Heart to heart: homemade goodies and heart-shaped treasures are the special ingredients in this Valentine's basket.
Each individually wrapped treat peeks from within a cellophane tent nestled safely on a bed of confetti. Of course, things that are pink or in the shape of a heart are perfect gifts. You will have so much fun discovering the many small heart-shaped happies available, such as paperweights, picture frames, sunglasses, playing cards, cookie cutters, soaps, notepads, and jewelry boxes. Place each gift in a small cellophane bag with confetti and ribbons, and place it inside the basket.
Don't forget a few packages of homemade cookies and candies. Here are a few recipes for some easy and delicious treats that you must include. Now ask a friend over, and enjoy baking cookies, making candy and creating these special valentines for those you love and appreciate.
LOVE KNOTS (shown above)
60 pecan halves, toasted 1 13-ounce) bag Rolo caramels in milk chocolate (about 60 pieces) 1 (15-ounce) bag tiny twist pretzels Toast pecans in a single layer on a cookie sheet in a 350-degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Set aside. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Unwrap Rolo candies, and place each candy on top of a tiny twist pretzel on a foil-tined baking sheet. Heat in oven for about 3 minutes or until Rolos begin to melt. Remove from oven, and immediately press a toasted pecan on top of each Rolo. Remove to waxed paper. Store in a sealed tin. Yield: about 60 love knots.
EASY CANDY STRAWBERRIES (shown at right)
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 1 cup almonds, ground 1 pound shredded coconut 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring 2 (3-ounce) packages strawberry gelatin 1 tube green icing or fresh mint leaves Combine condensed milk, almonds, coconut, vanilla, food coloring, and 1 package gelatin in a bowl, and mix well. Chill for 2-3 hours or overnight. Shape into small strawberry shapes, and roll in remaining box of gelatin. Make stems and leaves from green icing, or use fresh mint leaves. Layer strawberries between waxed paper, and store in an airtight container. Yield: about 36 pieces.
HEART SUGAR COOKIES (shown above)
2 cups all-propose flow 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup butter or margarine 1 cup sugar 1 egg 1 tablespoon evaporated milk 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, milk, and vanilla. Add flour mixture. Roll out to about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick, and cut into hearts. Bake for about 15 minutes. Do not overbake. Top with Glaze. Yield: 16-24 cookies. GLAZE: 2 cups confectioner's sugar 1/4 stick margarine 1/4 cup evaporated milk 1/2 teaspoon vanilla A few drops red food coloring Mix together all ingredients. Brush over cookies.
ALMOND THUMBPRINT COOKIES (shown at bottom left)
1 cup butter 1/4 cup sugar 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon almond flavoring 3/4 cup almonds, very finely chopped (use food processor) Strawberry jelly or jam Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add flour and salt, and mix well. Stir in almond flavoring. Shape into small balls, roll in almonds, and press in the center with thumb. Spoon a small amount of jelly or jam in the indention. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly browned. Yield: about 3 dozen small cookies.
EASY TURTLES (shown far left)
72 pecan halves 24 caramels, unwrapped 6 ounces almond bark 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips Preheat oven to 300 degrees. On a greased baking sheet, arrange pecan halves in groups of three (end to end), flat sides down. Place a caramel on top of each cluster of pecans. Place hr oven until caramels soften, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from oven, and flatten each caramel with a buttered spoon. Cool slightly. Place almond bark and chocolate chips in a microwave-safe dish; heat on low at 2-minute intervals until chocolate is melted. Dip turtles in chocolate to coat; cool on waxed paper. Store in a tightly covered container in a cool place. Yield: 24 turtles.
EASY CARAMELS (shown below)
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk 1 cup light corn syrup 2 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed 1 cup butter 1/8 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon vanilla 3/4 cup pecans, finely chopped Combine condensed milk, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a 2-quart microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 4 minutes or until butter is melted. Stir until mixture is well-blended. Microwave on high for 14 minutes or until mixture reaches 245 degrees (firm-ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Add vanilla and pecans, and mix well. Let stand for 10 minutes. Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan. Refrigerate until cooled. Remove candy slab to a cutting board; cut into 1-inch squares. Wrap each piece individually in waxed paper, twisting the ends, or in plastic wrap, folding ends under. Store in a tightly covered container in a cool place. Yield: about 117 pieces.
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|Date:||Jan 1, 2006|
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