Valentine’s Day: Sweet Treats

If you aren’t looking forward to Valentine’s day, here are some sweet treats that will change your mind.  They are pretty, pink, and oh-so-adorable.  I so wish I had the time to whip up a few of these confections!
pink marshmallow bouquet, cute gift
An assorted marshmallow pop bouquet!  What could be cuter (and easier)?!  
From MommyGaga: 
Cake pops are all the rage right now. But they take so long to make, and even after many attempts at the art, my pops end up being a bit lumpy (even though delicious)! If you would like the cute cake pop look for a baby shower, birthday party or a Valentine’s Day treat but you don’t want the hassle, make Marshmallow Pops!

  1. First cut a small slit in the top of the marshmallows to allow you to insert your straw. If you skip this step you just might mash your marshmallows!
  2.  Insert the straws or Popsicle sticks and put them in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes. They do not take long to freeze and by doing this, the marshmallow is adhered more securely to the straw.
  3.  Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in the microwave on medium heat and stir every 30 seconds. White chocolate seems to burn a lot easier than regular chocolate so watch it closely! Add your food coloring if desired.
  4.  Next up is the fun part: decorating! Dip the frozen marshmallows in the white chocolate. You will want to tap the excess white chocolate off. The frozen marshmallow will make the chocolate harden quickly so don’t wait too long before dipping them into the sprinkles

Vodka lemonade sparklers
Adult Lemonade – not for the kiddos!  To make: 2 oz. strawberry infused vodka | 2 oz. simple syrup | 2 oz. fresh lemon juice | Top with sparkling wine | Garnish with strawberries and mint

Valentines cookies...HAHA!!
Don’t even try to make these – they will never be as cute.   Just pay $30 for the professionals to “handle” these handlebar mustache cookies – LOVE

cheesecake
Cheesecake candy hearts

Ingredients:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (15 squares)
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 stick butter (melted)
16 ounces (2 blocks) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
food coloring – pink, purple, blue, green, yellow, and red

Supplies Needed:
stand mixer or a mixing bowl and hand held mixer
rubber spatula
Wilton Heart Shaped Silicone Molds
fine tip paint brush (new or food only brush)
roasting pan big enough to fit your heart shaped molds

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. You will need a water bath to bake your cheesecakes, so place your roasting pan in the oven filled with enough water to go half way up the sides of your heart molds -allow the water to heat along with the oven. Combine graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, and melted butter, stirring until it looks like sand. Spoon out about a tablespoon of crumb mixture into each heart cavity. Press the crumbs down making an even crust. Refrigerate until ready to fill with cheesecake mixture. Note: If you are only making 12 cheesecakes, you will have some of this leftover.


In the bowl beat the cream cheese on medium high until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add sugar and beat for one minute. Add eggs and beat until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl once. Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix just to combine.

Equally divide the filling among 6 bowls. Add food coloring to create the colors you’d like. It took between five and eight drops of color to achieve the colors of my cakes. For orange, mix yellow and red together. If you prefer, you can add fruit purees instead.

Pour colored cheesecake filling into the heart shaped cavities in your Wilton silicone mold. 


If you are making 12 larger hearts, then fill the cavities to the top, if you are making 18, then only fill them about 3/4 full. If making 12, you will have a few tablespoonfuls of each color left over.  Bake for 15-28 minutes, depending on the size of your molds (45 minutes for a whole cheesecake.) When finished baking, the center of each cake should still jiggle but look set, not soupy. If you fill them 3/4 full, then go with 20-25 minutes and about 15 minutes for the mini cakes.

The easiest way to get these cheesecakes out of the molds is to freeze them for a few hours. They pop right out. I only broke off a tiny piece of crust from one of my hearts after allowing them to freeze for two hours.  Squeeze a few drops of red food coloring into a small bowl. Use a fine tip paintbrush to paint conversation heart sayings onto each cheesecake heart.  

Pink Ombre Swirl Cake.
Pink Ombre Swirl Cake – courtesy of Glorious Treats.  I don’t have the talent or the patience for this one – 
gorgeous though it is.  My advice, put in a custom order at a bakery!
.
Paradise Sugar Cookies with Magnolia Bakery Buttercream Frosting
Magnolia Bakery’s Famous Sugar Cookies.  Order them online or make them yourself:
Sugar Cookies:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup powdered sugar
2 cups vegetable shortening
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg, beaten
4 1/3 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tsp. orange zest (not flavoring) optional

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugars and shortening using an electric mixer.
  3. Mix on slow speed 30 seconds, then scrape down the bowl with a spatula.
  4. Increase speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes.
  5. Slowly add vanilla and beaten egg while mixing.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gradually add the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, mixing on slow speed until just blended. Do not overmix.
  7. Scoop with an ice-cream scoop if decorating with sugar only
  8. Place directly on cookie sheet.
  9. Bake at 375° for 9-10 minutes. Cookies are done when small cracks appear and are pale golden. Ideally, the edges do not brown.
Buttercream Frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6 to 8 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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