Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so it might be a good time to think of doing something nice for that someone special in your life. First can we at least acknowledge that Valentine’s Day is kind of a silly holiday, you shouldn’t need a specific day to show your significant other that they are significant, but in any case we don’t want them to feel neglected either.
Skip the silly presents, and the expensive jewelery, Valentine’s Day should just be an excuse to smoother each other with love while doing something fun together, or better yet try doing something you’ve never done before. Valentine’s Day should be about the experience, not the presents.
You could easily pick up a box of chocolates while buying toothpaste at shoppers, or flowers while you get groceries, but anyone with half a brain can wait in line at the supermarket holding flowers and chocolates.
What will mean the most is something you’ve taken the time to create yourself, so block off an hour, preheat that oven, and get out the pots and pans.
I’ve made Lindsay’s espresso brownies several times before; they are SO easy and SO delicious. Chances are you probably have what you need on hand, so they can be ready in a pinch. I like to call these brownies “Special Study Brownies”, they give you a nice little pick me up: both with the chocolate and espresso. I had some of the cinnamon butter rum icing left over in the freezer from Pumpkin Chip Cupcakes I had made previously, so I decided to just wing it and use that icing.
Graphic designer and self described “foodie by night” Lindsay Landis’s Loveandoliveoil.com has been up and running for a few years now. Committed to posting numerous recipes weekly and recently incorporating contests into the mix; she has developed quite the collection of recipes. Varying from sweet treats to delicious dinner ideas; I use her recipes quite often and I’ve yet to be disappointed. Check out her website.
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup hot water
1 tablespoon espresso powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl.
Heat water and espresso in medium saucepan over low heat, stirring to dissolve espresso. Add granulated sugar and butter; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in 1 cup morsels until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Stir in flour mixture. Pour into greased 9-inch square baking pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
Heat cream and espresso in small saucepan over low heat, stirring to dissolve espresso. Add remaining morsels, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat; stir in powdered sugar. Refrigerate until frosting is of spreading consistency. Spread onto brownies and cut into squares.
1/2 cup butter or margarine, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
milk or soy milk, as needed
cream butter. Add 1/2 cup confectioners sugar and mix until smooth. Add rum and cinnamon, and slowly mix (careful not to splatter).
Continue adding sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well between additions. Continue to beat until light and fluffy.
If frosting is too thick, add a bit of milk to thin it out. If too thin, add more sugar and continue to beat until it is the right consistency.
Spoon into a piping bag or just slather it right onto the cupcakes.
Yield: These recipes do make an abundance of icing, so find a container and save some for another day. Freezing icing is such a genius move, I find that recipes often call for too much, and it keeps so well. Not to mention freezing the icing is much better than the alternative: throwing it out, or even worse you polishing it off yourself.
Pair your delicious treats with a bottle of red, and a little love note. Valentine’s Day: mission accomplished.