Valentine’s Day: a gift guide for the busy baker

What better way to show your appreciation on Valentine’s Day than with a home baked treat for your significant other? If you are one of the many trying to juggle a busy working day while preparing a celebratory feast, we have compiled for you a list of dessert ideas that are easy to make yet so cute that they will melt anyone’s heart.

 

Sugar Hearts

Start your Valentine’s Day by saying I Love You at morning coffee with these cute sugar hearts. They are really easy to make and keep well, so you can make a batch and store them in an airtight container for later use.

 

You will need:

  • Small heart shaped cookie cutter
  • Sugar, 1/2 cup
  • Water
  • Chefmaster Liqua-Gel food coloring, red

 

Preparation steps:

  • Place the sugar in a bowl and add 1 drop of Chefmaster Liqua-Gel red food coloring and mix well
  • If you are after a more intense pink or a red color, add another drop or two of food coloring and mix well
  • Add a teaspoon of water and mix until it becomes like a paste. If you need to add any more water, do so a couple of drops at a time, as adding too much will melt the sugar. At this point, you’ll be able to see the color a lot better
  • Transfer the mix onto a baking paper and spread it using a rolling pin
  • Using the heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out heart shaped pieces of sugar and place them aside to dry. Be careful as they are still fragile at this stage and can crumble easily
  • Once dry, you can store in an airtight container

 

 

Message on a Cookie

First there was message in a bottle, then there was a text message, and now we have message on a cookie! These sugar cookies are a great additional surprise to your loved one’s lunch box. You can add a bit of color and prepare them as we did with royal icing, but if you are short on time you can also skip this step and write your message straight onto the cookie.

 

You will need:

For the cookies – makes about 25 small to medium sized cookies

  • Heart shaped cookie cutter
  • All purpose flour, 1 ½ cup
  • Baking powder, 1 tsp
  • Butter, softened, 80g
  • White sugar, 1 cup
  • 1 egg
  • Vanilla extract, 1 tsp

 

For the royal icing (optional)

  • Chefmaster Deluxe Meringue Powder, 4 tbsp
  • Icing Sugar, 4 cups
  • Water, 6-8 tbsp, as needed
  • Chefmaster Liqua-Gel food coloring (for the base, choose the color of your choice)

 

For the decoration

  • (If decorating with royal icing) Piping bag with tip number 3
  • Chefmaster Food Decorating Pens (for writing the message, choose the color of your choice)

 

Preparation steps:

To bake the cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (about 180 degrees C)
  • In a bowl, add together the sifted all-purpose flower and baking powder
  • In a separate bowl, cream the butter with the sugar for a few minutes until the mixture is smooth and fluffy
  • Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well, then add the dry ingredients and knead until you obtain a thick dough
  • Proceed to roll out small amounts of dough on a flowered surface, then cut out your cookies using your cookie cutter and place them on the cookie sheet
  • Bake for about 8 minutes or until the cookies are of a golden color, then remove from the oven and allow the cookies to rest for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack
  • Once the cookies have completely cooled down, it is time to decorate them!

 

To prepare the icing (optional)

  • In your mixer bowl, add the Chefmaster Deluxe Meringue Powder and icing sugar, then 6 tablespoons of water and mix at medium speed for about 5-7 minutes. Add a little bit more water if you feel your mixture isn’t smooth enough and mix again. The end result should be a thick icing that you should be able to pipe easily
  • Once ready, place the icing in a bowl and add a drop of Chefmaster Liqua-Gel food coloring. Mix well until it’s well combined, and then repeat until you reach the desired color. As you add food coloring, if you feel your royal icing mixture is getting drier add a few drops of water to get to the desired consistency.

 

To decorate the cookies

  • (If decorating with royal icing) Using a piping bag with tip number 3, start by piping icing around the outline of the cookies, then cover the full surface and let dry
  • Using the Chefmaster Food Decorating Pen, write messages of your choice on each cookie and let dry.

 

 

Red Velvet Layered Mini Cake

If you’re looking for an after dinner treat, these layered mini cakes are a great option because you can achieve a greatly presented dessert without spending a lot of time decorating, as they are much simpler and quicker to assemble than a full cake. Besides, who doesn’t love a red velvet cake with a heart on top?

 

You will need:

For the cake

  • Unsalted butter, 1/2 cup
  • Caster sugar, 1 1/2 cups
  • Eggs, 2 large
  • Vegetable oil, 1/4 cup
  • Cocoa Powder, 1 tbsp
  • Vanilla extract, 2 tsp
  • White vinegar, 1 tbsp
  • Chefmaster Liqua-Gel food coloring, red
  • Plain flour, sifted, 2 1/2 cups
  • Baking soda, 1 tsp
  • Salt, 1 tsp
  • Buttermilk, 1 cup

 

For the frosting

  • Cream cheese, 1 cup (about 8 ounces)
  • Unsalted Butter, 1/4 cup
  • Vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp
  • Icing sugar, 2 cups

 

To Assemble

  • Medium or large round cookie cutter
  • Medium or large heart shaped cookie cutter

 

Preparation steps:

To bake the cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (about 180 degrees C)
  • Beat butter and sugar for about 5 minutes, then add the eggs and mix well until they are well combined
  • In a separate bowl, add the oil, cocoa powder and vanilla, and mix well until you obtain a smooth mixture
  • Add the oil mixture and the vinegar to the butter mixture and combine well
  • In another bowl, sift the rest of the dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking soda). Add the buttermilk and this mix to the wet ingredients and mix well
  • Add 3 to 4 drops of Chefmaster Liqua-Gel red food coloring and mix until the color is well combined. If you need a more intense red, add 1 drop of food coloring at a time and mix until you reach the desired shade
  • Grease two 8 inch pans and divide the batter in equal portions. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the cake
  • Please the cakes on a wire rack and let them cool completely before assembling

 

To make the cream cheese frosting

  • Mix together the butter, cream cheese and the vanilla extract for about 4 minutes, then add the icing sugar and beat until you obtain a light and fluffy mixture
  • If you need to thicken the frosting, add icing sugar and mix again until you obtain the desired consistency

 

To assemble the mini cakes

  • Using the cookie cutters, cut out 6 round pieces and 2 heart shaped pieces
  • For each of the two mini cakes, layer one round piece of cake topped with 1 tablespoon of cream cheese frosting. Repeat twice until you have a total of 3 layers of round cake pieces and frosting, then place the heart shaped piece of cake on top.

 

 

Pink Popcorn

Movie after dinner? Leave some space because we have the perfect snack accompaniment. This sweet candy pink popcorn is a fun dessert, and not only will it add an extra level of romanticism to your movie, it’s also really simple to make.

 

You will need:

  • Corn kernels, popped, 6 cups
  • Sugar, 2 cups
  • Milk, 2/3 cup 
  • Corn syrup, 1 tbsp
  • Salt, 1/4 tsp
  • Vanilla extract, 1 tsp
  • Chefmaster Liqua-Gel food coloring, red

 

Preparation steps:

  • In a saucepan, add the sugar, milk, corn syrup and salt and cook over medium heat and stir constantly for about 3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves
  • Keep on medium heat until the mixture reaches 230 degrees F, then remove and add the vanilla extract and 2 to 3 drops of Chefmaster Liqua-Gel red food coloring
  • Place the popcorn in a large bowl and add the pink mixture slowly ensuring it coats the popcorn evenly
  • Place coated popcorn on a baking paper and until the coating is completely dry
  • If you will not be eating it straight away, you can store your pink popcorn in an airtight container

 


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