Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Conversation heart cookies

Valentine's Day has always been one of my favorite holidays, regardless of my relationship status. It's just a fun holiday that partially revolves around chocolate, and who can object to that? I think a main influence of my love for the typically loathed holiday is my mom, who has always made it a really enjoyable day for the whole family. When my siblings and I were younger, we'd all get dressed up in our fanciest clothes and have a special meal that my mom had prepared for us. I've been trying to spread my love of Valentine's Day for years, and I think I'm making some progress. Typically, every year I host a party for my friends, but this year with school and work, there was just no time to plan it. To carry on my tradition of trying to make the day special for everyone, I went into baking overdrive last week to put together some treats to mail out to some friends and family members.

Slight modification for a friend who is into math

The first thing I made was iced sugar cookies. These are really a pain to make. They're so labor intensive and (in my opinion), don't taste that great. But, when they're done right, they look amazing, so I continue to make them. My inspiration for these was the very talented baker/blogger at A Dozen Eggs. I seriously do not know how she does it! I made two sets of cookies, traditional conversation hearts and boxers & lips. They took two nights to complete.

Hot lips & boxers

I also made Rice Krispie treats. I haven't had a homemade one of these in forever. My only complaint is that the recipe on the back of the box (which claims to be for a 13x9" pan) just does not make enough. They came out pretty thin. So, if you're making these using that recipe, double it. I like really thick Rice Krispie treats. I put some heart sprinkles on the top of these.

Rice Krispie Treats

Next up was brownies. I used the tried and true recipe from the Baked cookbook. These are really great, especially if you use good chocolate. No Hershey's chocolate in these...

The marshmallows started looking like this

And ended like this

The thing I was most excited about making for this Valentine's Day was marshmallows. I had never even contemplated making these before I started seeing recipes pop up for them, and I thought they were going to be incredibly complex to make. They could not have been any easier. With only a few ingredients, and a minimal level of skill required, these were really great to make. I dyed them pink for the holiday. I love making things that have a "wow" moment, and these went from a flat cloudy white mixture to a fluffy, shiny marshmallow in under 10 minutes.

Cut marshmallow, rolled in powdered sugar

Hopefully everyone enjoyed their treats!

Everything packaged and ready to go!


Natalie said...

Cute treats! I totally agree with you on your opinion of sugar cookies! I made 2 dozen for someone's Valentine's party...they are labor intensive, but sure are cute when they are done and packaged. I definately don't have the patience for doing the flooding technique. I use fondant, which is still time consuming, but I find less frusterating! :)

Jennifer said...

Tara, these are fantastic! See you tomorrow in class... I love your blog!!

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