Eat Your Heart Out

By: Paulina Howard

EE Lifestyle Editor

February 14th. The day that couples look forward to bask in each others love and affection. The little gifts, the tender kisses, affectionate embraces, candlelight dinners for two, and of course  chocolates to express how sweet your relationship is. Or, you can be on the other end of the spectrum…bitterly alone, indulging in a bucket of ice cream, sobbing over the perfection of Ryan Gosling in The Notebook in your pajamas, buried in three blankets on your couch. Whatever your case may be, food is still such an important aspect in order to make this an enjoyable holiday. Why settle for processed store bought desserts when you can earn so much more respect and love from your significant other by making them a special dessert? And isn’t the whole pint of ice cream thing kind of getting old? If that is how most of your weekends are, change it up for Valentine’s Day and treat yourself to something special! Might as well enjoy yourself while mellowing in your perpetual loneliness.

    If you are blessed to have a special someone to share Valentine’s Day with, the best way to put the icing on the perfect day is to surprise him/her with homemade brownies. Now, I know you are thinking that they just brownies, so how special can they actually be? So I will answer with a simple question, have you ever had non-box mix brownies? Thought not, so don’t pre-judge without actually having experienced the pure bliss of them. Forget box mix, I will never eat those again after eating these brownies made from scratch. These homemade brownies are the key to his/ her heart, definitely their stomach too with no artificial flavoring, and made with love of course 😉 Just be sure to follow the recipe exactly and you will be sure to have him/her hypnotized with your baking abilities.

Homemade Brownies

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the pan

8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped, or semisweet chocolate chips

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 eggs at room temperature, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Fresh berries or powdered sugar for garnish (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish.

3. In a double boiler, melt chocolate. Then add butter, melt and stir to blend. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Stir in sugar, eggs and vanilla and mix well.

4. Add flour. Mix well until very smooth. Add chopped walnuts if desired. Pour batter into greased baking pan.

5. Bake for 35 minutes, or until set and barely firm in the middle. Allow to cool on a rack before removing from pan. Optional: garnish with powdered sugar, or berries, or both.

Yield: 16 brownies

Courtesy of: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/14/fat-dad-baking-for-love-2/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&ref=valentinesday&_r=1

    Hopelessly alone for Valentine’s Day again this year, it is not the end of the world. Who needs someone else anyway to tell us how good we are already? 😉 But of course, desserts are the way to get through this painful day of mushy love. So instead of gravitating towards the boring pint of cookie dough ice cream that you have been working on for the past week now, try and be a bit more imaginative and creative, because you deserve special desserts too. You could make the homemade brownies too, but I have a special recipe for you to try. If you are certain that you are permanently settled in Single and Miserable Town, make some Dump cake, a super simple yummy cake that my grandma always makes for my family when we visit her. The name having no reference to your possible single situation, this cake is named this way simply because you literally dump all the ingredients into a pan and bake it. It is yummy and a perfect companion when watching The Notebook.

Grandma Howard’s Dump Cake

2 (20 ounce) cans cherry pie filling

1 (18 1/2 ounce) box chocolate cake mix or 1 (18 1/2 ounce) box devil’s food cake mix, unprepared

3/4 cup butter, melted

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Dump cherry pie filling into 13 x 9 inch cake pan.

3. Spread out evenly in pan.

4. Sprinkle cake mix evenly over filling.

5. Drizzle butter over top.

6. Bake for 1 hour.

    Sometimes though, we run into the rare case that your significant other does not like chocolate, or that the singles on Valentine’s Day are not completely bitter, and want some signs of love to make for themselves or for their families that is special. Needing an entirely different recipe, I think that Strawberry Chocolate Hand Pies are perfect to make. They do have a bit of chocolate in them, but the chocolate chips are only a garnish and can be removed if your boyfriend or girlfriend hates chocolate (that is one of the few things that  I do not understand with people…how can you despise CHOCOLATE!?). These cute hand pies are heart shaped, and subtle, so as not to be all in-your-face for the singles out there. They are awesome to accompany a home cooked meal for your girl or guy in your life, and just as addictive as chocolate is for the singles out there. Family members would love to be gifted these delectable desserts as well, just as a heads up! Imagine crispy, flaky pie crust that melts in your mouth with sweet strawberry jam and melted chocolate chips oozing from the middle of these hidden heart pockets.

Strawberry Chocolate Hand Pies

Ingredients:

Pie dough, either homemade or store bought. I used Pillsbury.

Strawberry preserves or jam

Chocolate Chips

Powdered Sugar

Milk

Directions:

1. Roll out the pie dough on a floured surface.

2. Using a large heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out an even amount of dough shapes. Re-roll scraps. Try to end up with an even number.

3. Lay half of the dough shapes on a large cookie sheet. You could line it with foil since the jam will ooze. It came off easily though.

4. Spread about 1 TBS of strawberry preserves on each and top with a few chocolate chips.

5. Top each with another dough shape and use a fork to seal the edges.

6. If you are so inclined, you can brush them with milk or an egg wash to make them shiny. I was not so inclined. I did, however, sprinkle granulated sugar on some.

7. Bake the pies at 350 for about 30 minutes. This will depend on your particular oven and how large  your dough shapes are. Keep an eye and don’t let them get over-browned.

8. Cool pies. Meanwhile, stir together milk and powdered sugar to make a very thin glaze. I had about a half cup of powdered sugar with 3 TBS milk and it was too much. Dip pies in the glaze and let the glaze dry.

Courtesy of: http://daysofchalkandchocolate.blogspot.com/2014/01/strawberry-chocolate-hand-pies.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DaysOfChalkAndChocolate+%28Days+of+Chalk+and+Chocolate%29

    Whatever your case may be, these dessert recipes are bound to make Valentine’s Day an enjoyable day for just yourself and your family, or for you and your significant other. Whatever recipe you decide to make, I hope that I helped make your day a bit sweeter. We all deserve to be loved, so always remember that we accept the love that we think we deserve. So never lower your standards to meet someone else’s, and love yourself enough to not check into a perpetual bitterness of couples because you may be blinded by your jealousy. Keep your head up, and keep a smile on your face. Your time will come when the time is right. But for now, let us enjoy our homemade Valentine’s Day treats! Bon Appetit!

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