Baking on Theme: Valentine’s Day {Guest Blog}

 

Charlotte is an avid baker living in Washington D.C. When she isn’t messing around in the kitchen to fill her 36 cupcake travel tupperware, she can be found impulsively buying icing tips via Amazon Prime. Follow her online @Charpotle

Valentine’s Day tends to elicit very strong emotions from people. As a baking enthusiast, I’ve learnt to cope with the hype by baking on theme (because who doesn’t love an excuse to bake AND a good theme?).

First up, hot chocolate hearts! These don’t actually entail any baking but I was able to use my new heart-shaped cookie cutters so I’m including it anyways!

heart marshmallow floats in hot chocolate

Finally got the heart picture-perfect on the third try

 

[b]Hot Chocolate Hearts[/b]
Recipe Type: Snack
Author: Charlotte
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Ingredients
  • Cool Whip
  • Wax paper
  • Heart-shaped cookie cutter
  • Baking sheet
Instructions
  1. Cover baking sheet with wax paper and spread Cool Whip on top.
  2. Freeze for a few hours.
  3. Remove from freezer and cut out hearts.
  4. Use immediately in hot chocolate for taste or esthetic appeal.

 

Next up, Chocolate heart wafer cookies (modified from Recipe Girl)! Inspired by my heart-shaped cookie cutter purchase and wanting to use the hearts on actual cookies, I made these for a Bachelor viewing party a few weeks ago. I undercooked them to keep them gooey but they still wound up being a little crunchy. Perfect to dip in tea, milk or to eat on their own!

A plate of chocolate wafer cookies

hearts on hearts on hearts

 

[b]Chocolate Heart Wafer Cookies[/b]
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Charlotte
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Slightly modified from the [url href="http://www.recipegirl.com/2008/07/31/chocolate-snaps/"]Recipe Girl [/url]version. The original recipe called for Dutch process cocoa powder but all I had on hand was hot chocolate mix so I improvised. I also couldn’t find a rolling pin so borrowed a wine bottle from my roommate, wrapped it in plastic wrap and used that instead.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Hot chocolate mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, hot chocolate mix, salt and baking powder. In a separate, larger bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and continue beating until it’s well incorporated. Then add egg, water, and vanilla and beat for at least 2 minutes, until the mixture has lightened both in color and texture. Gently mix in the dry ingredients.
  2. Using clean hands (this probably does not need to be said but just to make sure we are all on the same page), shape the dough into a flattened disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, or overnight. This dough is very soft, so it’s imperative that it’s been chilled before you roll it out.
  3. Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment or silpats) two or three baking sheets.
  4. On a clean, heavily floured work surface, roll the dough to a 1/8-inch thickness, and cut into desired shape (I used hearts). Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets. They won’t expand a great deal, so you don’t need a lot of space between them.
  5. Bake the cookies for 17 to 18 minutes. (I only cooked mined for 14 minutes. Watch carefully; it’s difficult to tell when they’re done, as they’re so dark you can’t see if they’re brown, but when you start to smell them they’re probably done. If you smell even a whiff of burning, remove them from the oven immediately.)
  6. Transfer the cookies to a rack and cool them completely.

 

As much as I love cookies, cupcakes are my bread and butter so I figured I should make some yummy ones to give out to loved ones on February 14th. These are a combination of two recipes I loved and are both very chocolaty so be prepared, these cupcakes are for chocolate lovers only!

 

Bouquet of rose cupcakes

Bouquet of rose cupcakes

 

[b]Chocolate Cinnamon Cupcakes[/b]
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Charlotte
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Borrowed from [url href="http://www.52kitchenadventures.com/2012/03/20/cinnamon-nutella-cupcakes/"]52 Kitchen Adventures[/url]
Ingredients
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 + 1/8 cups freshly brewed coffee, cooled to room temperature
  • 1/2 + 1/8 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 + 1/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together all ingredients from flour through baking soda.
  3. In a separate large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add coffee, buttermilk, oil and vanilla, and beat until blended. Turn mixer speed to low and slowly pour in dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan until each cup is 3/4 full. Bake 20 minutes, until the center springs back a bit when lightly touched. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. (With mini cupcakes bake for 19 minutes)

 

[b]Red Velvet Mousse Icing[/b]
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Charlotte
Modified from [url href="http://iambaker.net/red-velvet-mousse-with-raspberry-vanilla-cupcakes/"] I Am Baker[/url]. I didn’t have enough heavy cream but faced with winter storm Pax I decided to make due with what I had rather than trek to the grocery store. The original recipe called for an extra cup of heavy cream.
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces semi­sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick® Red Food Color
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
Instructions
  1. Microwave chocolate in medium microwaveable bowl on HIGH 1 minute. Stir.
  2. Microwave additional 30 seconds at a time, stirring until chocolate is smooth and melted.
  3. Add 1/4 cup cream and stir until smooth. Stir in food color and vanilla.
  4. Let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly.
  5. Beat 2 cups cream and granulated sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form.
  6. Gently stir in 1/2 of the chocolate mixture with spatula until well blended. Gently stir in remaining chocolate mixture.
  7. Spoon into pastry bag fitted with 1M tip or refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

 

I should note that I don’t have my mother’s talent so for every successful recipe I produce, two recipes go awry. I thought I would include this Chocolate Valentine Surprise Loaf Cake recipe (also from Recipe Girl) as it was a casualty of this blog post. The mess was delicious but the hidden hearts were a giant failure.

Chocolate Loaf Cake

Image from Recipe Girl – What it should have looked like

 

failed chocolate loaf cake

How mine turned out

 

 

 

 

2 comments

    • MaryR
      Author

      It was my first time using the oven in my new apartment and I didn’t quite have the temperature controls down. The undercooked loaf turned into a delicious gooey brownie dessert for my roommates and I. I’ll try again soon and let you know how it goes!

      - Charlotte

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