As Valentine’s Day gets closer and closer, many of us wonder who is this Valentine and what are the origins of this holiday. There are several versions of this story, which combined gave birth to a legend: the legend of St. Valentine. It is said that Valentine was a Roman priest martyred during the persecution of Claudius in the years 269-270 AC. As a young man, Valentin helps Christians in times of persecution. He was caught and put in prison, where he became a preacher. Therefore, he was sentenced to death on 14 February 269. While he sat in prison, he sent messages of encouragement to friends telling them “Remember Valentine. I love you”.
Another version says that Valentine was a priest who married couples in secret, against the law of the Emperor Claudius which prohibited marriage. And in this story he was taken to jail because he refused to go on believing in pagan gods. In prison, he befriends the jailer’s daughter that convinced him to believe in God. On the day of his execution, February 14th, 269, Valentin write a love letter to the keeper’s daughter, which he did not sign.
No matter which version you prefer, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love and what better way to enjoy than with something sweet? So here are ten sweet Valentine’s Day recipes for you sweety, courtesy of Martha Stewart, All Recipes, Food Network, Delish.
1. Peanut-Butter-and-Jam Heart Cookies
- 1 1/2 cup(s) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
- 1 stick(s) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup(s) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup(s) packed light-brown sugar
- 1 cup(s) creamy peanut butter
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup(s) raspberry jam, stirred to loosen
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Beat butter and sugars with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in peanut butter, then egg. Reduce speed to low, and beat in flour mixture until dough forms. If dough is sticky, refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (about 2 tablespoons each). Arrange on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart. Press into 1 3/4-inch rounds. Press hearts into centers using your fingertips. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven, and reshape hearts using your fingertips or the handle of a wooden spoon. Fill indentation of each with a generous 1/2 teaspoon jam to form a heart. Bake until cookies are firm, 6 to 7 minutes more.
2. Brownie Tart
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 3 1/4 cups (20 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
- 3 extra-large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (4 ounces) chopped walnuts
- 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Grease and flour a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in a bowl set over simmering water. Add 2 cups of the chocolate chips, remove from the heat, and stir until the chocolate melts. Set aside to cool completely.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, coffee, and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cooled chocolate. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, 1 cup of the chocolate chips, and the walnuts. Fold the flour mixture into the batter until just combined. Pour into the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center is puffed (the top may crack). The inside will still be very soft. Cool to room temperature before removing the sides of the tart pan.
Melt the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips with the heavy cream and drizzle on the tart.
3. Heart Pancakes
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus 1 tablespoon for griddle
Preheat griddle to 375 degrees, or heat griddle pan over medium-high heat. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Add egg, milk, and 2 tablespoons melted butter; whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps.
Preheat oven to 175 degrees. Test griddle by sprinkling with a few drops of water. If water bounces and spatters, it is hot enough. With paper towel, brush 1/2 teaspoon butter onto griddle. Wipe off excess. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain round tip with batter; twist end of bag, and secure with rubber band. Working in batches, pipe heart shapes, drawing V of batter in center of hearts to fill, on heated griddle. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around the edges, about 2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on the bottom, about 1 minute.
Repeat with remaining batter, using 1/2 teaspoon butter on griddle for each batch, keeping finished pancakes on a heat-proof plate in the oven until ready to serve.
4. Easy Pavlova
- 4 egg whites
- 1 1/4 cups white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 6 kiwi, peeled and sliced
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw a 9-inch circle on the parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff but not dry. Gradually add in the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until thick and glossy. Gently fold in vanilla extract, lemon juice, and cornstarch.
Spoon mixture inside the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Working from the center, spread mixture toward the outside edge, building edge slightly. This should leave a slight depression in the center. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a wire rack.
In a small bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form; set aside. Remove the paper, and place meringue on a flat serving plate. Fill the center of the meringue with whipped cream, and top with kiwifruit slices.
5. Chocolate Eclair Hearts
- Vegetable-oil cooking spray
For the Pate a Choux
- 1 1/4 cups bread flour
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon best-quality unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
For the Filling
- 4 ounces best-quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the Glaze
- 9 ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate (at least 61 percent cacao), coarsely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Using a 2 1/2-inch heart cookie cutter and a pencil, trace 12 hearts on a piece of parchment paper, spacing 1 inch apart. Repeat with another piece of parchment. Lightly coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray; line with prepared parchment, traced side down. Set aside. Make the pate a choux: Sift flour and cocoa powder into a medium bowl. Put milk, butter, sugar, and salt into a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, and add flour mixture all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until flour has been incorporated.
Set pan over medium-low heat. Continue to cook, stirring, until dough pulls away from sides of pan and forms a ball, about 1 minute. Transfer dough to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until just warm to the touch. Raise speed to medium. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip (such as Ateco #802). Pipe onto prepared parchment, tracing outlines of hearts and then filling centers. Pipe another heart on top of first layer. Place hearts in oven. Reduce temperature to 400 degrees. Bake 10 minutes, then rotate sheets. Reduce to 350 degrees; bake 7 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks to cool slightly. Turn off oven.
Using a serrated knife, halve hearts horizontally. Arrange, cut sides down, on wire rack. Place rack on baking sheet; transfer to oven. Prop open door slightly, and let hearts cool completely, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven; set aside.
Make the filling: Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Pulse chocolate in a food processor until finely chopped. Put 1 cup cream and the sugar into a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Add hot cream mixture to the food processor. Carefully pulse until completely smooth. Transfer to a large bowl set in the ice-water bath. Let cool completely, whisking occasionally, 30 to 45 minutes. Pour through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Put chocolate cream into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add remaining cup cream. Beat on low speed until medium peaks form (do not overbeat).
Make the glaze: Pulse chocolate in a food processor until finely chopped. Put cream and corn syrup into a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring until syrup has dissolved. Add hot cream mixture to the food processor. Carefully pulse until completely smooth. Pour through a fine sieve into a bowl; use a rubber spatula to eliminate air bubbles. To assemble: Spoon glaze over tops of hearts. Let stand until set, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, spread filling onto cut sides of bottoms of hearts. Sandwich tops and bottoms. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, uncovered, up to 4 hours.
6. Dried Cranberry Shortbread Hearts
- 1 cup(s) (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup(s) sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
- 2 cup(s) sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
- 1/2 cup(s) finely chopped dried cranberries or cherries
Heat oven to 325 degrees F with a rack in center. Combine butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, flour, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a wooden spoon until combined but not too creamy. Stir in dried cranberries.
Pat dough evenly into an 8- or 9-inch-square baking pan. Bake until just beginning to turn golden, about 20 minutes. Place pan on cooling rack until cool enough to touch, about 20 minutes. Run knife around edges, remove shortbread, and transfer, right side up, to work surface. Use 1 1/2- to 2-inch heart cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Use a paring knife to trim stray bits of cranberry from edges. Cookies will keep for 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container.
7. Red Velvet Cupcakes
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 fluid ounce red food coloring
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease two 12 cup muffin pans or line with 20 paper baking cups.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, red food coloring and vanilla. Stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter and frost with desired frosting.
8. White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
- 1 cup chocolate cookie crumbs
- 3 tablespoons white sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 (10 ounce) package frozen raspberries
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups white chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
- 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, mix together cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. In a saucepan, combine raspberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to boil, and continue boiling 5 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Strain sauce through a mesh strainer to remove seeds.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt white chocolate chips with half-and-half, stirring occasionally until smooth.
In a large bowl, mix together cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time. Blend in vanilla and melted white chocolate. Pour half of batter over crust. Spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over batter. Pour remaining cheesecake batter into pan, and again spoon 3 tablespoons raspberry sauce over the top. Swirl batter with the tip of a knife to create a marbled effect.
Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until filling is set. Cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours before removing from pan. Serve with remaining raspberry sauce.
9. Chocolate Covered Cherries
- 60 maraschino cherries with stems
- 3 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons corn syrup
- 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 1 pound chocolate confectioners’ coating
Drain cherries and set on paper towels to dry. In a medium bowl, combine butter and corn syrup until smooth. Stir in confectioners’ sugar and knead to form a dough. Chill to stiffen if necessary. Wrap each cherry in about 1 teaspoon of dough. Chill until firm.
Melt confectioners’ coating in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Dip each cherry in by its stem, and place on waxed paper lined sheets. Chill until completely set. Store in an airtight container in a cool place.
10. Baked Raspberry Custards
- 1 pint raspberries
- 2 cups (500 ml) single (pouring) cream
- 1 cup (250 ml) milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs and 3 egg yolks, extra
- 1/2 cup (110 g) caster (superfine) sugar
- 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
Preheat oven to 150° C (300° F). Place raspberries in the bottom of a 6-cup ovenproof dish or in individual teacups or ramekins, set aside. Place the cream, milk, vanilla bean and seeds (or vanilla extract) in a saucepan over high heat until the mixture just comes to the boil. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place the eggs, extra yolks, and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until well combined. Gradually add the hot cream mixture to the egg mixture, whisking well to combine. Add Grand Marnier, whisking well to combine. Strain custard into a 1.5 litre-capacity (6 cup) ovenproof dish. If using individual cups (ramekins or teacups) strain custard into a large, heatproof pouring vessel, then pour the custard into 6 X 1 cup-capacity teacups or ramekins.
Place ovenproof dish (teacups or ramekins) into a water bath (see recipe notes below). If using 6-cup ovenproof dish bake for 1 hour 25 minutes or until just set. If using 6 X 1-cup capacity teacups or ramekins bake for 45 minutes or until just set. Remove from the water bath and allow to stand for 15 minutes before serving.