What’s more fun than showing your Valentine’s Day love with
delectable homemade desserts? Making them with minimal fuss, that’s what. By
surfing the Internet and browsing the shelves of local grocery stores, we found
some fabulous mixes that will make you the star of cupid’s favorite holiday.
For You to Make with Your Kids:
Snickerdoodles by Tom’s Cookies
These cookies come pre-formed and ready for the oven. You
simply sprinkle the included cinnamon sugar mixture on top of the cookies
before you bake. For an extra-special touch, have your child create a
heart-shaped stencil from a piece of cardboard. Cover the plain cookie with the stencil and sprinkle the cinnamon mixture on top — et voila! – beautiful, festive treats for your special dinner. These are also perfect for the V-Day party at school. Available at gourmet grocery stores, such as Gelson’s, Wholefoods or better Safeway stores. About $6 for one dozen cookies. For more
information, check out www.tomscookies.com.
Difficulty Rating: So simple your older children could even bake these as a “surprise” for you!
Pillsbury Ready to Bake Hearts Shape Sugar Cookies
Cute little confections that feature red and pink hearts. Available at most major grocery stores. About $4.50 for two-dozen cookies.
Difficulty Rating: Your toddler could probably handle plopping these precut cookies onto a cookie sheet, while you preheat the oven. Place the cookies in and set the timer. Couldn’t be easier.
French Kiss Cookie Mix
Food Network star Jacques Torres and Vermont-based King Arthur Flour join forces to create this decadent chocolate-swirl cookie mix. The cookies feature Belgian chocolate and they taste truly gourmet. Order from www.kingarthurflour.com. The mix, $12.95, makes 14 to 16 aromatic vanilla cookies laced with melted chocolate swirls.
Difficulty rating: They look super fancy but they’re very easy to prepare. Chocolate disks melt to create the neat swirl. Mom will want to hover as kids mix and plop dough onto the cookie sheet.
Sandra Lee’s Semi-Homemade Peanut Butter Fudge Cookies
packaged cookie dough, peanut butter, and canned frosting, you and your kids can concoct a treat that will leave ‘em speechless.
Here’s the recipe:
Prep: 20 minutes
Bake: 12 minutes per batch
1 package (18-ounce) refrigerated
sugar cookie dough, room temperature, Pillsbury®
1/2 cup peanut butter, Jif®
1 can (16-ounce) chocolate frosting,
mini-cupcake pans (3)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter three
12-cup mini-cupcake pans.
2. Knead cookie dough and peanut butter together just until swirled. Press about 1 rounded teaspoon of dough into each cup of prepared mini cupcake pans, bake for 12 minutes or until cookies are light golden brown. Cool slightly in pan.
3. When slightly cool make indentation in center of each cookie. Remove from pans to cooling rack. When completely cool, place about 1 teaspoon of frosting in center of each cookie. Makes 36 cookies.
Note: If desired, use a pastry bag fitted with a round tip to fill centers of cookies with chocolate frosting.
Difficulty rating: Cookies that look this good should take a little more elbow grease, but these don’t. Still, count on helping out with the
kneading and decorating.
For You to Make for Your Valentine – the Big One
Chocolate Lava Cake Mix
Who needs to order dessert at the fancy French restaurant in town? Surprise your sweetheart with this “Wow” gateau in the comfort of your own dining room. This amazing dark chocolate cake mix comes with its own hot fudge sauce that flows out when you cut into it. It’s made with King Arthur Flour, sweet chocolate, dark baker’s chocolate, dark cocoa, and pure premium vanilla. Just add water, butter, and eggs, bake, and the cake is ready in about 20 minutes. The Chocolate Lava Cake Mix in Canister makes 12 individual 3 1/2″ cakes. $12.95. Available at www.kingarthurflour.com
Difficulty rating: Mixing the ingredients is as easy as pie. But do note that you’ll need custard cups (available at www.surlatable.com) or silicone molds (order from www.kingarthurflour.com)
to make these cakes. Also, an instant-read thermometer (available at most grocery stores) is a big help in assessing exactly when to pull the cakes out of the oven for the optimal “flow.”
Lemon Magic Cakes
If your sweetheart prefers his treat a little on the tart side, try this tangy-sweet, moist lemon cake with a rich lemon sauce. Two mixes, one for the cake, one for the sauce, come in the box. Available to
purchase as a mix, six cakes for $8.95, or as a mix with six silicone mini pans, $24.95, www.kingarthurflour.
Difficulty rating: Pour the mix into a bowl and add butter, salt, eggs and milk. Mix the sauce with water and butter and pour on top before baking. Ta-da! Make it super easy on yourself and purchase the cake mix and pan set together.