Delicious Chocolate Treats for Valentine’s Day

Chocolate Heart Cookies, Chocolate Pudding and Chocolate Crinkles

Whether you think Valentine’s Day is a manufactured Hallmark holiday or the sweetest day of the year, it gives us a chance to reflect on the love in our lives.

Since my kids have come along, my husband and I have had more Valentine’s Days spent at home than out on the town. Breakfasts of heart-shaped pancakes have replaced the 8 o’clock reservation.

One of my daughters asked me: “Is Valentine’s Day the day we love everybody?” Well, sort of. It’s certainly the day she’ll love everyone in her kindergarten class enough to share a valentine with everyone – not just her special friends. It gave us a chance to talk about how to make others feel important and loved. It also gave me a chance to share memories of special Valentine’s Days I’ve had.

My husband and I had our first date on Valentine’s Day when I was 16 and he 17. We saw “Philadelphia,” which will not make anyone’s romantic movie list. But we shared popcorn and a coke – and got married eight years later.

My favorite Valentine’s Day memory was the year I was pregnant with my twin girls. I had a serious craving for watermelon with no concern for the fact that it was winter and watermelon wasn’t exactly bountiful. We went to dinner at a steak house, where I fought back nausea and had the waiter put my steak in a to-go box. But before we went home, my husband made a detour to Whole Foods where he bought all the watermelon in the store. It was better than a box – or 10 – of chocolates.

I told my daughter it’s those little moments that make life sweet. And, for some, it’s all the more important on Valentine’s Day, particularly if the day is spent alone or when sick or after having gone through any number of hardships.

So we put our heads together and came up with a short list of people who could use a Valentine’s treat. We’ll be making these sweets – keeping some for ourselves and giving some to those who need a tangible “I love you.”

Kids can help dip the cookies in the melted chocolate. This recipe is adapted from Taste of Home magazine.

Chocolate Heart Cookies (Makes 2 dozen)

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup baking cocoa
  • 1 cup vanilla or white chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening, divided
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour and cocoa, then gradually add to creamed butter.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to ?-inch thickness. Cut with a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.

In a microwave-safe bowl, heat vanilla chips and 1 tablespoon shortening until melted, stirring frequently. Dip each cookie (or half of each cookie) into melted mixture. In another microwave-safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips and remaining shortening until melted, stirring frequently. Drizzle over the cookies. Place on wire racks to dry.

No one will suspect there’s any nutrition in this pudding from Deceptively Delicious. The avocado puree blends right in.

Chocolate Pudding

  • 1/4 cup trans-fat-free soft tub margarine spread
  • 1 cup avocado puree
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch

In a medium saucepan, melt the margarine over low heat. Stir in the avocado puree, sugar, cocoa powder and vanilla. Cook, mashing well with a silicone spatula to smooth out any lumps of avocado, until the mixture thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Off the heat, gradually stir in the cornstarch. Serve warm.

My kids love to make – and eat – these chocolate cookies.

Chocolate Crinkles

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

With an electric mixer, combine cocoa, granulated sugar and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt, then stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment or spray with nonstick spray. Roll dough into balls, then coat in powdered sugar. Place on cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until edges are set and tops are crackled. Transfer

Categories: Food