When I was in elementary school, my mom was the BEST, most creative room mom ever. For every classroom holiday party that we had, she would (and still does with everything) go full out. One of my favorite holidays that she would decorate the room for was Valentine’s Day. Even today, our kitchen is full of sparkly hearts and signs that read “love.” Along with the cutest decorations, we would always make little Valentine’s Day inspired treats together. Below are five of my favorite V-Day treats that are easy and so fun to make. XOXO.
For the cake:
- Cookie spray
One c. (two sticks) butter, softened
One c. granulated sugar
Two large eggs
One tsp. pure vanilla extract
Two and a half c. all-purpose flour
One-fourth c. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
One tsp. baking soda
One tsp. kosher salt
One c. Buttermilk
Two tsp. distilled white vinegar
Two tbsp. red food coloring
For the cream cheese frosting:
(Eight-oz.) block cream cheese, softened
Four tbsp. butter, softened
Four and one-fourth c. powdered sugar
One tsp. pure vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt
Colorful sprinkles, for serving (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°. Line one eight-inch round cake pan, and one eight-inch square cake pan with parchment paper. Grease both with cooking spray. In a large bowl using a hand mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer), beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add vanilla.
- In another large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Add half the dry ingredients to wet ingredients, beating until just combined. Add buttermilk, vinegar and red food coloring, beating to combine. Add remaining dry ingredients.
- Divide batter between prepared cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the frosting: In a large bowl using a hand mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer), beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and salt and mix until combined.
- Cut round cake down the center, then place cut sides on two adjacent sides of the square cake. Frost entirely with cream cheese frosting. If using, garnish with sprinkles and serve.
Peanut Butter Balls
- Two c. confectioners’ sugar
- One c. creamy peanut butter
- Four tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temp
- One tsp. pure vanilla extract
- One-fourth tsp. kosher salt
- Nine oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- Flaky salt and melted red candy melts, for decorating
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt until dough forms into a ball for about two minutes. Roll dough into one-inch balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm for about 20 minutes.
- Once balls are firm, place chocolate in a small measuring cup and microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between each, until melted and smooth.
- Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. Working with a quarter of the balls at a time (keep remaining frozen), dip in chocolate one at a time, letting excess drip off, and transfer to the baking sheet. If desired, sprinkle with flaky salt. Repeat with remaining peanut butter balls.
- Once the chocolate has set, if desired, decorate with melted red candy melts. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
- Three-fourths c. unsalted butter
- Four oz. unsweetened chocolate
- Four oz. semisweet chocolate
- One-half c. all-purpose flour
- One-half c. unsweetened cocoa powder
- Three-fourths tsp. salt
- Six large eggs
- One c. granulated sugar
- One c. packed brown sugar
- Two tsp. vanilla extract
- Vanilla frosting, for decorating
- Heat oven to 350°F. Line 13-inch by nine-inch pan with foil; grease foil.
- In a three-quart saucepan, melt butter and chocolates on low, stirring. Remove from heat.
- In a bowl, whisk flour, cocoa and salt. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs until blended. Gradually add sugars; beat until tripled in volume for about 10 minutes.
- Fold in chocolate mixture and vanilla, then flour mixture. Pour into pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out almost clean for 28 to 32 minutes.
- Once cool, cut brownies into hearts freehand or using a heart-shaped cookie cutter. (Tip: Don’t let the trimmings go to waste—you can even crumble them onto a sundae!)
- Pipe on store-bought frosting to create cute chocolate “conversation hearts.”
Mini Rosebud Cupcakes
For the buttercream frosting:
- One lb. confectioners’ sugar
- One c. unsalted butter
- Two tbsp. heavy cream
- Two tsp. pure vanilla extract
For the toppings:
- Red sour straps
- Make a batch of your favorite cupcakes. Let cool.
- Make frosting.
- Begin to tightly roll a red sour strap into a rosebud, then loosely twist it while continuing to wrap it around the bud to form the petals. Tuck the end underneath the rose and secure with one end of a toothpick; stick the other end into the top of the cupcake.
Rice Krispie Valentine Lollipops
- One 10 ounce package of large marshmallows
- Four tablespoons butter
- One teaspoon red food coloring
- Six cups rice Krispie cereal
- Eight ounces vanilla-flavored candy coating
- Candy sprinkles for decorating
- Place butter and marshmallows in a large bowl and heat on high in a microwave for two minutes. Remove, stir and heat for another two minutes. Take the bowl out of the microwave and stir really well until marshmallows and butter are combined. Add food coloring and mix well. Add rice Krispies to the bowl and stir to combine, working fast.
- Mold mixture into a large square, about nine by 13 by one-half inch thick, on a sheet of wax paper, let cool slightly and cut out heart shapes with a cookie cutter and set aside.
- Melt candy coating in a small sauté pan according to package directions. Spread a thin coat of the candy coating on the top of the heart shapes, place in a wide flat bowl or on a plate and coat generously with candy sprinkles. Insert lollipop sticks in the bottom of each heart or serve on their own as cookies.
Enjoy and happy Valentine’s Day!