Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Baking and Bonding...

My daughter, Alexa and I decided to spend the afternoon baking up some Valentine's goodies to enjoy and share. She is a college student and I think I have finally convinced her that putting your love and thought into a gift rather than stressing about money is far more impressive!

So I decided to take baby steps with her and picked a few easy and inexpensive but creative treats to make with her today. There was no sense complicating matters and breaking the mood with recipes that she wouldn't have fun doing. I remember my mother spending all day in the kitchen baking with flour flying all over the place, dealing with intense clean-up and actually looking happy! It didn't appeal to me so for years I didn't attempt any baking. My mother kept us supplied but when needed we had perfectly good bakeries in our neighborhood. So like my daughter, in my twenties I just didn't appreciate the experience. But I have now come to realize that it wasn't the baking lesson that was most important but the bonding I missed out on with my mom. So instead I focused on teaching Alexa the little details to show her that you can always put that special touch on anything and make a "wow" factor.  

First up, good old reliable brownies. We bought a good box brand, you know there is a difference between if not from scratch than splurge on the box. We made the brownies in the 13x9 pan so they would be a thinner brownie. Then we used small valentine shaped cookie cutters after they cooled and placed on a cookie sheet. We made icing combining powered sugar and water leaving one batch white and coloring the other batch with red food coloring. 

Dip a fork in the icing and splatter over the brownies

Valentine Brownie Bites

Next, Alexa requested Red Velvet Cupcakes to make for her work. I thought about breaking out my recipe from scratch but again reminded myself that I wanted Alexa to take the lead today and I was just there to show her technique ideas and bond! So again, we found a good reliable cake mix and cream cheese frosting and focused on the presentation.  So instead of trying to ice the cupcakes with a knife and make them look neat and professional I taught Alexa how to use a simple sandwich bag as a piping bag.

Fill sandwich bag with icing

Squeeze air out of the bag and snip small cut at point

Pipe icing from outside to inside

Valentine's Red Velvet Cupcakes

Last but not least, the family valentines dessert. We have had so many king cakes lately I wanted to change and lighten things up! So I decided on a pie, but what to do...what flavor pie? So after a little exploring I found a recipe for the cutest Valentine's pie! A strawberry-blueberry filled pie with decorated hearts. But three grocery stores later I was left disappointed with no fresh strawberries, blueberries were a kings ransom and I was afraid frozen berries would be mushy. I was at a crossroads when I thought why not use pie filling. So this is what we did...
Use a biscuit cutter or make a ring with foil as I did, place in middle of refrigerated pie dough

Place pie on cookie sheet. Fill center with blueberry filling, fill outside of ring with strawberry filling and brush pie edges with beaten egg white. 

Cover pie edges with foil before baking. Bake pie for 25 mins @ 325. Let cool, then refrigerate for 2 hours, remove center ring.

Use the valentine cookie cutter with the extra pie dough to make a shape for the top of the pie. Bake on a cookie sheet for 5 mins at 325, cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Place on top of cooled pie, I shaved white chocolate morsels over blueberries.

All done...:)

Alexa used these cute boxes from Hobby Lobby to give out her goodies to friends.

Great day! Great fun!..It's never too late to make up for lost time with your kids...:) 

Happy Valentine's Day!!




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