Friday, February 6, 2009

Valentine's Day Sweets

I love browsing through the virtual space searching for fun articles or new recipes. Better Home and Gardens has a great collection of "Sweets for Two". And with Valentine's Day coming up I wanted to publish some of the recipes on my blog. The whole collection includes about 28 different desserts, I chose only few of them, the ones that appealed to me the most.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

This picture is from BHG website, and it's a great presentation idea for my red velvet cupcakes (recipe here ). use small chocolate heart shaped cookies and powder sugar to re-create the look. Yo can frost those with the cream cheese frosting, and sprinkle with red sugar or red sugar pearls, and stick the cookie on top. Possibilities are endless here...

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cakes

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup strawberry jam
Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache
  • 12 medium strawberries
  • 3 ounces bittersweet and/or milk chocolate curls

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour or line with paper bake cups twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups; set aside. In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Remove from heat. Let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in sugar and cocoa powder until combined. Add egg and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, beat lightly just until combined. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Alternately add flour mixture and milk to chocolate mixture, beating by hand after each addition. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a knife, loosen the edges; carefully remove cupcakes. Cool completely on a wire rack. If cupcakes don't have paper liners, trim a thin slice from top of each cupcake so they will sit flat. Turn bottom side up. Place cupcakes 2 inches apart on wire rack set over waxed paper. (For cupcakes in liners, peel liners down but do not remove.) Spread 1 teaspoon of the strawberry jam over each cupcake. Prepare Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache. (below) Spoon ganache over cupcakes, making sure to coat all sides. Place a strawberry on top of each cake. Drizzle each strawberry lightly with ganache, letting the strawberry show through. Top cupcakes with chocolate curls.

Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache: In a medium saucepan, bring 1 cup whipping cream just to boiling over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (do not stir). Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Whisk in 3 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until ganache is smooth. Makes: 12 cupcakes.

To Bake Ahead: Prepare as directed through step 4. Place cooled cupcakes in an airtight container; cover. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw cupcakes, if frozen. Continue as directed in step 5.

Cherry Baby Cakes

  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2/3 cup cherry marmalade or cherry preserves, large pieces snipped if necessary
  • 30 maraschino cherries with stems, drained
  • 1 recipe Powdered Sugar Icing*

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Line thirty 1 3/4-inch muffin cups with miniature paper bake cups;* set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add milk, butter, egg, and vanilla. Beat on low speed until combined. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Spoon 1 scant teaspoon of batter into each muffin cup. Add 1/2 teaspoon of cherry marmalade and top with 1/2 teaspoon additional batter. Bake cupcakes about 12 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire rack.

Pat cherries dry with clean paper toweling. Frost each cupcake with about 1/2 teaspoon icing. Dip half of each cherry into remaining icing; place on top of baby cakes. Makes about 30 small cakes.

*Test Kitchen Tip: If you don't have 1 3/4-inch muffin cups, line sixteen 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with paper bake cups. Prepare batter as directed. Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each prepared muffin cup. Add 1 teaspoon of marmalade and another tablespoon of batter. (You will only use about 1/3 cup marmalade.) Bake about 15 minutes or until tooth

pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Frost with Powdered Sugar Icing. Add a cherry as directed above. (You will only need 16 cherries.)

*Powdered Sugar Icing: In a small bowl combine 2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and 2 tablespoons milk. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing reaches drizzling consistency. Makes about 30.

Tiny Raspberry Cheesecake Tarts

  • 2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, cut up
  • 1/2 teaspoon shortening
  • 1 2.1-ounce package baked miniature phyllo dough shells (fifteen 1-1/2-inch shells)
  • 1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons dairy sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons raspberry liqueur or milk
  • 15 fresh raspberries (optional)
  • Fresh mint leaves (optional)

In a small saucepan, stir the cut-up chocolate and shortening over low heat until melted. Remove pan from heat. Using a clean small paintbrush, brush the inside (bottom and sides) of each phyllo shell evenly with the melted chocolate mixture. Return each shell to plastic tray included in package. Chill phyllo shells in refrigerator about 20 minutes or until chocolate is set. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together the cream cheese, sour cream, and powdered sugar until smooth. Stir in liqueur or milk. Transfer mixture to a small resealable plastic bag; seal bag. Snip off a corner of the bag. Pipe about 1 teaspoon of the cream cheese mixture into each shell. Cover tarts loosely; chill 2 to 4 hours. If desired, garnish each tart with a fresh raspberry and mint leaves. Makes 15 tarts.

{My comment: You can also use store bought phyllo dough and bake your own shells, just cut the circles from the dough and bake them according to directions in small muffin pan. I am sure the pastry dough would work fine here, also.}

Apricots Cakes for Two

  • 1 16-ounce package pound cake mix
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup apricot brandy, raspberry liqueur, apricot nectar, or raspberry juice blend
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 recipe Apricot Butter Frosting
  • Edible flower petals or whole edible flowers (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Set aside. In a large mixing bowl combine cake mix, water, brandy or nectar, and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds; beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Spread batter in the prepared pan. Bake about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Remove pan to wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan and cool completely. Transfer cake to large cutting board. Using a 2- to 2 1/2-inch round cutter, cut cake into 12 rounds. (Cut remaining cake scraps into cubes and serve with fruit, ice cream, or yogurt.) For each cake, spread 1 tablespoon of the frosting on top of one cake round. Top with a second cake round. Spread a thin coating of frosting* on the sides of the cake to seal in any crumbs. Let cakes stand, uncovered, 1 hour or until crumb coat is set.

To frost cake, carefully pick up each cake and add a thicker coating of frosting around the sides. Place cake on serving plate and frost top. Top each cake with edible flower petals or whole edible flowers, if desired. Makes 6 cakes (2 servings per cake).

Apricot Butter Frosting: In a very large mixing bowl beat 3/4 cup softened butter until smooth. Gradually add 2 cups sifted powdered sugar, beating well. Slowly beat in 1/3 cup apricot nectar or raspberry juice blend. Gradually beat in 7 cups sifted powdered sugar. Beat in enough additional apricot nectar to reach spreading consistency. Tint frosting a pale peach or pink color.

*Test Kitchen Tip: For the thin coating of frosting, transfer 3/4 cup of the prepared frosting to a small bowl. Stir in enough apricot nectar or raspberry juice blend (about 1 tablespoon) to make frosting of glazing consistency.

{The recipes and pictures are from Better Homes and Gardens website}


Eliza said...

Those cupcakes looks juzst perfect. All of them, but my favorite is raspberry cheescake - I`ll surely try this out myself. Thanks.

Anulka said...

It's soo beautiful.

Katelinn said...

Delicious recipes... Best treat for Valentines Day...

Talita said...

How cute are all these recipes! I'll try everything!

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