Tuesday, January 29, 2008

"Sweet" Heart Treats

With Valentines day just around the corner, I thought I would share some sweet treats with all my readers! :) The first is perfect for your kids to help with, and take to school for valentines day parties! The second is great for mom and dad to share!

**Note, I am not adding nutritional information to these treats, because its VALENTINES! Relax, enjoy, and worry about your calories tomorrow! :)

Hugs And Kisses Cookies
grocery list:
1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 of an roll refrigerated sugar-cookie dough
Royal Icing (recipe below)
Red and pink paste or gel food color
*Decorations: tiny heart decors, red and white sprinkles (jimmies), nonpareils and decorating sugars
how to make it:
1. Heat oven to 350°F.
You’ll need 2-in. X and O cookie cutters, baking sheets, 3 qt-size ziptop bags and a small paintbrush.

2. Knead flour into cookie dough until completely blended.
Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to 1⁄8 in. thick.
Cut out cookies with cutters; reroll and cut scraps.
Place about 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.

3. Bake 9 to 11 minutes until just beginning to brown around edges.
Cool 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

4. To decorate cookies:
Divide Royal Icing among 3 bowls.
Tint 1 red, 1 pink and leave other white.
Working with 1 color at a time, spoon icing into a ziptop bag.
Thin icing in bowls with drops of water until spreadable.
5. Snip tip off a corner of the ziptop bag.
Pipe outline on cookies.
Let outlines dry about 5 minutes.
Dip brush into thinned icing; spread to piped border.
While wet, sprinkle some cookies with decorations.
Pipe lines or dots of an alternate color onto wet icing on other cookies and pull a toothpick through lines or through dots to make hearts. Let dry at least 2 hours.

ROYAL ICING In a large bowl, with mixer on low speed, beat 1 lb confectioners’ sugar and 3 Tbsp "Just Whites". Add 6 Tbsp water; beat until blended. Increase mixer speed to high and beat 8 minutes or until icing is very thick and white.

"Light my FIRE" Brownies
grocery list:
11⁄2 sticks (¾ cup) butter
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
1¾ cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
1 cup pecans, toasted, cooled and coarsely chopped

Cherry Sauce
2 cans cherry pie filling
1 cup cranberry juice cocktail
4 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp sugar
½ tsp almond extract
1⁄3 cup Kirschwasser (cherry brandy) or other brandy (you’ll need a long match for igniting it)
1 pt vanilla ice cream

how to make it:
1. Heat oven to 325°F.
You’ll need 16 heart-shaped foil baking cups (Reynolds’ Fun Shapes) on a rimmed baking sheet, or a 3-in. heart-shaped cookie cutter and a 13 x 9-in. baking pan lined with nonstick foil (let foil extend about 2 in. above pan at both ends).

2. Brownies: Microwave butter and chocolate in large bowl on high, stirring every 20 seconds, until melted and smooth.
Whisk in sugar, then eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla.
With a rubber spatula, stir in flour, cocoa powder and salt just until blended.
Stir in pecans. Divide batter evenly among baking cups, or spread into baking pan.

3. Bake 20 to 22 minutes for foil cups, 24 to 26 minutes for baking pan, or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging.
Transfer to a wire rack; cool completely.
Remove brownies from cups or, holding foil by ends, lift from pan, cut out 12 hearts with cookie cutter and carefully remove foil.

4. Sauce: Drain pie filling in a colander; discard liquid. Mix 1 Tbsp cranberry juice and the cornstarch in a small bowl.
Stir remaining juice and the sugar in a 10-in. skillet over medium-high heat until it boils and sugar dissolves. Using a whisk, stir in cornstarch mixture. Cook, stirring, until thickened. Add almond extract and cherries; stir 3 minutes or until hot.

5. Slowly pour brandy over cherries and carefully ignite with a long match. Shake pan back and forth until flames die out.

6. Top each heart with a small scoop of ice cream, then warm or room-temperature sauce

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