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Fun DIY Valentine’s Day treats

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This year, try one of these DIY Valentine's Day sweets.

This year, try one of these DIY Valentine's Day sweets.

 

Nearly as soon as the last of the Christmas decorations came down, the store shelves were being filled with hundreds of heart-shaped chocolate candies. Bursting with reds, pinks and whites, each aisle is a reminder that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. From secret love notes passed through the halls to the school Valentine’s Day dance, love is always in the air this time of year. Feb. 14 is a day to celebrate all those close to you by showing how much you care.

Rather than spending all your money on teddy bears, flowers or even overly priced cards this year, why not spend an afternoon whipping up one of these tasty homemade treats? Whether you’re baking for a sweetheart, a friend or your favorite family members, these indulgent desserts should be shared together.

Red velvet and cream cheese hearts
There’s nothing more romantic than the words red velvet, especially when it’s in the confectionery form. For a rich and delightful Valentine’s Day treat, consider making heart-shaped sandwiches the color of love. Get inspired with this recipe, which is best enjoyed with a glass of milk, from the Mini Baker.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 small box of instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons heavy cream or milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, plus extra for garnishing

Directions
Heat the oven to 350 degrees, and use parchment paper to line two baking sheets. In a bowl, combine cake mix, vanilla pudding mix, eggs, oil, flour and red food coloring. Mix well. Form balls of cookie dough that are about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and line on baking sheets. Flatten each cookie slightly. Lightly flour finger tips to form each piece of dough into a heart shape. Bake for 10 minutes, until cookies are set. Move to wiring rack to cool.

In another bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese for the frosting. Add in milk and vanilla, beating well. Sift powdered sugar over the mixture, and combine until smooth. Using a dull knife, spread cream cheese filling between two cookies. Top each cookie sandwich with a dash of powdered sugar.

Heart-shaped chocolate doughnuts
If your loved one is both a chocolate lover and a big fan of pastries, this recipe is for you. Double chocolate doughnuts topped with chocolate sprinkles make for a mouth-watering breakfast treat. You will need a heart-shaped doughnut pan for this recipe from the Hungry Girl por Vida blog. These chocolate doughnuts are also a great way to show your family some love on the morning of Feb. 14.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Red and pink heart-shaped sprinkles

Directions
Heat the oven to 350 degrees, and use cooking spray to grease the doughnut pan. In a large bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. In a separate small bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, unsalted butter and vanilla. Stir together wet and dry mixtures until they are just combined. Transfer the entire mixture to plastic bag, seal and cut off the tip. Use this to fill doughnut spaces in the pan, about half of the way to the top.

Bake doughnuts for 10 minutes. Time it with your BABY-G BGD560-4 watch. Let them cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then remove to let them finish cooling on a wire rack. In a clean bowl, mix together powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder and milk. For a thinner frosting, add more milk. For a thicker frosting, add more powdered sugar. Once doughnuts have cooled, frost each one and top with sprinkles.

Festive pink-dipped crisp rice treats
A classic treat, crisp rice snacks get dipped in colorfully festive chocolate melt and topped with heart-shaped sprinkles. Sweet and chewy, these fun cereal and marshmallow bites will be a big hit with all of your friends and loved ones. Follow this recipe from Cooking on the Side:

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
  • 1 package (10 oz) regular marshmallows
  • 6 cups crisped rice cereal
  • Candy melts or white chocolate chips
  • Red food coloring
  • Festive Valentine’s Day sprinkles

Directions
Use a large saucepan to melt the butter over low heat. Once melted, add marshmallows and stir continuously and then remove the saucepan from heat. Pour in 6 cups of crisped rice cereal, mixing thoroughly until completely coated.

Use cooking spray to coat a baking sheet. With a spatula, spread the rice cereal and marshmallow mixture evenly across the baking sheet. Allow it to set and cool. Then, use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to create individual treats.

Heat candy melts or chocolate chips based on package directions. Stir in red food coloring for desired color. Use more drops for a deeper red color and less for a soft pink. One by one, dip the heart-shaped treats into the colorful melted goodness, and then immediately top with sprinkles so that they stick. Be sure the candy sets before serving the treats.

Valentine’s Day bark
If baking isn’t exactly you’re thing, we have an easy-to-follow recipe from Genius Kitchen that requires only two ingredients. These white chocolate delights make an excellent gift for teachers, coaches, friends and neighbors. Once the bark has cooled, you can package it up in fun, festive bags with red and pink ribbon.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 bags white chocolate chips (18 ounces)
  • 1 cup red heart cinnamon candies

Directions
Heat the oven to 150 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour white chocolate chips over the paper, and bake for 5 minutes until they have spread and melted. Remove the baking sheet and use a spatula to flatten morsels evenly across the sheet. Sprinkle red cinnamon candies across the melted chocolate. Allow bark the to cool – you can do this in the freezer to save time. Then, break the bark up into tiny pieces that are ready to package and share.

Making and sharing these homemade treats this Valentine’s Day is a true gift from the heart.

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