Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Sweets for my Sweet - Valentine's Baking
So Valentine's Day is upon us once again.
I can't believe how fast the last few weeks have gone. I've had a really tough week, and all ideas of Valentine's baking for this year have gone out of the window. I'm simply going to enjoy spending some quiet time with Mike, counting my blessings.
However, now I've finally got a little time to take a breather, I thought I'd just recap on some past recipes, that if you're looking for a special treat for a loved one, may fit the bill.
First off are some Valentine's Red Velvet Cupcakes.
If you follow me on Twitter (@FoldintheFlour), you may recognise the little cake in the top photo as my avatar. I remember baking these last year, when this blog was still fairly shiny and new and I was just beginning to get out of my normal comfort routine of baking things that you could make in one bowl. I'd found a great post on a blog which showed how to do the cut out heart, but I added the twist of the rose swirl peeking out through the heart. I know this may sound a bit egocentric, but I was so amazed at how it came out that it's one of my all time favourite bakes. It's also my most popular post on the blog.
If you are just after a quick little bite, that if you have a bit more time you can spend jazzing them up a bit, these little Cranberry Shortbread Hearts are for you. The cranberries add a little burst of tartness in the crumbly shortbread. I dipped them in white chocolate and added a bit of coloured sugar. They would work fabulously as a little gift, as once the chocolate is set, you can package them up easily.
Then there are these Amaretto Sweetheart Cupcakes. I used a bit of Amaretto in the cake batter to give a lovely hint of almond, and topped them with heart shaped sprinkles and white chocolate hearts made in a 'Love Heart' mould from Lakeland. They're also made in silver foil heart shaped moulds. Bit of a heart theme going on with that one!
For the chocolate luvvers out there, you might like to have a go at these decadent Cherry Chocolate Brownies. They're simple to make, taste amazing and also show how a good chocolate brownie recipe can be used for a base for any number of flavours. I used them here with dried sour cherries, but I've used different chocolate flavoursin the past (Maya Gold anyone?), nuts including hazelnuts and walnuts and other dried fruits (blueberries and cranberries). They've all turned out great. I'm showing them here with some whipped cream and cocoa sprinkles, but they'd make a great pud, warm from the oven with a scoop of frosty vanilla ice cream.
Hmm, maybe I will bake something after all ...
There is, of course, for the serious display of affection, my Bouquet of Roses Cake. Dark chocolate sponge with a ruby buttercream piped in roses.
Takes time? Yes. Over the top? Maybe. Worth it? Definitely!
Finally, if you have a little time, and you're looking for a gift from the heart, there are these Pistachio Macarons with a Dark Chocolate Ganache. These were my first attempt at macarons, and remain my absolute favourite. They take a little time, but are so worth it. I was planning on revisiting these using a heart-shaped macaron mat I've bought, but I simply haven't got around to it. I'm sure the opportunity will present itself soon, though.
If you're interested in macarons but want something a little different, there are my Rose Macarons with a Lemon Cream Cheese Filling. Again, once made, they are fairly robust and look fabulous as a gift, nestled in some tissue paper in a pretty box.
I hope these have given you some ideas if you're looking to do something.
But I guess, more importantly, whatever you're doing tomorrow, I hope you have a great time and get to spend it with that special someone.
Happy Valentine's 2013.