Valentines Day Treats

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Ever since elementary school I haven’t celebrated Valentine’s Day too much.

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I think I missed the time set aside in class to make valentine’s and decorate our “mailbox” made out of cereal boxes and had out grown the princess themed cards from Target.  Somewhere along the road, I just decided to shift from these traditional and generic gifts to something a little more personal, a little more me.  I started baking cookies and cupcakes to take to classmates and now co-workers.

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The first few years I would stay up all night rolling out heart shaped cookies and decorating each one.  I even turned some of the cookies into conversation hearts.  As life got busier, I didn’t have enough time to make the cookies so I decided to switch to cupcakes!  Making cupcakes seemed easier since you just have to spoon batter into the cupcake holder, and the frosting part was fairly easy.  It also allowed for more creativity in the flavor of the cupcakes.  I was able to take some classic flavors of Valentine’s Day and combine them to make two amazing cupcakes!

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I present to you the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcake and the Strawberries and Champagne Cupcake!

 

These cupcakes are some of my favorite and I love to make them each year for Valentine’s Day and share them with my friends and co-workers.  Each year I like to try something different with the recipe as well to continue working on making it perfect!

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Here are the recipes:

 

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes:

 

I really like this cupcake.  I usually make my own chocolate cake from scratch but this year I decided to try using a chocolate cake mix.  This method expedites the preparation process a bit and make things easier overall.

 

1 Chocolate Cake Mix

1 Cup strawberries, pureed

1 package strawberries, cut in half

2 cans Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate frosting

 

Directions:

1).  Heat oven to 350 degrees.

2). Make cupcakes as directed holding the liquid and replacing the liquid with the strawberry puree.  Mix until well combined.

3). Distribute evenly amongst the cupcake pan and bake 10-12 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean of the centers.

4). Let cool then generously frost; garnish with strawberries.

 

 

Strawberry and Champagne Cupcakes:

This recipe was adapted from the recipe found at www.gimmesomeoven.com.  One of the reasons I like this cupcake is because of the use of egg whites instead of whole eggs.  It helps lighten the batter a bit making the overall cake less dense.  It also has a great flavor from the rose champagne.

 

2 ¾ cups all purpose flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

2/3 cup butter

1 ¼ cup sugar

½ cup champagne (the sweeter the better; I like using an inexpensive rose wine)

6 egg whites

¾ cup chopped strawberries

 

Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter (softened)

3-4 cups powdered sugar

¼ tsp. salt

3 Tblsp. Champagne

red food dye

 

1). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare cupcake pan

2). In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  In separate bowl mix flour, baking powder, and salt.  Blend into the creamed mixture alternately with champagne.

3).  In another bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks from.  Fold 1/3 of the whites into batter to lighten it, then fold remaining egg whites.  Next add and fold in the chopped strawberries.

4). Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full.

5). Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean.

 

Frosting:

1). With an electric mixture, eat together sugar and butter.  Mix on low until well combined and then on medium for an additional two minutes.  Add champagne and two drops red dye, beating for another minute.  Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of mixture to incorporate all the dye and give a nice pink tint.

 

Once cupcakes are all cooled, frost generously.

 

**To really get in the spirit of love, try making the cupcakes heart shaped.  Place a marble in pan in between the liner and tin, fill the liner just over ½ full, bake and allow to cool!