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“Red” Hot Desserts for Valentine’s Day

If you’re one of those people who enjoys taking a theme and running with it, you probably love Valentine’s Day! After all, there are so many things you can do with heart shapes and lots of red and pink color!  No doubt you’ve got hearts of many designs hanging in your home or office, you probably have whimsical heart-shaped objects floating across your screen saver, and chances are you’ll dress in red when February 14th rolls around.

But while the bulk of your Valentine-themed items might include decorations or apparel, with a little creativity, you can also include the Valentine’s Day theme in your cooking, especially your desserts. You might experiment with designing heart-shaped baked items or simply include lots of red in your sweet Valentine’s Day concoctions. The sky’s the limit, but below are some suggestions for fun Valentine desserts that appeal to a wide variety of tastes, from that special someone to those little ones who fill your life with love.

Cookies and Cakes

Ah, cookies. Who doesn’t love these tasty little bite-sized morsels of sweet goodness? And they’re ideal as a Valentine’s Day treat for both the young and young-at-heart.
The most logical Valentine cookie, no doubt, is one that is heart-shaped. Sugar cookies, the kind you roll and then cut with cookie cutters, are the most popular choice. Use a favorite recipe you might use for similar Christmas cookies and purchase heart-shaped cutters of different sizes or other Valentine-theme cutters. If you’d like, you can color the dough with red food coloring (the Wilton® gel colorings make the most vivid red) or use traditional dough and add red sugar sprinkles or jimmies.

For an added twist, make these buttery cookies into a sandwich cookie by putting two together and adding a filling of sweet strawberry preserves or raspberry jam. Yummy!
Similarly, Linzer sandwich cookies are also ideal for Valentine’s Day. These tasty Austrian favorites can be made using a round cutter and a small heart-shaped cutter. Use a round cookie for both top and bottom but cut a heart shape in the top cookie so you can see the traditional black currant preserves inside. These cookies generally include blanched almonds but you can also use other nutty favorites like walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts.

If you and your special someone prefer cakes to cookies, why not opt for Red Velvet Cake? This delight is a southern favorite that uses red food coloring to give it its hue. Usually baked in layers, it’s best when served with cream cheese frosting.

Strawberries, Raspberries, and Cherries…Oh My!

Red-colored Valentine’s Day desserts of many varieties traditionally make liberal use of strawberries, cherries, and raspberries. Depending on where you live, you may have difficulty finding the fresh variety of these fruits in February, but you can almost always find the frozen kind, which are suitable for many recipes.

Strawberry or raspberry mousses are a good idea and are perfect after a somewhat heavy meal because they’re light and fluffy. They’re also quite easy to make and generally include only a few inexpensive ingredients like gelatin, sugar, and heavy cream. You can garnish the mousse with whole berries and whipped cream.

Strawberry shortcake is also a fun choice but tends to be best with fresh strawberries. Shortcake can be made with traditional yellow cake or you can use a quick recipe that calls for biscuits instead.

And if you’re lucky enough to have the fresh variety of any of these fruits available to you in February, you can also consider cherry or strawberry pie for dessert or perhaps a tasty English raspberry trifle, made with sherry-soaked pound cake and whipped cream.

Strawberries, raspberries, and cherries also make great garnishes. Make a compote with any of the fruits and use it to top cheesecake, ice cream, chocolate cake, or any number of other desserts that go well with these sweet red delights.