Cupid Is in the House: 6 Valentine’s Day Palate Pleasers

Photos: Bite Me More

Cupid is in the house, especially the kitchen, this week with this selection of heart-pounding, mouthwatering Valentine’s Day desserts.

This Valentine’s Day dinner menu will fill your hearts (and stomachs) with love.

1. Cinnamon Heart Candy Popcorn 

cinnamon-heart-popcorn

With this simple and scrumptious Cinnamon Heart Candy Popcorn, you can bring sweetness, spice and saltiness to snack time.

INGREDIENTS

10 cups plain popped popcorn
1 cup cinnamon heart candies
1/2 cup water

DIRECTIONS

1) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt.

2) Place cinnamon candies and water in a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring until candy is melted. Using a spoon, drizzle over popcorn and let cool.

Yield: 10 cups cinnamon popcorn

2. White Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake 

cheesecake

Love chocolate melting in your mouth? Us too, especially with every bite of this creamy White Chocolate Cheesecake. A buttery graham cracker crust is topped with smooth white chocolate cheesecake and topped with sweet cherries and chocolate. Slice after slice, this cheesecake is heavenly.

INGREDIENTS

Graham Cracker Crust

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
¼ cup sugar
½ cup butter, melted

White Chocolate Cheesecake Filling

4 8oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 ¼ cups sugar
3 tbsp flour
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
6oz white chocolate, chopped and melted

Cherry Topping

1 15oz can cherry pie filling
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted

DIRECTIONS

1) Preheat oven to 450ºF. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper.

2) For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a medium bowl. Mix until well combined. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the prepared pan. Place in the freezer until ready to use.

3) For the cheesecake filling, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3-5 minutes. Add the flour, mixing until combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, add in vanilla extract and melted white chocolate. Pour filling into prepared crust and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 250ºF and continue to bake 45 minutes more. The cheesecake is ready when the edges begin to brown slightly and the center is slightly wiggly. It will firm as it cools. Remove from the oven and run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen it from the pan. Cool cheesecake completely then refrigerate for 4-6 hours.

4) Before serving, spoon cherry filling over cheesecake and drizzle with white chocolate.

Serves 10-12

3. Chunky White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies 

white-choc-cranberry

“Bite Me” began with this recipe after I bought a cranberry and white chocolate cookie from a local bakery three years ago. I ate it, bought a dozen more, drove directly to Lisa’s house and thrust the package at her. “Make these,” I insisted. She sniffed them, did her little rabbit nibbles, closed her eyes, inhaled and said, “No prob.” She made them. And then she created an irresistible cookie that far surpassed any we have ever eaten.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
11/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
11/2 cups white chocolate, cut into chunks
1 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries

DIRECTIONS

1) Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2) In an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and brown sugar together on medium speed. Add the egg and vanilla, beating until fluffy.

3) On low speed, add the flour, baking soda, salt, white chocolate and cranberries, mixing just until the flour disappears. Do not overmix.

4) Drop heaping tablespoons of batter on prepared baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, just until the edges begin to brown. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

Yield: 16 large cookies

4. Decadent Cookie Dough Truffles

truffles

These deliciously rich truffles are perfect for cookie dough fanatics and lick-the-bowl-lovers!

INGREDIENTS

4 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1½ cups milk chocolate chips
1 tbsp vegetable shortening

DIRECTIONS

1) In a mixer, blend cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add brown sugar and vanilla, mixing until combined. Add flour and salt, mixing on low speed until flour disappears. Fold in semi-sweet chocolate chips.

2) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll cookie mixture into 1-inch round balls. Place on baking sheet and place in freezer for 25 minutes to set. Remove from freezer and roll truffles in your palms until smooth and round, and return to freezer for 5 more minutes.

3) Place milk chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave safe bowl. Heat at 50% power for 30 second increments, stirring between each time until fully melted.

4) Using a fork or skewer, dip truffles in melted chocolate. Place back on parchment baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to eat.

Yield: approximately 16 truffles

5. Marshmallow & Mars Bar Cupcakes 

mars-cupcakes

Lisa and I have many confectionary pet names for one another. I’m Butterfinger, she’s Mounds, I’m Chuckles, she’s Chunky, I’m Jelly Belly, and so on. We thought it high time we brought a third musketeer in on the act. Since he’s older than us, we thought we’d christen our brother “Mr. Big.” Yikes. Shouting Mr. Big across the table was uncomfortable. He’s athletic so we moved on to the Marathon Bar, but it just didn’t roll off our tongues. Finally, we settled on Mars, a bar that has a good hard shell, a nice sweet center and exists in outer space. Earth-to-Mars, these infinity-and-beyond chocolate marshmallow cupcakes are for you.

INGREDIENTS

Chocolate Cupcakes

¾ cup boiling water
¾ cup cocoa powder, sifted
¾ cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ½ cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup chopped Mars Bars

Chocolate Icing

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup cocoa powder, sifted
2 ½ cups icing sugar
3 tbsp milk

Filling

24 tbsp marshmallow fluff

DIRECTIONS

1) For the cupcakes, preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners and spray with non-stick cooking spray.

2) In a small bowl, combine boiling water and cocoa powder. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together cake flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

3) Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue creaming on medium speed and add vanilla extract. On low speed, alternate adding flour mixture and buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour. Add cocoa mixture and chopped Mars bars, continuing on low speed, just until all ingredients are combined. Spoon batter into prepared cupcake liners until each is ¾ full. Bake 22-24 minutes or until tops feel firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

4) For the icing, in an electric mixer, combine butter, cocoa powder and icing sugar on low speed. Once combined, on medium speed, add milk 1 tbsp at a time to achieve desired consistency.

5) To assemble the cupcakes, using a pairing knife, cut out a small cone from the center of each cupcake. Coat a spoon with non-stick cooking spray and spoon 1 heaping tbsp of marshmallow fluff into each cupcake. Replace cut-out piece of cupcake. Spread cupcake top with chocolate icing and serve.

Makes 24 cupcakes

6. Gooey Double Chocolate Cookies 

double-chocolate-cookies

Okay. The title of this recipe alone should have you running for the baking supplies. But if I must do a little sell-job, these decadent, oozing chocolate cookies have chocolate chips in them.

INGREDIENTS

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups flour
2 /3 cup cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups milk chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

1) Preheat oven to 350°F.

2) In an electric mixer, cream butter, sugar and brown sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat until well mixed.

3) In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir flour mixture and chocolate chips into butter mixture until blended.

4) Drop the batter by rounded tablespoon onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheet before transferring the cookies to a wire rack.

Yield: 35 cookies

Authors of bestselling cookbooks Bite Me, Bite Me Too and Lick Your Plate, saucy sisters Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat love eating, feeding, entertaining and dishing up easy recipes at BiteMeMore.com