Fancy Valentine’s Dinner

I know it’s a little late, but I forgot to write about our fancy Valentine’s dinner we had last week. My whole suite plus a few other friends got together Sunday night and had a lovely dinner full of fancy food. We had chile, pasta, mozzarella skewers, lox pastry puffs, strawberries and more. It was a lovely way to end our Valentine’s day. Having these little dinner parties are one of my favorite parts about living with other people. Everyone always has something unique to make and we are never lacking food.

I decided to make red velvet whoopie pies that I had seen and stored away in my recipe tab weeks ago. While they seem complicated to make, they are actually quite simple. Having some basic piping skills is a plus, but is not necessary. This recipe could easily be done for other holidays if you wanted to color the batter a different color and make different shapes – perhaps green for Saint Patrick’s Day or any other dark color that can mask the cocoa powder. It required a whole heck of a lot of red to achieve the right color, I think I achieved the proper Valentine’s Day color red. The frosting between the two layers was just a basic cream cheese icing. They are a little time consuming, but a fun and colorful accompaniment to any Valentine’s Day dinner.

RED VELVET WHOOPIE PIES

(Adapted from Annie’s Eats)

INGREDIENTS:

cookies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 oz. red food coloring

frosting:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

DIRECTIONS:

1) Preheat the oven to 375˚ F.

2) Using a heart template cut out from card stock, trace evenly spaced hearts onto pieces of parchment paper sized to fit two cookie sheets.  Place the parchment on the cookie sheets so that the side you have drawn on is facing down; set aside.

3) In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

4) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the egg until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Blend in the vanilla.

5) With the mixer on low speed, beat in about a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the buttermilk, beating each addition just until incorporated.  Repeat so that all the buttermilk has been added and then mix in the final third of dry ingredients.  Do not overbeat.  Blend in the food coloring.

6) Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip.  Pipe the batter onto the parchment paper using the heart tracings as a guide.  Bake 7-9 minutes or until the tops are set, rotating the baking sheets halfway through.

7) Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets at least 10 minutes, until they can be easily transferred to a cooling rack.  Repeat with any remaining batter.  Allow cookies to cool completely before proceeding.

8 ) To make the cream cheese frosting, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until well combined and smooth, about 2-3 minutes.  Mix in the vanilla extract.  Gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar until totally incorporated, increase the speed and then beat until smooth.

9) Transfer the frosting to a clean pastry bag fitted with a plain, round tip.  Pair the cookies up by shape and size.  Flip one cookie of each pair over so that the flat side is facing up.  Pipe frosting onto the flat-sided cookie of each pair, leaving the edges clear.  Sandwich the cookies together so the flat sides are facing each other and press gently to help the filling reach the edges.

10)To store, refrigerate in an airtight container.

11) Enjoy!


Raspberry Cheesecake Swirl Brownies

HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO! Okay, so this post has no relation to the lovely holiday that is being celebrated today, but I just thought I’d mention it. An exciting that that did happen today – well exciting to some – is that there was a mother of all storms this afternoon. Tornado watches, lightning, thunder, and the most intense rain storm ever. I was at work, at it’s a warehouse, which makes everything sound so much louder, and I seriously thought the building was going to fall down it was raining so hard.

Anyway, I actually made these brownies the other night, but I’m just getting around to posting them now. I was really really wanting to make cheesecake brownies and then when I saw this recipe, I knew it was going to be amazing because I LOVE raspberry jam. I have it on toast practically every morning.


They were pretty easy to make. I’m not going to lie, they looked rather gross when they came right out of the oven. The pockets where the jam was looked like oozing scabs, but once they cooled and I cut them up, they started to look much more appetizing. That evening when I ate them, they were delicious. Unlike some cheesecake desserts, the cheese wasn’t overwhelming and the raspberry jam was subtle yet delicious. I had a few left over and put them in the fridge, but for future reference, I highly recommend just eating them ASAP and not refrigerating them, because they certainly did not taste as good a few days later.

adapted from bakingbites.com

  • Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temp
  • 2 ounces chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup raspberry jam (I guess you could really use any kind of jam you want)
  1. Preheat over to 350 Degrees. Line 8×8 baking dish with aluminum foil and lightly grease. (I used 9×9 because that was all I had – they were just a little thinner, but not noticable.)
  2. In a small bowl, melt chocolate and butter together. Mix until smooth. (I just microwaved) Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  4. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth.
  5. Sift flour, cocoa, and salt into the bowl and stir until just combined.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and set aside for the time being
  7. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar egg and vanilla until smooth. Drop big dallops into chocolate (already in pan). Follow by spoonfuls of the raspberry jam.
  8. With a knife, swirl cheese batter and raspberry around chocolate to give swirled look.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes until knife inserted into middle comes out clean.
  10. Cool completely before cutting.