Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to indulge in sweets.

Here are a few traditional items with an unusual twist.

RED VELVET 

DOUGHNUTS

From simpleseasonal.com

nonstick spray

2 cups flour

½ cup red cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

½ cup unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

2-3 drops red food coloring optional

Preheat to 325, spray donut pan with nonstick spray and wipe off excess.

Mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in small bowl.

Beat butter and sugar on medium high until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).

Add eggs, mixing for 30 seconds in between each addition.

Add vanilla. Turn off mixer and scrape down sides. Mix on high for 15-20 seconds.

Turn mixer to low. Add 1⁄3 of flour mixture. Add 1⁄2 buttermilk. Repeat, ending with flour. Add red food coloring if desired.

Transfer doughnut batter to pastry bag fitted with a round piping tip. Pipe batter into pan, leaving a 1⁄4” of room.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until they spring back when gently touched. Let rest for 5-7 min, remove from pan.

Ice and decorate as desired.

HEART COOKIES

From sugarspunrun.com

1 cup unsalted butter softened

3⁄4 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1 large egg yolk

2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour

Marble Icing Glaze

3 cups powdered sugar sifted

3 Tablespoons light corn syrup

3-4 Tablespoons milk

1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1⁄4 teaspoon almond extract

gel food coloring

Preheat oven to 350F.

In KitchenAid mixer or with electric hand-mixer beat your butter until well-creamed.

Add sugar to the mixing bowl and beat with the butter until well combined (about 30 seconds).

Stir in vanilla extract and salt, stirring until well-combined, and scrape down the sides of the bowl using a rubber spatula to ensure ingredients are well-incorporated.

Add egg yolk and beat until combined

With mixer on medium-low speed, gradually add flour until well-incorporated (you will definitely need to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl several times for this, as the mixture is fairly dry and crumbs tend to settle at the bottom of the bowl).

Transfer dough to clean surface and use your hands to form it into a cohesive ball.

Flatten into a disk (about 1" thick), cover with clear wrap, and chill for 15 minutes.

Once dough has chilled, transfer it to a clean, lightly floured surface and use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out to about 1⁄4" thickness.

Lightly flour your cookie cutters and cut out your shapes, transferring them to ungreased cookie sheet.

Once you have cut out all of the shapes that you can, be sure to re-combine the scraps and roll out and cut out again to get the maximum number of cookies from your dough.

Bake on 350F for 10-12 minutes (longer if you are using larger cookie cutterand allow cookies to cool completely before dipping in chocolate.

Marble Icing Glaze

In a large bowl, combine sifted powdered sugar, 3 Tbsp milk, and light corn syrup. Whisk until smooth. If mixture is too dry, add additional milk, one teaspoon at a time until mixture can be stirred.

Stir in extracts.

Glaze should be thick, to test that it is the right consistency drop a few droplets on top of a test cookie. If the glaze remains stiff, it needs to be thinned. If it runs off the cookie, it is too thin and needs more powdered sugar. If it settles down smoothly, it is just right.

Divide glaze into four small bowls.

Working with one bowl at a time, use a toothpick (a different toothpick for each color) and dip it into the food coloring bottle and then into the glaze. You want a small pool of food coloring about the size of a mini chocolate chip or two.

Drag a toothpick through the food coloring and glaze until it is prettily swirled/marbled.

Holding your cookie at the base, dip the surface of each cookie into the glaze (take a look at your first cookie — are you satisfied with the pattern? Adjust whorls with additional food coloring as needed).

Once the first bowl runs out or the colors become too muddled together from dipping, move onto your next bowl of food coloring (you will probably need to stir as the surface may have begun to harden).

Repeat steps 5-7 until all cookies have been dipped. Allow them to harden at least 30 minutes (may take longer) for glaze to set. Enjoy!

Keep uneaten cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

BAILEY’S OREO TART

Mykitchenlove.com

Oreo Crust:

2 cups crushed Oreos or Oreo crumbs

6 tbsp unsalted butter

Baileys Filling:

475 grams mascarpone cheese

1⁄4 cup granulated sugar

3-5 tbsp Baileys (or other Irish Creme Liquor)

Ganache Drizzle:

1⁄2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1-2 tbsp whipping cream OR Baileys

Oreo Crust:

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Melt butter in microwave in short bursts (30 seconds to start, then in 20 second intervals until melted). Mix with crushed Oreos and press firmly into a fluted tart pan (I use a rectangular 4.5" (11.5 cm) x 13" (34 cm) x 1" (3 cm) fluted tart pan). Bake for 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let fully cool in pan. Chill in fridge until cold.

Baileys Filling:

Whip mascarpone and sugar with an electric mixer for 2-3 minutes until stiff peaks form. Add Baileys and whip until just blended. Fill Oreo crust with filling. Return to fridge and chill.

Ganache Drizzle:

Place chocolate chips and Baileys (or whipping cream) in a small bowl and heat in short bursts until melted (start with 30 seconds and then 20 second intervals until mostly melted. Some small lumps will melt upon stirring). Stir together and allow to cool for 3-4 minutes. Stir again and drizzle over chilled tart. Return to fridge and chill for 20-30 minutes more before serving.

CHOCOLATE M&M

VALENTINE’S DAY COOKIES

From thesaltymarshmallow.com

1 Cup salted butter 2 sticks

1 1⁄4 Cups granulated sugar

2 Large Eggs

1⁄2 Cup Cocoa Powder

2 1⁄4 Cups all purpose flour

1⁄4 Teaspoon salt

1 Teaspoon baking powder

1⁄2 Teaspoon almond extract

1 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 Cup M&M's divided

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, and set aside.

In bowl of stand mixer, or large bowl using hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy 2-3 minutes. Turn mixer to low speed, and add the eggs one at a time. Add the almond extract. Scrape down bowl as needed.

Keeping mixer on low, add in the cocoa powder until well blended. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder, mixing just until incorporated.

Stir in the chocolate chips, and 1⁄2 Cup of the M&M's.

Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, place on prepared baking sheet, and flatten slightly with your hand. Repeat with remaining dough, and top with the extra 1⁄2 Cup of M&M's as desired.

Bake in preheated oven for 13-16 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 12 large cookies.

(606) 326-2661 |

lward@dailyindependent.com

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