Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Valentine's Treats

I just saw on Facebook that today is National Cream Cheese Brownie Day. What food will they think of next to celebrate and give it its own day?  In honor of all things sweet and Valentine's Day coming this weekend, I want to share a few yummy desserts with you.

Oreo Cream Stuffed Brownies
I love a rich, chocolatey brownie and recently I found a recipe on Pinterest for Oreo Cream filled brownies from the Cookies And Cups blog. I made them twice and both times they were a huge hit. I did learn its best to use the recipe for the brownie that she provides on her blog. I tried to use a box mix and the brownies weren't the right consistency. I had to throw away that batch and quickly make another. Her recipe provides enough cream filling to make these as "Double-Stuffed" Oreo cream brownies - how wonderful!

Assembling was a little tricky for me, but I found that if I cut the brownie sheet on half and then the unfrosted half, on half again, I could easily get this on top without it cracking and crumbling apart.

Once assembled, I cut the stuffed brownie into really small pieces because they are rich. I added some crushed candy canes on the plate for a little mint flavor for the holidays.

Homemade Hot Cocoa Sticks
I like to make homemade gifts every year and this year it was hot chocolate on a stick. I used the recipe I found (again) on Pinterest, but I added my own flavors to jazz them up. 

Instead of making them in a pan like the blog suggests, I bought ice cube trays at the dollar store and added a small amount of cooking spray to each cube. This will help the finished cocoa sticks come out of the tray easier.
Your house smells decadent while making these! I used a Tbsp measuring spoon to put the chocolate into each cube on the tray. I chose mini chocolate chips, mint chips, Andes Candies, caramel bits and sea salt. Just sprinkle the toppings over the chocolate and then lightly press them into the chocolate to help it stick. Make sure you do this right away so they don't cool off too much.
Insert a stick into each cube while the chocolate is still soft. I then transferred the trays to the fridge for a few hours to help them solidify quickly .

Run a warmed knife (run under hot water) around the edges of each cube to help it come out easier and then wrap each one in plastic wrap. Then, when you want to use them, unwrap and dip it into a cup of hot milk (or water) and swirl around so it melts and provides you a cup of delicious cocoa.

I gave these to friends and family for the holidays and asked my guy if his daughters enjoyed them. He laughed and said that I never told him he had to share them with his girls and also that they are great enjoyed just as a chocolate fudge treat. He makes me laugh so much. Guess I'll have to make some more so his girls get to try them this time :)

Finally, I am sharing with you a family recipe from my mom's side - Kruschiki's (Polish Love Knots). Every Christmas we would make these with my grandma. 
Although they look simple enough to make, the recipe needs to be pretty precise or they end up soggy and not fluffy.
Cutting the dough and flipping the knot can be tricky because it is a delicate dough, but the knot gives it the signature look.

They fry up in a matter of a minute and you have to watch them closely because they will turn brown fast. You want just a light golden color to each side.


I even took a turn at frying them this year. You can't take your eyes off them!

Fresh out of the pan, you can let them cool on paper toweling and let that absorb some of the oil.

A light dusting of powder sugar and the Love Knots are ready to be served. We eat these as Christmas dessert and then again the next morning with our polish sausage and eggs.

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