If you’re a hopeless romantic then you will be on the edge of your seat each Valentine’s Day. This worldwide ‘day of love’ is celebrated in so many different ways, but if you want to make an impression this year forget about the flowers and store-bought chocolates and head into the kitchen for these handmade treats.
Be still my crispy heart
Using quite possibly the easiest ingredient in the pantry – the humble ‘Rice Bubble’, these sweet, puffed rice treats get straight to the heart of the matter. No doubt we’ve all eaten the chocolate crackle, and this recipe is a slight adaptation on the familiar.
It takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and roughly 20 minutes to ‘cook’, so don’t hold back.
3 tablespoons butter
1 packet of marshmallows
6 cups of Kellogg’s ‘Rice Bubbles’ (or another crisped rice cereal)
Chocolate melts (dairy, dark or white; it doesn’t matter)
Red food colouring (if you so desire)
Start by melting the butter over a low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until they have completely melted before removing from the heat. Mix in the Rice Bubbles, stirring until well-coated. Spread the mix evenly onto a greased baking tray. Cut the treats into heart shapes once cooled. Melt the chocolate (and if using white, add food colouring). Dip the edges of the treats into the chocolate and decorate with sprinkles. Allow to set before serving.
Let’s go whoopee
There’s a bit of a red velvet obsession around at the moment, but there’s no better time to whip out a splash of velvety red colour than on the most romantic day of the year. These red velvet whoopee pies (or cookies with cream cheese centres) can be made in around 30 minutes, and are a sweet treat to be shared with the love in your life.
½ cup softened butter
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon red food colouring
1 1/3 cups flour
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking power
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
CREAM CHEESE FILLING
230g cream cheese
4 tablespoons softened butter
2 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar
Preheat an oven to about 190C. Mix the butter and sugar together until it forms a cream. Add the egg and beat well. Beat in the vanilla and red food colouring. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. Scoop the dough onto a lined baking tray. Bake at 190C for 10-12 minutes (until cookies are firm, but not hard). Allow to cool.
Mix together cream cheese and butter. Beat in milk and vanilla. Sift in the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Spread the filling between two cooled red velvet cookies. Voila! We have love.
For the love of meat
If you are worried that unwrapping something delicious but altogether too pink and fluffy is going to get your significant other into strife or you prefer a bit of savoury spice, never fear. This heart-shaped meat pie is a step in the right direction. These might not be the quickest recipe in your Valentine’s Day repertoire, but the effort alone is a declaration of love to that special someone.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
500g lean beef mince
1 carrot, peeled and grated
¼ cup powdered gravy
1 cup boiling water
2 sheets (25x25cm) shortcrust pastry, just thawed
2 sheets (25x25cm) puff pastry, just thawed
1 egg, lightly whisked
Heat oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until onion softens. Add the mince and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon to break up any lumps, for 5 minutes or until mince changes colour. Add the carrot and stir until well combined. Place gravy powder in a heatproof jug. Add boiling water and whisk with a fork until combined. Add to mince mixture and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly. Remove from heat. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes to cool. Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out 20 heart-shaped pieces of pastry. Brush shortcrust pastry with egg wash, top with mince mix and top with piece of puff pastry, matching edges and pressing to seal. When all pies are done, brush them with the egg wash and place onto a lined baking tray and into a pre-heated 170C oven for 20-25 minutes (or until golden brown). Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
What special homemade goodies knocked the socks off your lover this Valentine’s Day?