Valentine’s Day is one of those celebrations that can be either cherished and memorable or bittersweet and disregarded. For me, it has always been a day filled with sugary treats and homemade crafts. As a little girl, I enjoyed filling my classmates’ homemade mailboxes (aka decorated shoeboxes) with candy conversation hearts and Looney Toons Valentines. As a teenager, I sent secret candy grahams to my best girlfriends and all of my little crushes (which by the way was the best idea ever).
Now, as a young adult, I find that Valentine’s is a day filled with sharing and reflecting on everyone you have been blessed with in your life. You don’t need to be ‘in a relationship’ to cherish this day, for it is simply a day to celebrate those you love with words of affirmation and small acts of kindness. It’s not necessary to shower your loved ones with candies and cards, fancy dinners and flowers….although I was pleasantly surprised to find a dozen roses waiting at my doorstep...not mad about it…just saying ;)
Instead, send a handwritten card to your family or bake a special treat for your friends to show them just how much you really care. Here are some ideas from my sweet tooth to yours…
‘One-Bowl’ Chocolate Cupcakes
Cupcake Recipe by: Martha Stewart
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons safflower oil (I used vegetable oil)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Ganache Recipe by: Martha Stewart
2/3 cup heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2 ounces white chocolate, melted
Pastry bag with fitted tip
First up, the Chocolate Cupcakes
Yields 18-20 cupcakes
(1) Preheat oven to 350° F.
(2) Line standard muffin tins with paper liners; set aside. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl.
(3) Add eggs, warm water, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla, and mix until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of bowl to assure batter is well mixed.
(5) Bake until tops spring back when touched, about 20 minutes, rotating pan once if needed.
(6) Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.
(1) Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat.
(2) Place chocolate and corn syrup in a small bowl.
(1) Turn cupcakes upside down and dip into ganache until cupcake is completely covered.
(2) Invert cupcakes and allow 30 minutes for ganache to set.
(4) Transfer to pastry bag with fitted tip and write messages on top of ganache.
(5) Allow an additional 30 minutes for chocolate to set.