valentine's Day Recipes
Chocolate, cookies, sweet things for sweet people. Whether it's a special someone or a class of students, here are some great recipes for Feb. 14.
Chocolate Covered Oreo Lollipops
My sister, a horseback riding instructor, made these for her students last year.
- Package of Oreos
- Lollipop sticks (available in craft stores)
- Bag of chocolate chips
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil (Optional)
- Melt the chocolate, either in a double boiler or a microwave. If you use a microwave, add in 1 tbsp of vegetable oil, and microwave for about a minute or two at a time. Repeat until the chocolate has melted. (More tips at About.Com's Busy Cooks section)
- Dip a Lollipop stick into the chocolate, and then insert into the "Stuf" between the Oreo cookies. Leave for about a minute per lollipop. Repeat until you have made as many lollipops as you require.
- Spoon chocolate onto the Oreos, or dip the cookies in chocolate. Leave the cookies to cool in the fridge until the chocolate hardens.
Recipe yields 3 cups (24 strawberries)
- 16 ounces milk chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves
- Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries.
- In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding them by the toothpicks, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture.
- Turn the strawberries upside down and place them on a sheet of wax paper for the chocolate to cool.
- 3-4 medium beets (about 1/2 pound)
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch nutmeg
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup buttermilk, or 1/3 cup plain yogurt mixed with 1/3 cup milk
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing pan
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil, plus more for roasting beets
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
First make beet puree: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Trim greens from beets, leaving about one inch of stem attached; gently scrub beets to remove loose dirt. Place whole beets in a small baking pan and toss lightly with just enough olive oil to coat. Cover the pan tightly with a layer of aluminum foil and roast in the oven until beets are tender, about 45 minutes. Remove pan from oven, uncover and let rest until beets are cool enough to handle, at least 20 minutes. Slip off the skins and remaining stems using your fingertips. (Wear gloves to avoid staining your skin.) Chop beets into large chunks and puree in a blender until smooth. You should have about 1 cup beet puree.
Maintain oven temperature at 375 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper cup liners. In a 3-quart or larger mixing bowl, combine flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg; set aside.
Add eggs, buttermilk, sugar, butter, oil and vanilla to blender jar with beet puree and blend until thoroughly combined. (Alternatively, you may mix these ingredients by hand in a medium bowl.)
Pour the beet mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a large spoon until just combined; do not overmix. Batter will be somewhat lumpy. Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips with a few quick strokes.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan, filling cups almost to the top. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean or with only crumbs attached.
Let muffins cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then remove from pan to finish cooling on a rack. Serve or freeze within a few hours.
Notes: Beet puree may be frozen for later use; defrost fully before proceeding. Muffin recipe may be doubled to yield 24 muffins or 16 jumbo muffins. For jumbo muffins, increase baking time by about 5 minute and be sure to grease top surface of muffin pans as well as the cups.
Cookie Dough Ingredients
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
This is Alton Brown's recipe for sugar cookie dough, although you could use your own.
- 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate juice
- Small red sugar hearts, for decorating
- Equipment: 2 1/4-inch round cookie cutter, 1 1/2-by-1-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Sprinkle a work surface and rolling pin with confectioner's sugar and roll out dough to 1/8-inch thick. Move dough frequently to prevent it from sticking and add more confectioner's sugar to the work surface and rolling pin as needed. With a 2 1/4-inch round cookie cutter, cut 72 dough rounds, re-rolling dough as needed. With a small heart-shaped cookie cutter (about 1 1/2-by-1-inch), cut hearts from the center of half the dough rounds. Place the rounds and cutouts about 1 inch apart on parchment -lined baking sheets. Bake until just set but not brown, about 6-8 minutes. Let cool on the pan slightly before transferring to a rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the filling: In a small bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, butter, confectioner's sugar, and pomegranate juice until smooth and fluffy. Spread about 1 teaspoon filling on each round cookie and top with a cut-out cookie. Place a red candy heart in the center of each. Leftover filling can be used to sandwich the small hearts together.
From Newton Patch Local Editor Melanie Graham
A comibination of traditional Sex on the Beach and Bellini drinks
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice
- 1 1/2 ounces orange juice
- 2/3 ounces peach puree (add more or less depending on how sweet you like it)
- Sparkling wine or Prosecco (Prosecco is typically sweeter)
1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and place vodka, cranberry juice, orange juice and peach puree in the shaker.
2. Shake drink mixture a few times until combined and strain into a champagne flute.
3. Float sparkling wine/Prosecco on top of the mixture and enjoy!