Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Valentines Day Treats: Fun For Everyone

While Valentine's Day is usually treated as a day for lovers, there's no reason you can't turn it into a family event to show your love for your kids as well.  Lots of moms like to plan a fun activity or make a special treat with their children when Valentine's Day rolls around. 

For a project that embraces the mood of the occasion and offers an edible reward, make heart-shaped treats from puffed rice cereal and a few other ingredients that you probably have on hand already for the whole family to enjoy.

*Photo By Chris Short

My Valentine Rice Krispy Treat (Julie Made It) by Chris_Short
Heart Shaped Rice Cereal Treats
1/4 c. Butter
7 oz. Marshmallow Creme
1/2 c. Peanut Butter
Red Food Coloring
6 c. Puffed Rice Cereal

Melt butter in the microwave in a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl.  Approximately 30 to 60 seconds should do it.  Be careful not to overheat your butter.  

Stir the marshmallows into the butter with a mixing spoon and place the mixture back in the microwave.  Heat for two to three minutes until marshmallows are melted.  Stir the mixture together until it is thoroughly combined.

Add peanut butter to the melted marshmallows and butter and stir thoroughly by hand.  

Add two or three drops of red liquid food coloring to the marshmallow mixture for a touch of Valentine color.

Stir the puffed rice cereal -- any brand -- into the marshmallow mixture.

Now for the fun….  Grease your kids' hands with solid vegetable shortening so they can work with the cereal mixture without it sticking to their hands.  Allow them to form the mixture into heart shapes freestyle! This is so much fun- even for adults!  

If you'd rather, use several heart-shaped cookie cutters to guide your creations.  Place the cookie cutter on a sheet of waxed paper.  Fill it with the cereal mixture, and push the cereal mixture out of the cookie cutter and onto the waxed paper.  Greasing your cookie cutters will allow them to release the heart-shaped treats more easily.  

Once you've formed all of the treats, allow them to set for a half an hour so they will retain their shape when served.  Serve them up with some strawberry milk for a red and pink treat that will be a hit with the whole family.

Super Bowl Cupcakes

This year, for the infamous “Super Bowl Party” I wanted to make something different. I know how to make spinach and artichoke dip, I can order pizza and wings whenever I want, veggies are something I eat everyday and I just didn’t feel like making your typical cake and cookies for dessert. So, where else to look than good ‘ole Pinterest? No where.

As soon as I saw them, I knew it was what I wanted to make…BEER CUPCAKES! Two of my favorite things in life and I knew my husband would be curious to try them. I found this great pin and went to the website, Erica’s Sweet Tooth for the recipe:

Blue Moon and Corona Cupcakes
Recipe adapted from Miss Make

I used Erica's Pictures b/c they turned out better than mine!
For the beer cupcakes
3/4 cups butter, at room temperature
1-3/4 cup sugar
2-1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp orange or lime zest
1-cup Blue Moon or Corona beer, plus more for brushing on tops
1/4-cup milk
Orange/lime wedges and sanding sugar for garnish

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line 24 muffin tins with cupcake liners.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add eggs, beating after each addition then add the vanilla and zest.
- Combine milk and beer and alternatively add this mixture and the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture with the mixer on low speed, starting and ending with the flour.  
- Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 18 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean.
- When cupcakes are done, poke holes in the tops of the cupcakes with toothpicks and brush some beer on each while still warm.  

For the citrus cream cheese frosting:
12 oz cream cheese, cold
6 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp freshly squeezed orange/lime juice
1 tsp orange/lime zest
4 cups powdered sugar

- Cream together the cream cheese and butter in an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 2-3 minutes.  
- Add the citrus juice and zest and gradually add the powdered sugar until well combined.  Beat until smooth for about 2 minutes.
- Load frosting in a piping bag fit with a large star tip and pipe cupcake tops once cooled.  

Recipe yields 24 cupcakes- and they were so delicious! Definitely might be a repeat recipe next year! Thanks Erica!