Valentine’s Day is the time of year where you show those you love that you really “heart” them.
Yes, yes, every day should be a day to show LOVE, but I’m talking HEART. Like, heart-shaped chocolate, heart-shaped balloons, heart-shaped baked goods....
There’s something warm and fuzzy about receiving such a bold statement of affection. My husband and I have been happily together for just over 7 years (married for 2!), and we use any excuse to celebrate – heart-giving holidays included.
But lovey-dovey homemade gifts don't have to be time consuming, especially if they're a gift for the heart AND stomach. Enter in these recipes and tips for three easy Valentine heart recipes.
All you really need is a set of heart-shaped cookie cutters. That, and a tiny bit of time and desire to follow along with the recipes and to be a little crafty. Easy enough, right???
Prepare and bake your brownies as directed in the Chocolate Valentine Hearts recipe.
The recipe asks that you flip your brownies upside-down onto a new piece of parchment before cutting. This ensures a smooth, flat surface. If you would prefer a more textured top, ignore that step. The chocolate chips in the brownies do make the surface a little bumpy – but as we all love chocolate chips, we're totally fine with that!
Use a 2" heart cutter to cut 3 dozen hearts out of the brownies. (Or use a smaller or larger cutter to cut more or fewer hearts.) Place the hearts on a rack set over a piece of parchment or waxed paper.
Combine in a microwave-safe bowl:
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup
Heat until the cream is very hot, but not boiling. Stir the mixture until the chips melt, then drizzle over the brownie hearts. Once the drizzle cools, gift away.
Following the recipe, make chocolate and sugar cookie doughs. Be sure to omit the cream cheese in the sugar cookies. I didn't, and they baked up more cakey and spread less than the chocolate cookies, resulting in a less seamless final result. Still delicious, just more puffy.
Using a very slightly heaped tablespoon cookie scoop, drop six balls of vanilla cookie dough on one of the baking sheets, then six balls of chocolate cookie dough, spacing them evenly with about 2" between them.
If you don't have a tablespoon cookie scoop, the dough balls should be a generous 1 1/4" in diameter. Gently flatten each ball of dough to about 2" across.
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. While they're baking, prepare your next sheet of cookies for the oven.
Remove the cookies from the oven, and set your timer for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, use a 1 3/4" to 2" heart-shaped cutter to cut a heart out of the center of each of the cookies. Quickly transfer the hearts to cookies of the opposite flavor, gently pressing them into the heart-shaped opening in the center of each. You'll now have vanilla cookies with chocolate hearts, and chocolate cookies with vanilla hearts.
I popped my heart cookies back into the oven for 5 to 7 extra minutes, in the hopes that they would bake and meld together. It actually worked quite well, so feel free to divert from the original recipe.
Change the look by putting the vanilla hearts bottom-side-up in the chocolate cookies; the bottom of the cookie will be medium-gold, rather than cream-colored. This yields more of a "heart of gold" look.
Repeat with the remaining cookie dough. You'll have some leftover vanilla cookie dough, enough to make about 8 cookies. Cut hearts out of the center, and flip them over so the bottom's on the top: heart of gold!
For an even more in-depth look on how to make these cookies, check out the blog.
Following along with the Chocolate-Caramel Valentine Hearts recipe, spread the pecans evenly over the bottom of the pan.
Roll or flatten the caramel into a thin sheet, and place it evenly on top of the pecans. We prefer using our delicious, large caramel block, but smaller candies work well, too. If you're using individual caramel candies, roll them individually, then place them, overlapping slightly, over the pecans.
Put the pan in the oven and heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the caramel softens and begins to melt. Remove the pan from the oven, wait 1 minute, then evenly distribute the chocolate over the softened caramel. Sprinkle the Fleur de Sel or sea salt atop the chocolate.
Once the caramel and chocolate have cooled and set, use the parchment to help you lift the candy out of the pan. Use a small (about 1 1/2") heart cutter to cut the candy into lovely Valentine hearts.
It takes a little skill to have as little scraps as possible – I don't possess those skills. I gifted the hearts and kept all the chocolate-caramel scraps for myself!
All three desserts are great to make with your kiddos. They can gift them to their little classmates – provided they're allowed. Adorable baked goods really blow those paper Valentines out of the water. Not only are these adorable, Valentine hearts are also delicious AND easy, once you give them a go.
Do you have any desserts that are a must-make for your sweets? Let us know in the comments!