“Hearts, hearts everywhere – I’m seeing red!” Fuchsia pink, sultry crimson and every lipstick rouge shade imaginable, it’s abundantly clear 2.14 – V-Day – is upon us. Aiming to please, hopeless romantics will likely splurge on the – obvious-to-me – “works”: handwritten poem-inscribed cards, long-stem Ecuadorian roses, and Godiva chocolate truffles. Arrow-stricken or not, give the little cherub – that could/would/should – a break! Valentine’s still remains a day – like any other – for all to love, be loved, and most definitely to love what you do. And for foodies, this calendar day is reason enough to celebrate fabulous eats – cheers to delicious!
Love-struck, I require no unofficial holiday reminders for a match-made pairing. Simply stated, “I can’t help falling in love with you…” – dessert recipes. ‘LOL’ indeed! Revamping a passion for baking, I rightfully designate the “Look of Love” at two enticing treats: decadent molten chocolate lava cake, and strawberry-filled thumbprint cookies. In the spirit of Saint Valentine, then, preheat the oven and keep – stove – flames burning with the creation of tantalizingly sweets.
“So happy together?” – always! In suit of a delectable chocolate cake, these ingredients get along best when mixed in a bowl: melted dark chocolate, caster sugar, eggs, butter, flour, and a pinch of salt. Once prepared, evenly distribute the batter into a greased and cocoa-dusted muffin tin, and bake. In the meantime, the lure of motifs leads me to prepare decorative stencils. Easy to make and highly transferable, love – of parchment – is truly all you need. To create heart-shaped cut-outs, simply: tear a piece of paper, draw onto the sheet, and use scissors to cut around markings. When ready for use, place the template on top of the cooled cakes, and finish with a generous dusting of icing sugar. Love-stamped, be certain not to miss any marks in aesthetic appeal and intoxicating aroma with this ‘heart-felt’ cake. Equally impressive, a properly-timed – not overdone – cakelette is moist, can be cut with a fork and, in doing so, will release a rich semi-liquid chocolatey interior. Sinfully irresistible, breaking this ache-free ‘heart’ is easy to do and destined for repeat devouring – seconds, please!
As for the cookies, adhere to a trusted shortbread-like or peanut butter thumbprint recipe. Contents mixed and dough made, bake the cookies half-way through. At this point, remove the tray and using the back of a wooden spoon make impressions of choice – hearts, x’s or o’s. Designs made, return the ‘blushing dozens’ back to the oven for the remaining bake time. Cooled and ready for a reunion, no ‘hug’ or ‘kiss’ would be complete without an added touch of sweetness – spoonful of fruit preserve. Just add desired jam filling into the indentations, and allow the cookies to set prior to enjoyment. Saving ribbons and bows for another occasion, offerings of your darling’s ‘love’ – baked indulgences – need not be masked or hidden in fancy packaging. Ultimately expressive of thought and care, a baker’s dozen comes with more than an extra surprise – ‘homemade’ genuinely is where the heart is.
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