Time to send the Valentines care packages to loved ones not at home. The mouth-watering Valentine’s Day treats shared on Pinterest is so overwhelming that it makes you dizzy. Using raspberries, strawberries and a little red food gel, I dressed up my favorite, Valentine’s Day shippable cookies and brownies and sent them off to my adult kids with a few other non-edible treats.
Raspberry Cheesecake Swirl Brownies
These brownies have a pronounced raspberry flavor to them, but using raspberries without the food coloring gel did not give the brownies a pink or red hue. If you want the swirls to look pink, you need to use food coloring. If you want wonderful raspberry flavor without food coloring they will look like those above.
Makes a 9″ x 13″ pan
Ingredients for Brownie Layer (adapted from Alton Brown)
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 8 oz. softened butter, unsalted, 2 sticks plus 1 Tbsp
Raspberry Cheesecake layer
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temp.
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup low-sugar raspberry jam (I used HeathGlen’s Raspberry Chambord jam)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 3-5 tsp red food coloring (optional)
- fresh raspberries (optional)
- Grease an 9″ x 13″ pan with butter and sprinkle some flour into the pan. Shake the pan around until flour coats the butter (can use cooking spray instead of butter if preferred)
- Sift the cocoa and then measure 1 cup. Sift the flour and then measure 1/2 cup. Combine sifted cocoa, flour and salt into a bowl.
- Beat the eggs in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla and sugars and mix over low speed to combine. Using a spatula, scrape mix into a clean bowl. Wash out mixer bowl to use in making cheesecake layer.
- Fit the whisk attachment to a stand mixer and and beat together all ingredients for cheesecake layer over medium speed until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Raspberry seeds will make it look a little lumpy.
- Spoon 3/4 of the brownie batter into the prepared pan and spread out to the sides. Spoon the raspberry cheesecake layer on top of the brownie battter. Spoon the remaining brownie batter on top of the cheesecake layer. Using a fork, pull the raspberry cheesecake through the brownie mixture, swirling the layers together. (if desired, you can poke some fresh raspberries into the mixture for even more raspberry flavor).
- Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack completely before cutting brownies.
Strawberry Brownies with Rosewater Frosting
These brownies are less moist and chewy than the raspberry cheesecake brownies, and the strawberry flavor will vary in intensity depending on what kind of strawberry jam you use (I used strawberry lavender). The rosewater frosting is subtle, but wonderful. The recipe for these brownies can be found by clicking here.
Valentines Peanut Butter Blossoms
Makes about 48 cookies
- 1 bag dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp milk, whole or 2%
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/4 tsp red gel food coloring
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup red sanding sugar (granulated sugar in red)
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Beat butter and peanut butter together in a stand mixer on medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes). Add brown sugar and granulated sugar and beat until fluffy (2 min). Turn mixer to low and add in egg, milk, vanilla and red food coloring. Beat over medium high until light and fluffy
- In a separate bowl sift together cocoa, flour, baking soda and salt. With mixer on low, add flour mixture to sugar mixture and beat until just combined (do not overmix).
- Remove mixer from stand and shape dough into 1 inch balls. Pour red sanding sugar into bowl and roll the balls in the red sugar to coat. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
- Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. While cookies are baking, unwrap the kisses.
- Remove cookies from oven and immedietely press kiss into center of each cookie. The cookie will crack around the edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack and cool completely.
Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup grapeseed oil (or vegetable oil)
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 4-5 tsp red food gel
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together cocoa, sugar and grapeseed oil over medium speed. Beat in eggs one at a time and then beat in vanilla and red food gel.
- Over low speed add the flour mixture until just combined. Cover the mixing bowl and place in freezer for about 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. Pour powdered sugar into bowl.
- Use spoons to scoop out the dough directly into the powdered sugar. Once the dough is in the sugar, they are easier to handle and you can plop them into a perfect circle onto the cookie sheet.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on cookie sheet for a couple of minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.