Sweet to eat: Ways to say, 'Be Mine, Valentine'

February 9, 2011 11:05:00 AM

Jan Swoope - jswoope@cdispatch.com


There''s just something about Valentine''s Day. From the first little sack "mail box" we decorated and taped to our elementary school desks for classmates to drop their Valentines in, we were hooked. Now, all grown up, we still love to be remembered -- and to remember those we care about. 


Hearts and flowers are all well and good for saying "You''re special," but there is something mighty sweet about a Valentine you can eat. Whether it''s for the love of our life, our children, or friends, saying "I love you" with something delicious never goes amiss.  


Cookies are a popular way to butter up a sweetheart.  


For bakers like Diane Earwood of Columbus, with her home-based Cookies, Etc., business, Cupid''s holiday always triggers a flurry of orders, for parties, classrooms and happies. Diane has more cookie cutters than she can count, but the tried-and-true heart gets a real workout this time of year. Armed with plenty of pink, white and red icing, she will be busy in the kitchen right up until Feb. 14. 




Berry good 


The plump red strawberry seems made Valentine''s Day. So do bouquets of flowers. But with today''s Berry Sweet Bouquet recipe from www.familyfun.go.com, you can cover "sweet" and "floral" in one impressive gesture. Wooden skewers, candy melts, some stems of mint and a touch of food coloring can transform a dozen strawberries into a dozen "roses."  


Or, for a romantic dinner for two -- or dinner party for 12 -- you may want to try strawberries filled with cream. Made with mascarpone cheese, whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract, these "petaled" strawberries can add pretty to any table. Mascarpone is a soft, unripened cheese from Switzerland and Italy. It is sweet and buttery-rich, and has the texture of clotted or sour cream. Produced mainly in the fall and winter, it''s usually found in specialty food stores and in the deli sections of some grocery stores. 




Good fortune 


One unique cookie variation to try at home tells your fortune and tastes good, too. Valentine fortune cookies (recipe included) are simpler than you may think. Kids especially will love these treats made with a piecrust, cookie cutter, colored sugar and your own creative writing skills. 




Ideas for the day 


Making Feb. 14 special means making it memorable. After deciding how to impress your Valentine''s tastebuds, you may want to consider small gestures, like these below, that add to the enjoyment of the day.









12 wooden skewers 


Cotton swabs 


Green food coloring 


12 large strawberries 


14 ounces of candy melts 


Fresh mint 




(Source: www.familyfun.go. com/valentines-day) 








16-18 large strawberries 


1/3 cup mascarpone cheese 


1/3 cup heavy whipping cream 


2-3 tablespoons granulated white sugar 


1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 




(Source: www.joyofbaking.com) 






Makes abut 16 cookies. 




Chilled 9-inch piecrust 




3-inch wide round cookie cutter or drinking glass 


Rolling pin or glass 


Nontoxic marker 


Slips of paper 




Colored sugar 




(Source: www.familyfun.go.com) 






Makes 16 2-inch squares, or slightly smaller hearts 




4 tablespoons butter, plus extra for pan 


3/4 cup evaporated milk 


2 cups sugar 


1/2 teaspoon salt 


1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows 


1 teaspoon vanilla extract 


One 12-ounce bag semisweet chocolate chips 


Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.