Thursday, February 14, 2013

Last Minute Quick and Easy Valentine's Treats

It's finally here. The day men all over the world are still scrounging to land reservations at top restaurants all around the city and buying gifts to show their special someone how much they Love them. While others, like myself, see it as just another Thursday. Disregarding the fact that I am Valentine-less, I'm not interested in all the hype that comes with this holiday.   It's not about the expensive meal or candy or flowers (although I do buy flowers nearly every Friday).  I'd prefer a night at home, cooking dinner, watching a movie, and just spending time with my Valentine. The quality time and relaxation far exceeds any $200 steak dinner. 

But what I DO enjoy about this holiday is all the pink and red baking I get to indulge in! This holiday I decided to go simple with my valentines treats, and create quick and easy sweets that you can make for your loved one even at the very last minute.  Nothing says I love you like a homemade gift...especially an edible one!  

Earlier this week I made an assortment of themed cupcakes that are simply decorated with hearts and pearls. Now cupcakes take a little while to bake, cool then ice, so if you have reservations tonight you may run out of time to whip up one of my recipes or even the boxed version:
Red Velvet with Cream Cheese Frosting, Vanilla Funfetti with Chocolate or Vanilla Buttercream and Oreo cupcakes with Oreo Buttercream.

Have you yet to pick up your heart shaped box of candy or chocolate covered strawberries for your special someone? Well if thats the case, you still have time to whip up some of these sweets that are sure to show them how much you care.

Chocolate Covered Pretzels
During the holidays, people will spend insane amounts of money on chocolate covered pretzels and strawberries, and yes while they are delicious, they are SO easy to make on your own.

Pretzels (any shape or size)
Chocolate Candy Melts or Chocolate Chips
Pink, Red or White Candy Melts, optional
Sprinkles, Nuts, Mini chips etc, optional

Step 1: Melt the chocolate in a microwavable bowl (or double boiler but I take the quicker route), for 1 minute initially then stir.  Continue in 30 second intervals until completely melted.
Step 2. Drop the pretzels in the bowl of chocolate, cover completely.  I use a fork to lift the pretzel out and tap excess chocolate on the edge of the bowl before carefully placing them on a parchment paper lined tray.*This would be the time to add sprinkles or nuts if you wish! Place in the fridge for about 5 minutes until hardened. 
Step 3: using disposable decorating bags (I use Wilton), fill with any additional melted colored chocolate.  Snip off a tiny portion of the tip, and drizzle as much or little as desired.
...Okay so I may have gotten a little excessive, but "too much chocolate" is not in my vocabulary.
Step 4: return the fridge for 5 more minutes or so. Remove from from the fridge and remove the pretzels from the tray.  Dont be alarmed if they look like the image below {perfectly normal}, just gently remove the extra chocolate from around and in between the pretzel holes.

A perfect hand made treat that your Valentine will absolutely ADORE! :)

Other ideas for quick chocolate covered goodness include:

Chocolate Covered Oreo Truffles {recipe earlier in the blog}
Dipped Pink Rice Crispie Treats

All Assembled in cute little heart boxes with some Chocolate Covered Stawberries {not pictured}, and they make for the perfect Valentine!

I hope you have time to try out some of these last minute delights! Remember, everything tastes better covered in chocolate, so experiment a little :) and if you just change the color scheme and you'll be set for your St. Patty's day parties and many holidays to come!

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