If your romantic meal is sorted, but you want to make that little extra effort, try making one of these delicious sweets as a gift or for a post Valentine's dinner treat.
Image: i heart wines
Valentine's Day is a great excuse to enjoy yummy food with the one you love. If dinner is already sorted, why not create something special like one of these irresitable sweet treats?
Walnut cookie hearts
Image: California Walnuts
Express your love with these gorgeous chocolate-covered heart cookies.
- Makes 20 cookies
- 250g plain flour plus extra for rolling
- 125g California Walnuts, toasted
- 145g caster sugar
- 40g cocoa powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 185g chilled butter, cubed
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the flour, California walnuts, sugar, cocoa powder, salt and nutmeg. Process until the walnuts are finely ground. Add the butter and pulse until blended into the dry ingredients and the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
2. In a small cup, whisk together the egg yolks, water and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and process until the dough holds together in a stiff mass. Transfer the dough into a bowl and cover with clingfilm. Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes, until firm but not hard.
3. Preheat the oven to 180ᵒC/gas mark 4, and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the chilled dough in half (return one half to the fridge). On a lightly floured surface, roll half the dough out to a thickness slightly less than 5mm. If the top of the dough is sticky, sprinkle it lightly with additional flour.
4. Using a 4-5cm heart-shaped cutter, cut cookies from the rolled-out dough. Gather the scraps together, re-roll them, and cut additional cookies. As cookies are cut, place them, about 1cm apart, on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the cookies look dry. Cool for about 2 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely before filling. Continue rolling, cutting and baking until all the dough is used.
5. To assemble and decorate the cookies, place half of them in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Spread each one with about ½ teaspoon of jam, then top with a second cookie. When all the cookies have been filled, top each with about ½ teaspoon melted chocolate, spreading the chocolate with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the chocolate lightly with chopped walnuts. Let the cookies stand for 2-3 hours, or until the chocolate is firm, then store them in an airtight container.
Rose-infused meringue kisses
Image: i heart wines
These dainty meringue kisses are simply stunning and perfect for a Valentine's Day treat!
- 300g caster sugar
- 150g free range egg white
- Light pink food colouring
- 1 tsp freeze-dried strawberry powder
- ½ tsp raspberry powder
- ½ lemon - zested
- Slices of dried strawberry to garnish
For the caramel
- 100g sugar
- 1 tbsp i heart Rose
- Preheat your oven to 200ᵒC. Line a baking tray with baking parchment, pour in the caster sugar and heat in oven for 7 minutes
- Pour egg whites into a mixer and whisk slowly, allowing small stabilising bubbles to form, then increase the speed until egg whites form stiff peaks Take the sugar out of the oven, and turn oven down to 100ᵒC (leave door open to help speed this up) With your mixer on full speed, very slowly spoon the hot sugar into the beaten egg whites, making sure the mixture comes back up to stiff peaks after each addition of sugar.
- Once you have added all the sugar, continue to whisk on full speed until you have a smooth, stiff and glossy mixture You should continue to whisk for at least 5 minutes once sugar has incorporated. Feel the mixture between your fingers; if you can still feel the gritty sugar, keep whisking at full speed until it has dissolved and the mixture is smooth, stiff and glossy.
- Gently fold in a teaspoon of freeze-dried strawberry powder, half a teaspoon of raspberry powder and then add lemon zest for freshness. Gently fold it through the meringue being careful not to deflate the mixture.
- Paint inside of the piping bag with 4-5 spaced out stripes of light pink colour before adding the flavoured meringue mixture.
- Spoon your meringue into your disposable piping bag and cut the tip off Pipe out your kisses by keeping the bag tight, straight and directly above your baking tray. Squeeze from a 2cm height from the baking tray and then let go before pulling up to form peak.
- Once piped add a slice of dried strawberry to the side of the meringue Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the meringue bases come off the parchment paper clean While the kisses are cooling make your caramel.
- Heat the sugar and the i heart Rose in a saucepan over a medium heat until all sugar has dissolved and turns into a golden copper colour
- Take off the heat and very carefully (while the caramel is still hot and runny) dip the bases of the kisses into the caramel. Place the kisses back on the parchment to cool. Repeat this for all kisses
Champagne and raspberry truffles
Undoubtedly naughty but extremely nice – these champagne truffles are to die for.
- 400g white chocolate
- 150ml double cream
- 75ml champagne (or prosecco)
- 5tsp raspberry powder
- 20g raspberry powder to roll the truffles
- Break up the chocolate and put the pieces in a large bowl.
- Bring the double cream to the boil and pour the hot cream over the white chocolate.
- Leave to stand for a minute then stir to combine.
- Add the champagne/prosecco and mix. Then add the raspberry powder and whisk until all combined.
- Put cling film on top of the mix (touching it) and leave to cool for around 2 hours.
- Cover a baking tray with cling film. Using a tea spoon, scoop out a heaped amount and form into a ball.
- Roll the balls in the raspberry powder and serve alongisde a glass of champagne!
Will you be making any of these sweet treats? Let us know by tweeting us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page.