This year, we all need a little something extra to treat ourselves. Whether heart-shaped, coloured pink and red, or just full of delicious flavours, these ideas are the perfect complement to any dinner and dessert plans you’re cooking up.
Prep time: 25 min. Bake time: 10 min/batch
• 1 cup butter, softened
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1 large egg, room temperature
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 4 cups confectioners' sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3 to 4 tablespoons 2% milk
• Red food coloring, optional
• Preheat oven to 375°. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture.
• Using a cookie press fitted with a heart disk, press dough 1 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake until set but not brown, 6-8 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
• For frosting, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to reach a spreading consistency. If desired, tint with food coloring. Decorate cookies as desired.
Total Time: 15 min + chilling
• 12 large fresh strawberries
• 1/4 cup Nutella
• 1 cup milk chocolate chips, melted
• 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
• Confectioners' sugar
• Remove stems from strawberries. Using a paring knife, cut out centers; pipe Nutella into strawberries.
• Insert a toothpick into the side of each strawberry. Holding toothpick, quickly dip stem end of strawberry into melted chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Sprinkle with hazelnuts; place strawberries on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet, point side up.
• Remove toothpicks; refrigerate strawberries until set. Just before serving, dust with confectioners' sugar.
Total Time: 10 min
• 1 tablespoon coarse red sugar
• 3/4 to 1 cup ice cubes
• 1-1/2 ounces lemon-lime soda
• 1-1/2 ounces pomegranate liqueur or cranberry-pomegranate juice
• 1/2 ounce Triple Sec
• 1 ounce cranberry-pomegranate juice
• Lemon zest strip, optional
• Sprinkle red sugar on a plate. Moisten rim of a cocktail glass with water; dip rim in sugar to coat.
• Fill a shaker three-fourths full with ice. Add soda, liqueurs and juice; cover and shake until condensation forms on outside of shaker, 10-15 seconds. Strain into prepared glass. If desired, garnish with lemon zest.
Cherry Cream Cheese Dessert
Total Time: 15 min
• 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 12 squares)
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 1 package cream cheese, softened
• 1 can sweetened condensed milk
• 1/3 cup lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 can cherries
• In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Divide among 8 dessert dishes, about 4 rounded teaspoonfuls in each.
• In a small bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually add milk until blended. Beat in lemon juice and vanilla. Spoon 1/4 cup into each dish. Top with pie filling, about 1/4 cup in each.