My husband and I have never really celebrated Valentine’s Day, not since we were in high school, anyway (…yes, we were high school sweethearts!). I’m not really into all that mushy stuff, we rarely exchange gifts for holidays at all, actually, and our idea of the perfect night is one spent cuddled up on the couch with dinner and a movie (or Modern Family!). Most of all, we just don’t need an excuse to have a night dedicated to ‘us’ – we have them all the time!
Okay, I have to be honest and say that the girl in me thinks little pink hearts are absolutely adorable, melts for cutesy Valentine-themed anything and totally rocks socks covered in hearts. After all, pink is my favorite color! And Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to spend some extra time in the kitchen making something adorable! Not that I really need an excuse… So maybe I kind of love V-Day for my own reasons.
This year, I decided to whip up a batch of Cherry White Chocolate Bark! I am crazy for bark. I could go on and on about it, but I’ll cut to the chase. I LOVE how easy it is to make and how easy it is to adapt to any occasion or flavor combination! I also love how easy it is to EAT…I’m especially skilled at that part! Even the husband went gaga over this batch of bark and he is very particular when it comes to sweets. That means one thing and one thing only…this recipe is a winner!
Cherry White Chocolate Bark
- 1 12 oz bag of white chocolate chips
- 1 12 oz bag of red candy melts
- 1/2 tsp cherry flavoring (oil based)
- m&ms and sprinkles for decorating
- Melt red candy melts by method of your choice (I use the microwave). Let cool for a couple minutes and stir in the cherry flavoring. Spread on a sheet of wax paper or foil and let sit until completely hardened.
- Melt white chocolate chips by the method of you choice. Spread evenly over the first layer. Sprinkle with m&ms, sprinkles, and anything else you'd like to decorate your bark with. Let it sit until completely hardened.
- Break into bite-sized pieces.
You can substitute cherry chips instead of red candy melt and flavoring (my grocery store doesn't carry them, so I stuck with the flavoring).
Eggs in a Basket are pretty high on my list of favorite breakfast foods. And I Really love breakfast, so that’s saying something. To add a festive twist to this otherwise very ordinary breakfast, I used a heart cookie cutter to cut the center of the bread out. My heart isn’t as noticeable when cooked because the bread slid a little bit when I flipped it, but I promise it was there, see?
This really is so simple to make, just butter a pan and turn it to medium heat. Cut a hole in a slice of bread with a cookie cutter, glass, jar, or even tear it. You can cook it sunny side up if you’d like, just brown the bread on one side for a couple minutes, then flip it, and crack an egg into it. Cover and let cook until it is done. I prefer cracking the egg into the bread right away, cooking it on one side for a couple minutes, flipping it, and cooking the other side.
I don’t love store-bought marshmallows. They’re too sweet and spongy, and taste too artificial for me. Yes, they have their use for rice krispies treats and s’mores, but that’s as far as my concern for them goes. You can understand my confusion then, when I made peppermint marshmallows this past Christmas and fell in love. It’s a whole different ballgame. The texture and taste is so much different, and I actually want to eat these by the handful. These strawberry marshmallows are just as good and PERFECT for Valentine’s Day. I made the most adorable Strawberry Chocolate S’mores with them!
It’s not as hard as it might seem to make them, it just takes a little patience, and if you don’t have a stand mixer, some soapy water to clean the base of your hand mixer.
Strawberry Marshmallows (adapted from Betty Crocker)
- Butter for greasing
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 2 1/2 Tbsp unflavored gelatin
- ½ cup cold water
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup corn syrup
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup water
- 3 1/2 tsp strawberry extract
- 12-15 drops red food color
- Generously grease bottom and sides of 9×9 baking dish with butter; dust with 1 tablespoon of the powdered sugar. In bowl of stand mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water to soften; set aside.
- In 2-quart saucepan, heat granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and 1/2 cup water over low heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Heat to boiling; cook without stirring 30-45 minutes to 240°F on candy thermometer or until small amount of mixture dropped into cup of very cold water forms a ball that holds its shape but is pliable; remove from heat. If this is going very slowly, you can increase heat to medium-low.
- Slowly pour syrup into softened gelatin while beating on low speed. Increase speed to high; beat 8 to 10 minutes or until mixture is white and has almost tripled in volume. Add strawberry extract and food coloring; you can adjust flavor and color to your taste. Beat on high speed 1 minute. Pour into baking dish, patting lightly with wet hands. Let stand uncovered at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Dust cutting board with about 1 tablespoon powdered sugar. Place remaining powdered sugar in small bowl. To remove marshmallow mixture, loosen sides from dish and gently lift in one piece onto cutting board. Using sharp knife greased with butter, cut into squares of desired size (1 inch by 1 inch works well). Dust bottom and sides of each marshmallow by dipping into bowl of powdered sugar. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 weeks.
Notes: Don’t worry if your sugar mixture looks yellow as it boils, it will turn bright white when you start to beat it. I am very impatient, and the heating steps were taking longer than I felt they should have, so I actually had my heat at 3-4/10 to speed it up, and it was fine. For the heart marshmallows you see above, I sliced a piece in half to reduce the thickness, then pressed down with a buttered cookie cutter. I tried this with a smaller flower shaped cookie cutter that didn’t work as well – I think because the shape was not as simple as the heart.
How cute are these homemade chocolate graham crackers? And they were pretty easy to make, too!
I cut them into hearts for Valentine’s day, but you could do any shape, or just leave them rectangular! They tasted pretty close to the store-bought ones as far as flavor goes. They weren’t quite as crispy right out of the oven, but they hardened a bit after they were completely cool. I think I can safely say I won’t be buying graham crackers again!
- 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons cold milk
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut two pieces of parchment paper to fit in your cookie sheet.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, cocoa, sugar, and baking powder together. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry blender.
- Combine the honey and milk in a small bowl, stir until the honey dissolves completely in the milk.
- Add the liquid into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix in with a fork until the dough comes together. Add a little more milk if necessary.
- Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and fold it over gently 10 to 12 times, until smooth. Divide the dough in half and keep the remaining dough covered in the bowl. Transfer half the dough to a piece of parchment.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle shape until it is 1/16-inch thick. (It will be approx. 10 x 14 inches.) Trim the edges and prick the dough evenly with a fork. Place the rolled-out dough pieces on the lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. For the hearts, I rolled the dough, pressed the cookie cutter into it, and peeled up the scrap dough, and added it to the remaining half, which I shaped into a rectangle as instructed.
- Bake the crackers for 12-15 minutes, or until you begin to smell chocolate. Halfway through baking, sprinkle top of crackers with sugar.
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle with a little more sugar and immediately cut them into rectangles with a pizza wheel or knife if desired. Transfer to a cooling rack.
Notes: Be patient when cutting in the butter, don’t stop until it’s crumbly – it won’t stick together like a dough, but make sure the butter is well distributed. I ran a pizza cutter gently across the top before baking so the paired pieces would break apart when cooled (and to make the break in the heart), and then cut them into squares after they’d cooled for a couple minutes.
Cake batter anything easily earns my love, but cake batter rice krispies treats? Well, now we’re talking some serious delicious business. It’s a whole new world; one filled with yummy treats so cute you almost don’t want to eat them…and lots of sprinkles!
Sprinkles make everything better. When I was younger, I would actually buy quins just to eat them by the handful… What can I say, I love sugar! Don’t know what a quin is? They’re the flat-ish sprinkles that come in a million different shapes (I even have a container with cows, dinosaurs, and dolphins). If you’re craving a thorough explanation on types of sprinkles, check out Love From The Oven’s Sprinkle School.
It’s true though, sprinkles do make everything better -especially these cake batter rice krispies treats. All those sprinkles are so pretty, it just makes me happy! This is the perfect twist on traditional Rice Krispies Treats. They were so delicious with a subtle cake batter flavor and were super marshmallow-y. See how the marshmallow just stretches apart?
Ooey, Gooey, Deliciousness! You could make them in a 9×9 inch pan for a thicker, more traditional treat, but I pressed them into a 9×13 inch pan. They were a little thinner, which made it easier to cut them out into shapes. I cut them with heart cookie cutters, dipped them in pink candy melts, and decorated them with -you guessed it- more sprinkles! Completely adorable. The perfect Valentine’s Day treat! Not like they lasted until anywhere near V-Day, they were gone after a couple days.
Craving more cake batter amazingness? Check out these Funfetti Cake Batter Pancakes or these No-Bake Cake Batter Truffles or Cupcake Pops!
Cake Batter Rice Krispies Treats
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
- 1/3 cup yellow cake mix
- 3 cups crisped rice cereal
- 3 Tbsp sprinkles + more for decorating
- In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir continuously until melted. Remove from heat.
- Add cake mix and stir until no clumps remain.
- Add the cereal and stir to evenly coat. Add sprinkles and keep stirring until distributed throughout.
- Use buttered hands or a piece of waxed paper to press the mixture into a 9x9 baking dish. Cut and serve.
- OR press them into a 9x13 dish so they're thinner, then use a buttered cookie cutter to cut shapes out. Dip them in melted candy melts and decorate with sprinkles because that's just way cuter!
*This recipe/post originally appeared on my former blog elisebakes.wordpress.com*