Divine desserts for Valentine's Day

Five sweet recipes just in time for Valentine's Day

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Valentine’s Day celebrations often lack the wholesome recipes of other holidays. Plastic sprinkles and boxed chocolates don’t make the cut in our Valentine’s Day desserts.
These are carefully chosen recipes inspired by some of Cupid’s best handiwork.

Spiced lava cake

Ingredients

• 1 cup bittersweet
chocolate (chopped)
• 6 tbsp all-purpose flour
• 1 large egg
• 6 tbsp granulated sugar
• 1½ tbsp unsalted butter
• ¼ tsp cinnamon
• ¼ tsp chili powder or
cayenne powder
• Pinch of salt
• Icing sugar for dusting
Serves two

Preparation

Preheat oven to 205 C
(400 F). Butter two ramekins or standard muffin tins and dust with granulated sugar; shake
out excess.

Cream together butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Add egg and beat in flour and salt until just combined — don’t
over-beat to foaminess. Melt chocolate in microwave for 40 seconds. Mix in chocolate until no streaks
are left.

Pour in prepared ramekins or muffin tins and bake for
eight minutes.

Remove ramekins from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Turn cakes upside down on serving plate and dust with sifted
icing sugar.

One decorating tip is to place cutout of paper heart on top of cakes before dusting with sugar.

Strawberry cupcakes

Ingredients

• ½ cup butter, unsalted
• 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour,
sifted
• 2/3 cup fresh or thawed
frozen strawberries
• ¼ cup milk, preferably at
least 2 per cent
•1 large egg, room
temperature
• 1 egg white
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1tsp vanilla extract
• ½ tsp lemon zest
• ¼ tsp salt

Frosting

• 1 cup cream cheese, chilled
• 2 cups icing sugar
• 2 tbsp strawberry puree
• 2 tbsp vanilla extract
• 5 tbsp butter, room
temperature

Makes a dozen cupcakes

Cupcake preparation

Preheat oven to 175 C
(350 F). In food processor, purée strawberries until smooth. Cream butter with sugar until fluffy and combine egg and egg white, vanilla and lemon zest. Beat until smooth.

In a separate bowl, combine milk and 1/3 cup of the strawberry purée. Save the rest for frosting. In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Beat flour mixture, milk mixture and butter mixture until a uniform consistency
is achieved.

Divide equally into lined muffin tins or mini-cupcake tins and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until tops are dry but bouncy. Cool completely before icing.

Icing preparation

Cream together the cream cheese and butter until softened and fluffy. Slowly incorporate icing sugar and vanilla extract. Add strawberry pureé last and combine until there are no streaks of colour. Use immediately or store in fridge.

Pink velvet soufflé

Ingredients

• 1/4 cups fresh or frozen
raspberries, thawed
• 2 tbsp sugar
• 2 egg whites
• Pinch of salt
• Butter for greasing ramekins
or muffin tins

Makes two soufflés

Preparation

Purée raspberries until smooth and strain out seeds if necessary.

Preheat oven to 205 C
(400 F) and butter the insides of two ramekins. Be sure to butter evenly to help soufflé rise well.

Coat ramekins with sugar and shake out any excess. In a clean and cool metal bowl, beat the egg whites with pinch of salt
until foamy.

Gradually incorporate the sugar while beating on high until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. Add half of the egg whites to the raspberry purée and gently fold in. Continue with the rest of the egg whites until the mixture is uniformly coloured. Spoon the batter into ramekins or muffin tins, filling them almost to
the top.

Bake for 10 minutes until tops have begun to turn golden brown. Dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Blue Valentine sugar cookies

Ingredients

• 1/2 cup butter, room
temperature, unsalted
• 2 cups all purpose flour
• ½ tsp baking powder
• ½ cup sugar
• 1 egg
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• ½ tsp salt
• Blue jolly ranchers or other
blue hard candy, crushed.
• Optional ingredients:icing
and sprinkles for decoration

Preparation

Royal icing

Beat 2 large egg whites with 2 tsp fresh lemon juice with electric mixer until combined. Gradually add 3 cups of confectioners sugar until desired consistency.

Cookies

Cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla and egg. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Roll into a ball and place in covered bowl. Chill dough overnight or for at least 45 minutes before baking.

Meanwhile, crush blue jolly ranchers with a sharp knife or wrap in tea towel and use a hammer. Preheat oven to 205 C (400 F). Roll onto floured surface to a quarter inch thickness. Cut out heart shapes with cookie cutter and place 1 inch apart on ungreased parchment paper on cookie sheet.

Bake for six minutes and turn oven down to 90 C (200 F). Take out cookies and immediately cut out desired shape while soft. Place enough crushed jolly ranchers in the cutouts to cover the area and pop cookies back in oven for approximately five minutes. Surface of candy should come out glossy and cookies should now be completely done, with golden edges.

Let sit for 15 minutes, or until candy surface is hard to the touch, carefully peel off from parchment paper and decorate if desired.

Sinful pomegranate martinis

Ingredients

• 1 shot vodka
• 1 shot pomegranate juice
• 1 tsp grenadine syrup
• Juice of half a lime
• Fresh pomegranate seeds to
garnish

Makes 2 martinis
Preparation

Shake all ingredients and serve in two martini glasses. Serve with pomegranate seeds for pops of intense pomegranate flavour with every sip.

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