Valentine’s Day is this coming Monday, which means CVS is running out of cards and restaurants will be making a fortune off small portions and large, prix-fixe prices. For those on a budget, fancy dinners may be out of the question.
Making dinner at home can be a cheaper, healthier alternative to a big night out in the city. But what to do when it comes time for dessert? Practically every baking website and blog I’ve visited recently is all about the Valentine’s sweets, and why not? Chocolate and love do go together, after all. So do chocolate and break ups, but that’s another post.
After a little searching, I was able to find quite a few dessert options that have simple ingredients and don’t require any fancy baking equipment.
This first treat doesn’t need to be saved for a romantic dinner, but could even be eaten as an afternoon snack. M&M Cookie Cups, from Oh My! Sugar High, are essentially chocolate chip M&M cookies in a much cuter form. These cups are created by making chocolate chip cookie dough, putting the dough in a muffin tin and molding the dough around the cup with space in the center, kind of like a mini flower pot. After the cookie cups have cooled, place a generous handful of Cupid’s Mix M&Ms into the center of the cup.
Have leftover cookie dough? Why not make heart-shaped frosted chocolate chip cookies? This recipe, from Very Best Baking, a Nestle website, requires chocolate chip cookie dough to be rolled out and cut into hearts using heart-shaped cookie cutters, baked, then frosted. If you don’t have cookie cutters, take some of the rolled out dough and hand shape the dough yourself. Make sure to exaggerate the hearts so the shape stays recognizable when the cookies come out of the oven.
A more sophisticated but still simple dessert comes from Bakers Royale. The Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Covered Strawberries don’t have a formal recipe. This article from the Rapid City Journal has a great sidebar on how to melt chocolate successfully, with or without a double boiler.
If you don’t have a small melon baller to core the strawberries, I suggest using the smallest, sharpest knife you have to cut around what you want to take out, and then use a small spoon to remove it. Additionally, if you don’t have a pastry bag to fill the strawberries with, put the filling in a Ziploc bag and cut off a corner with enough room for the cheesecake to pass through.
The final option I’ve found might be the perfect dessert for anyone pining for Valentine’s Day, elementary school style; that is, this dessert is all about Conversation Hearts. The Conversation Heart Cream Pie that CakeSpy invented has come up with a way to make those sickly sweet hearts palatable. It involves no baking if you buy a pre-bought pie shell, and with only four ingredients and four steps, this may be the easiest dessert to make out of all four.
These are just a few dessert options for Valentine’s Day; there are many more out there, so find the one that matches your tastes and mode of celebration best.