Be Sweet To Your Sweet

Try these fun ideas to make your Valentine feel special.

Valentine Brownies

  • 1 bag minis mix chocolates
  • 1 bag dark chocolate hearts
  • 1 21-oz. box brownie mix
  • 1 16-oz. can vanilla frosting
  • Red food coloring
  • 1 9x13-inch cake pan
  • 3 resealable plastic bags
  • Parchment paper
  • Star tips, optional
  • 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line the cake pan with parchment paper.  Prepare the brownie mix according to the package directions.  Roughly chop the minis mix chocolates and fold them into the batter.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.  Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove from oven, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely.  Divide the frosting into thirds.  Tint one third bright red, one third light red, and leave the last third white.  Spoon the tinted frostings into separate resealable plastic bags and snip the corners.  If you have star tips, fit them into the bags before adding frosting.   Using a cookie cutter, cut out heart shapes from the brownie cake.  Decorate the hearts by piping random designs.  Place an unwrapped dark chocolate heart in the center of each cake.

Valentine Pizza

  • 1 (14-oz.)  can pizza sauce
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 15 slices vegetarian pepperoni
  • 1 (2.25 oz.) can sliced black olives
  • Refrigerated pizza dough or toasted English muffin halves
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Divide the dough into three portions.  Shape each piece into a heart shape about ½ inch thick.  Brush with olive oil, and spread a thin layer of pizza sauce on each pizza.  Sprinkle cheese over pizza sauce, and arrange tomatoes, zucchini, pepperoni, and sliced olives on top.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until cheese has melted and crust is browned.

Option:  Toasted English muffins may be used for individual pizzas.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

  • 4 (1-oz.) squares semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Grease an 8-inch round cake pan, and dust with cocoa powder.  In the top of a double boiler over lightly simmering water, melt chocolate and butter.  Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, cocoa powder, eggs and vanilla.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.  Slices can also be reheated for 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave before serving.

Easy Decadent Truffles

  • 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until well blended.  Stir in melted chocolate and vanilla until no streaks remain.  Refrigerate for about 1 hour.  Shape into 1 inch balls.

Options:  Roll truffles in ground walnuts (or any ground nuts), cocoa, coconut, confectioners' sugar, candy sprinkles, etc.  To flavor truffles with liqueurs or other flavorings, omit vanilla.  Divide truffle mixture into thirds.  Add 1 tablespoon liqueur (almond, coffee, orange) to each mixture; mix well.

Pouch Full of Promises

  • 2 bags of your favorite fun-sized candies
  • 3 pieces clear cellophane (15-inch squares)
  • 3 pieces of red curling ribbon (12-in. long)
  • 3 strands of fun, holiday ribbon (12-in. long)
  • 1 piece red construction paper or card stock
  • Hole puncher
  • Magic Marker

Place the desired amount of assorted candies in the center of each cellophane square.  Gather the sides of the cellophane up and around the candies, then twist the top closed.  Tie the top tightly with the holiday ribbon.  Using scissors, cut three 4-inch hearts from the red construction paper.  Using a hole puncher, make a hole in the top of each heart.  With a magic marker, write a special message for each of your Valentines on the hearts.  Thread each hole with a strand of the curling ribbon, and tie each heart to a pouch.