Mailboxes and Marshmallows

chocolate-dipped Valentine marshmallows

Throughout elementary school, I begged my mom for a shoebox on every February 13th and asked her to cut a slit in the lid. I then pulled out pink construction paper, red glitter glue, and shiny white sequins to decorate the sides. I even pressed on sparkly heart stickers for good measure!

 

The next morning, I carefully held my homemade Valentine mailbox on my lap as Mom drove across town. At school, I placed it on my desk just like the rest of my classmates.

 

After lunch, we walked around the room, dropping paper cards into each person’s mailbox while the parents set up for our classroom party. Although I dreaded the politics of handing out those little Valentines—you had to make sure the sappy ones didn’t go to any of the boys!—I always loved the sugar cookies and conversation hearts that the parents brought in. It was probably a good thing they never made these chocolate dipped marshmallows… I would have eaten every last one and refused to share, even with my crush!   Continue reading for recipe.

February 13, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Delicious Desserts. 26 comments.

Share the Love — Valentine’s Day Blog Swap

Today is our lucky day! Andrea from Mrs. Webb in the Kitchen is going to teach us how to make special truffle stuffed strawberries. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!

 

Andrea and I met in high school and bonded over cold nights marching around the football field for band and giggling our way through nasally accents in French class. Although we lost touch for a few years after graduation, I found out last fall that she now works in a bakery—my dream job! She has picked up lots of tricks and tips, especially in the cake decorating world, and I begged her to share some with us.

 

In exchange, I wrote a guest post for her with a recipe for heart-shaped french toast for two. Be sure to check it out after reading her truffle tutorial, as well as her dainty French macarons and moist gingerbread cake with molasses frosting!

 

truffle-stuffed chocolate covered strawberries

 

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a sucker for Valentine’s Day. Even before I had a sweetheart of my own, I adored a day dedicated to pink hearts, pretty flowers, and candy. In my elementary school years, I couldn’t wait to hand out silly and sweet paper valentines to my classmates- each of the pre-printed sentiments carefully sorted into classmate, crush, or friend-worthy categories!

 

This year, in lieu of passing out stale old conversation hearts, I thought I’d try my hand at some hand-crafted truffles. These strawberry truffles, however, are a fusion of two of the most classic heart day treats: truffles and chocolate covered strawberries! My original plan was to add a berry-flavored extract to ganache to make a traditional truffle interior. Instead, I decided to stuff the ganache inside a real, live strawberry.   Continue reading for recipe.

February 11, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Delicious Desserts. 6 comments.

Sweet Hearts

heart-shaped cranberry muffins

Every Valentine’s Day, my brother and I would stumble into the kitchen. After rubbing the sleep from our eyes, we’d sort through the little piles of chocolate kisses and conversations hearts on the table that Cupid’s fairies dropped off during the night. (If Christmas has Santa and Easter has the Bunny, why wouldn’t Valentine’s Day have its own candy-carrying character?)

 

Then Mom would sigh and reluctantly allow us each to eat one sweet treat before making us a special breakfast. She usually whipped up pancakes, waffles, or cinnamon sugar toast — practically a dessert itself! As soon as she set our plates in front of us, we’d inhale the food before rushing off to school.

 

But if February 14th fell on a weekend, we’d enjoy a more leisurely breakfast. Mom would bake Pillsbury croissants or even homemade muffins, if we promised not to sneak extra chocolates while the pastries cooled on the counter. And with such festive muffins waiting for us, we readily agreed!   Continue reading for recipe.

February 8, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss, Delicious Desserts, Midweek Meals. 24 comments.

Pink is For…

pretty pink donuts

There must have been something in the water last year… Two weeks ago, the stork dropped off a bundle of joy to two different ladies at work! My boss and his wife received the little girl, and I was so tempted to decorate their doors with bright pink balloons and crêpe paper…

 

But that didn’t quite seem appropriate for our drab hallways and professional environment. (Probably a safety and productivity hazard too, with all of the attention it would attract!) So I settled on making them celebratory treats instead.   Continue reading for recipe.

February 6, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss, Delicious Desserts, Midweek Meals. 33 comments.

Celebrating with Chocolate

While breakfast in bed starts the morning out on the right foot, Valentine’s Day is never complete without a little extra chocolate treat. Hershey’s, Nestlé, Cadbury, and Lindt all agree; they create special candies wrapped in festive red and pink foil just for the holiday. Heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and truffles disappear from store shelves faster than Hallmark cards and candy conversation hearts, the empty spaces magically refilled before sunrise by delivery trucks and night-shift workers.

 

If packaged and sold, these homemade chocolate cookies would vanish long before any nougat or truffle. Moist and fudgy, the cookie develops a slight fruity undertone from the balsamic vinegar, and the small salt crystals on top pair beautifully with the chocolate’s sweetness. Go ahead, treat yourself and your loved ones to a decadent dessert. There’s more than enough to share!   Continue reading for recipe.

February 14, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss. 4 comments.

A Stress-Free Valentine’s Day: Possible or Paradox?

Forget Halloween ghouls and goblins; candy companies and Hallmark team up to make February the scariest time of the year. Larger than life teddy bears, ice cream-flavored conversation hearts, and sappy oversized cards threaten to attack every time you walk into Walmart, Walgreens, or even the grocery store. With all of the pressure to make February 14th the most romantic day of the year, I’d much rather celebrate the holiday in July when my loved ones least expect it!

 

But quite a few girls (and guys) would be heartbroken if everyone boycotted Valentine’s Day, so I devised a simple, stress-free solution to start the day out right: Surprise your sweetie with breakfast in bed without waking up at the crack of dawn.   Continue reading for recipe.

February 12, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Baked Bliss, Midweek Meals. Leave a comment.