Category: valentine’s day

Linzer tart cupcakes.

Ohhh, Valentine’s Day is here. Time for hearts. Hearts everywhere. Heart-shaped everything! And of course, here that includes… cupcakes.

I go batty for holidays ’round these here parts, in case you didn’t know notice.

These particular little cupcakes are inspired by Linzer tarts, or Linzer tortes. In America, you low them as the cookies with a hole cut out of the top piece… its filled with a red or pink colored jam or jelly and dusted with confectioner’s sugar. However in Austria those are considered Linzer sablés (Linzer Augen or “linzer eyes”). They’re also a riff on the cupcakes I posted last year; which were chocolate cupcakes filled with pink frosting, all in a heart-shape.

Linzer tart cupcakes for Valentine's Day.

There are a few ways of doing this neat little heart-shaped hole trick, but I just use the method I find easiest: I push the cutter down into the middle of the completely cooled (preferably refrigerated for a few hours) cupcake. After some wiggling, the heart-shaped piece should pop out when you remove the cookie cutter. Another way: cut the top of the cupcake off, add a layer of jam, then cut the hole out of the top and stick it back on.

Linzer tart cupcakes filled with strawberry jam.

Whatever way you choose, the end result is adorable. And sweet.

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Pink velvet hot cocoa for you & your Valentine.

Yep, it’s February. That means time for Valentine’s Day- get over it. It’s  freakin’ cute. Stop being so goddamn cynical and enjoy the loooooove.

Loooooove. Not love. Loooooove.

Pink velvet hot cocoa! Insanely easy and insanely pretty.

So yeah, you can hate on Valentine’s Day. But nobody can hate on hot cocoa. And this here just happens to be some PINK velvet hot cocoa. Thanks to A Beautiful Mess for the recipe idea!

Plus, how BEAUTIFUL does it look? Wouldn’t this be a perfect Valentine’s Day dessert beverage? I think so.

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Valentine’s Day recipe round-up!

Sweets for your sweet: Valentine's inspiration from Cupcake Rehab.

Typically, right around this time is when every blog in the world is shoving valentines down your throat. It’s probably already started in some places. All you’re gonna see for the next 11 days are hearts, everything pink & red, and the word ‘love.’ On blogs, websites, in stores and on magazine covers.

And really, as you can tell from the image above, this is one time I won’t be any different!

Sorry, guys. But I can’t help it. I love Valentine’s Day! So here’s a round-up of some of my favorite Valentine’s Day recipes, followed by some adorable recipes I’ve found on the web:

Valentine's Day recipe round-up!

  First, we have red velvet cupcakes with a vanilla bean cream cheese frosting (seen above). Classic. Can’t go wrong with ‘em.

  Second, there are some chocolate cupcakes filled with pink frosting, and a cute little heart-shaped window to see it through.

  Third, how about some blood orange curd? It’s not too Valentine-y, but it’s pink color still makes it a nice addition to breakfast on the 14th, as well as a perfect vanilla cake/cupcake filling.

  Or maybe an apple pie that looks like roses is more your speed.

  Heart-shaped cake pops are cute.

  Pink cupcakes are even cuter.

  Perhaps you don’t like baking? How about making a jar of hearts, aka strawberries in syrup?

  Linzer tart cookies filled with a red or pink jam/jelly is always a good choice.

  Rosewater-vanilla bean cupcakes are a good Valentine’s treat, too. Sugared flowers are optional!

  For you anti-Valentine people, there’s always something like a black cupcake with black & purple frosting, too (pardon the horrific photography & lame writing!).

  Pink M&M cookies are always a good choice- you can sub white & dark chocolate chips or dried cherries!

  Now for the first recipe from outside this blog: cinnamon Red Hots shortbread at Bakingdom.

  Red velvet whoopie pies from Annie’s Eats.

  And Cupid’s arrow cupcakes from Bakerella are just the cutest!

Saturday evening post Valentine's Day!

All you need is love. And cupcakes.

“Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”

- Julia Child

Just a short & sweet post today.

Nothing new. Nothing groundbreaking.

Just some good old fashioned Valentine’s stuff: red velvet cupcakes, little red hearts, etc. But with a twist… a black & white twist! And of course even the frosting had to have a little bit of black in it… so I made it a vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. Very simple: make a regular cream cheese frosting, and add the seeds from one half of a scraped out vanilla bean to it.

Black & white liners from sweet estelle’s baking supply, solid black liners from Layer Cake Shop. Cherry-flavored heart candies are from the drugstore, no idea what brand.

Tomorrow being Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d tell you all how much I appreciate & love you. You readers of mine make me blogging worth it. Your comments, both here & on my Facebook page & Instagram, and your tweets make my day. Every time. You’re all incredible. I say it all the time but it’s true- you make it worthwhile! I’ve met so many great people just through them commenting or following me on Social Media. It’s amazing.

So thank you, my hundreds & thousands of Valentines.

Fill your heart with frosting.

I wish I could say I love surprises, but I really don’t.

Deep down inside somewhere, I kinda do; I kinda do get excited about being surprised. But more often than not, it’s just an overwhelming sense of “What am I missing out on?!” and it drives me bananas. I hate not having control over things. I like knowing what’s happening, what time it’s happening, and where it’s going down… I like being dressed appropriately & I like being mentally prepared. Jay can tell you numerous times when I almost ruined birthday gifts, Christmas gifts or trips with this twisted way of thinking. I think the problem is when I know I’m going to be surprised. If you just spring a surprise on me, then I don’t have time to over-analyze or try & figure out what it is. Yeah I know- I’m a f#%!ing wack job who ruins everything. It’s not that I’m a control freak, though, not at all. I’m extremely laid back when it comes to most things. You can plan anything, take me anywhere, give me any gifts, etc, and I’ll be totally cool with it. I just really prefer to know ahead of time.

All that said, however, a cupcake surprise is a different story.

See, these cupcakes aren’t frosted traditionally. Instead, they’re filled with a surprise. And by that I mean they’re filled with a light, fluffy pink-colored vanilla buttercream through a convenient little cut-out heart shape. I used a little heart-shaped cookie cutter from Sur la Table that cost me a whopping $.76. I know, it almost bankrupted me.

Just bake your cupcakes, whatever kind you want, and when they’re all cooled cut out the shape using a small cookie cutter. I went down pretty deep so the entire cupcake would be filled, but you can just do a bit from the top. Then fill the cut-out shape with frosting using a piping bag & small round tip (for the size of my cookie cutter, Wilton’s 2A tip was perfect). Donesky. If you want to do the confectioner’s sugar thing, just dust them AFTER cutting out the shape but BEFORE filling with frosting. That would look awesome with a red velvet cupcake, too. Any & every combination works: chocolate with vanilla filling, red velvet with chocolate filling, red velvet with cream cheese filling, vanilla with strawberry filling, chocolate with strawberry filling, vanilla with chocolate filling, strawberry with chocolate filling… etc, etc. The sugar dusting just won’t be very visible on a vanilla cupcake, though. But that’s okay… it’s pretty without it, too. On that note, I’ve seen it done as a vanilla cupcake with lemon curd filling as well, which would be nice for spring.

*heart cake stand also from Sur La Table

You can use any flavor cupcake, any flavor or kind of frosting, and any shape cookie cutter. Stars, snowflakes, shamrocks, etc. Even just a circle! Here are some recipes, if you need them:

I used Wilton’s heart-shaped silicone baking cups to bake the cupcakes in. Any kind of shape will do, you don’t have to use hearts, nor do you have to use the same shape as your cookie cutter. A round cupcake with a heart cut-out is just as cute! Another excellent idea: letters. Cut out letters on top to spell out a message, or someone’s name, or just use one letter; maybe your kid’s initial for a birthday party. I’m partial to hearts, and the color pink, so obviously I was going to make ones like this for Valentine’s Day. But of course, this idea can extend far past Valentine’s Day.

I like the spelling out of a message idea, myself. Like maybe…

“Happy Valentine’s Day.”

Just a thought.

printable-valentine-cards-cupid-inside-red-heart

This little pie is the apple of my eye.

This pie is something I made after seeing a beautiful French apple tart David Lebovitz posted on his Instagram page. The apples had been cut into roses, and placed on top of a tart dough. It looked as if there was something else underneath the apples, but I couldn’t quite tell. It was stunning. The presentation alone was enough to make someone who didn’t even like pie want to dive right in.

Or at the very least it made me want to take a closer look!

As soon as I saw it, I thought it’d make a fantastic Valentine’s Day dish. Simple, easy, fairly healthy (all things considered) with very few basic ingredients… yet insanely impressive looking. It ends up looking like one of those things you learn in culinary school. And of course, I had these little tart pans I bought & never used, so I thought I’d make little individual rosey apple pies. Or tarts.

Apples contain a lot of symbolism, especially when it comes to love, sex & seduction, which make it perfect for the upcoming holiday of love. We all know what the apple really was in the Bible, don’t we?

Its association with knowledge is an allusion to the revelatory states described by some shamans and users of psychedelic mushrooms.[3][4][5] At times artists would co-opt the apple, as well as other religious symbology, whether for ironic effect or as a stock element of symbolic vocabulary. Thus, secular art as well made use of the apple as symbol of love and sexuality. It is often an attribute associated with Venus who is shown holding it.

-Wikipedia

Rosy cheeks is commonly a complimentary term. Plus, the old saying, “the apple of my eye” clearly means that you’re looking upon someone favorably. So the apple has long been attached to the sweeter side of life… however because of that, it’s also been tied to the lure of the not-so-sweet; i.e. in fairy tales such as Snow White.

But for our purposes, let’s just keep it happy… & rosy.

“COMING UP ROSES” MINI APPLE TARTS (OR PIES…)

Ingredients:

  • 1 batch pie crust dough (enough for one 9″ circle or whatever tart or pie pan(s) you’re using)
  • 5-6 apples (Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Macintosh or a combo) cored and sliced paper thin but NOT peeled (again, amount of apples depends on pan size/amount of pans)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375° F. Press your prepared pie crust into the pan or pie plate you’re using. You can use individual pie or tart tins as I did, a full-size pie plate, a full-size round tart pan or a rectangular tart pan.
  2. In a bowl, combine the super-thinly sliced apples with the lemon juice, butter, sugar & cinnamon, tossing to coat. Put them in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to soften them enough so they bend without snapping. Using them in order of size, make roses using the slices. I found it easier with the small tart pans to start from the outside and work my way inside to the center, but with larger pans or a pie plate you’d have to start from the center coil & work outwards. For small tarts, make one rose per pan, for larger pans make as many as you can fit/as many apples as you have. If you have extra slices, roll them in little coils & stick them in between the large roses (only if you’re making one large pie or tart). Alternately, if you want to, or need to, you can make leaves out of extra dough to fill in empty spots. Just use a cookie cutter or knife to cut the shape, brush with some egg and stick around the roses.
  3. Once you’re done, bake the pie or tart for 30 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven, allow to cool until room temperature, and serve with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar. A side of whipped cream works too.

I’m telling you, this is not as hard as it looks or sounds. Yes, it takes time. Of course it does- you’re rolling thin apple slices into rose petals! But it’s not hard. It takes some patience, though, for sure. And you might have to re-zap them in the microwave to soften them again as you go along. You want them very soft & pliable, not crisp. Basically you want them the opposite of how you’d typically prefer your apples.

You can also make these into individual apple-rose garnishes by rolling the slices in a long strip of pie crust dough, then baking it until they’re golden. Just lay the strip down, brush it with egg white, and lay the slices next to one another, facing the same way (skin side up, cut side down). Make sure that they’re slightly overlapping. Then gently start to roll it from the edge, and when it’s all rolled just use some more egg white to “seal” the pastry to itself. Then bake. I’d say on a cookie sheet, at 325° or 350° until browned. You can then use them on top of cupcakes, or on top of an apple pie, etc.

And don’t worry- imperfection isn’t a bad thing. Nothing is perfect in nature, anyway, so as long as it even vaguely resembles a rose… you’re good! Mine aren’t that perfect.

Also, I’m aware this is not apple season. But you can still get some beautiful apples at the supermarket or local fruit markets for a decent price. Or, maybe you’ve got some in cold storage that you can use. Either way, it’d be a shame to miss out on making these gorgeous little pies… tarts… whatever. A combination of different colored apples would make for beautiful roses. You could even toss some Granny Smith’s in there if you like, maybe on the inner coils. For me, one Gala apple made roughly FOUR roses that perfectly fit in my mini-tart pans, which are almost 3″ in diameter. This will vary based on the variety & size of your apples, obviously, so I’d err on the side of buying more apples than you think you’ll need.

‘Cause really, you can never have too many pommes.

 

The Friday Fifteen: Hearts all over.

Happy February. Isn’t it crazy that Valentine’s Day is in two weeks?! I never really understood the deal with people who hate on it so much. What’s so bad about it? You shouldn’t need a special day to remind people you love them, no…

…but what’s wrong with a day that celebrates love?

(And there are people who not just hate the holiday, but they hate the hearts… hate the colors… hate the pink food, etc. And to them I say: screw off. Seriously. Get a F%*#ING sense of humor & enjoy your goddamn life; stop being so crabby & ornery. If you’re so miserable that you can’t lighten up a little and enjoy some hearts & Valentine’s, then you’re a lost cause. And frankly if that’s the case, this blog is probably not for you)

Okay so basically- in case you’re new here- every few weeks or so I do something called ‘The Friday Fifteen.’ I’ve been doing it since the first week in October & I have a lot of fun with it. Each edition features fifteen things I’m currently loving, cooking, wearing, buying, watching, etc. It’s not just about food for once! It gives me a chance to share awesome finds with my readers that go beyond the every day cookery of this blog.

This week (OBVIOUSLY) is the Valentine’s Day edition! Let’s get to it…

Saint Valentine’s Day, commonly known as Valentine’s Day,[1][2][3] or the Feast of Saint Valentine,[4] is observed on February 14 each year. Today Valentine’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, mostly in the West, although it remains a working day in all of them.

St. Valentine’s Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. The most popular martyrology associated with Saint Valentine was that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry, and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire; during his imprisonment, he is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer Asterius and before his execution, according to the legendary account, he wrote, “from your Valentine” as a farewell to her.[5] Today, Saint Valentine’s Day is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion,[6] as well as in the Lutheran Church.[7] The Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrates Saint Valentine’s Day, albeit on July 6th and July 30th, the former date in honor of the Roman presbyter Saint Valentine, and the latter date in honor of Hieromartyr Valentine, the Bishop of Interamna.[8][9]

There is an additional embellishment to The Golden Legend, added centuries later, and widely repeated.[26] On the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he would have written the first “valentine” card himself, addressed to the daughter of his jailer Asterius, who was no longer blind, signing as “From your Valentine,” an expression still used to this day.[27] It has been published by both American Greetings and The History Channel.[28]

The day’s association with romantic love grew in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”).[1][3] Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.[10]

  1. Since, like I said, there’s two weeks to Valentine’s Day, which is one of my favorite holidays (I say that about them all, don’t I?), so I thought my first thing on this edition of the F15 would be a list of Valentine’s sweets & treats I’ve made in years past, which can be found by clicking here! Cupcakes, cookies, canned fruits, syrups, cake pops, and other stuff… tons of ideas!
  2. I always give a few Etsy ideas, and this time is no different. I think this heart-shaped coffee scoop from beehivekitchenware is so freakin’ adorable! They’ve got measuring spoons too. Great for a coffee addict!
  3. So here’s another Etsy gift idea that I happen to ADORE. A custom cake stand from vesselsandwares with you & your loved ones names (or a couple you know) & a heart, available in a variety of colors. It’s listed as a “wedding” cake stand, but it’d be great for an anniversary gift or Valentine gift as well.
  4. I have to put this on my list this month: BEDS. Beds are divine. If I could live in bed, I would. No kidding. I love beds. What lovely inventions. If only all of life’s business could be conducted in one’s pajamas under a big duvet in a comfy bed… what a wonderful world this would be. I think everyone would be happier.
  5. On a whim last month I bought a season of Jem & The Holograms on DVD. I’m kind of obsessed now. It brings me back to being 6 years old again… how many things can do that in life? Not many. A worthwhile purchase.
  6. These heart bowls make my heart skip a beat. I have a thing for prep bowls… and appetizer plates… and measuring cups… and mugs. SuzannesPotteryFarm has a lot of other cute handmade pottery as well, but those bowls! What an absolutely adorbs V-Day gift, especially if paired with some of those measuring spoons I mentioned above…
  7. Another Etsy find: AHeirloom‘s New York State cutting board. I FUCKING LOVE THIS. SOMEONE BUY ME THIS.
  8. These Pantone tarts just knock me out. The artist in me & the “foodie” in me (obnoxious word) both got a chuckle out of it. Also, they’re just pretty to look at. I’d love some prints of those photographs for my kitchen.
  9. I’m lusting after the KitchenAid pasta maker attachments. All of them. And a flex-edge beater.
  10. I love using Starbucks® frappuccino bottles as little milk bottles. Instead of hunting them down from a supply website & spending more than you need to, just get some Starbucks drinks. Once they’re finished, wash them out, remove the labels (using Goo Gone if you must) & there you go… little milk bottles for food photography props or birthday parties. You can even paint the outside of the caps with a white enamel, if you plan on using them.
  11. Oh- how cute is this?! A heartwarmer. I think I have to make one or two.
  12. An apron that looks like a tutu. It could probably be worn as part of an outfit as well… be still my ex-ballerina heart.
  13. Another thing: glass beaker measuring cups. Reminds me of everything I loved about chemistry class & those kid’s science shows on PBS. Gah! Too much stuff to love, too much stuff to buy.
  14. Retronaut.
  15. Finally.. as always… vintage Valentines! I love all kinds of vintage stuff, but I think vintage holiday postcards are just awesome.