Baking is a perfect way to make Valentine’s Day extra special for your loved ones. The pink icing and chocolate ganache can be your personal touch to these delicious recipes as it adds a bit of decadent flair to the shortbread cookies and the delicate strawberry and cream cheese flavor. I hope you and your loved ones have a very special and memorable Valentine’s Day!

Michelle Lee / Daily Nexus

Iced Vanilla Shortbread Cookie Hearts (Michelle Lee)

Ingredients:

For Vanilla Shortbread

  • 14 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little more for dusting.
  • ½ cup white sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt 

For Icing

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • Food coloring of your choice 

Directions (for the vanilla shortbread):

  1. In a stand mixer (with paddle attachment) or with a large bowl and whisk, combine the softened butter with the white sugar and mix until mixture looks light and fluffy. 
  2. Add in the salt and vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract and mix lightly until incorporated.
  3. Add the all-purpose flour all at once, and mix until the mixture no longer looks dry and a crumbly dough forms.
  4. Sprinkle a little bit of flour on a clean work surface to prevent the dough from sticking. Transfer the dough onto the workspace and form it into an 8-by-8-inch square that’s 1 inch thick. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  5. Once chilled, take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit for 5 minutes so it softens a bit. While waiting, preheat the oven to 350 F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Take the dough out of the plastic wrap and put it on the same lightly-floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with a little more flour and roll it out with a rolling pin or cylinder-shaped object (a wine bottle works well) into a large rectangle that’s ¼ – ½ inch thick. 
  7. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, stamp out as many hearts as you can fit into the dough, and transfer the hearts onto the baking sheets, with at least ½ inch of space between each cookie. 
  8. Combine the dough scraps and roll it out into another ¼ inch thick rectangle.
  9. Repeat steps 7-8 until you run out of dough. A 3-inch heart cookie cutter should make 14 cookies. 
  10. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges. 
  11. Take cookies out of the oven and let it cool until it reaches room temperature. You can eat the cookies now, but if you want to ice them pop them into the fridge so they become extra cold. 

Directions (for the icing):

  1. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, milk, light corn syrup and vanilla extract. With a whisk, mix it all together until a smooth, slightly thick icing forms. 
  2. Add in the food coloring of your preference. (Tip: Food coloring is very concentrated, so start off with 1 drop and see if that gives you your desired color before adding more. To get this light pink color, I used 1 drop of red food coloring.)
  3. Dip the top part of the cookie into the icing, and hold it over the bowl for a bit to let any excess icing drip off. Place the cookie onto a plate/tray. 
  4. Repeat step 3 for all the cookies. If you want the icing to look more opaque in color, dip the cookies in the icing twice. While the icing is still wet, feel free to add any sprinkles or other treats to decorate!
  5. Let the cookies chill in the fridge for at least an hour (overnight is best) so the icing hardens. Enjoy!

Faiza Mohammed / Daily Nexus

Strawberry and Cream Cheese Rolled Cake with Chocolate Ganache (Faiza Mohammed) 

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, this recipe creates a decadent and delicious treat for everyone to enjoy whether it be with some friends or a special partner. This recipe takes approximately 1 hour to create and makes up to 7 servings. 

Ingredients: 

For the cake

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ½  cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 8 oz[[ounces]] cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups strawberry, sliced

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 
  2. In a large bowl, whisk eggs for approximately 2 minutes, or until a fluffy texture is achieved. 
  3. Mix in sugar, oil, baking powder, salt and vanilla extract. Whisk ingredients together. 
  4. Add in flour and continue whisking until a smooth batter forms. 
  5. Pour batter into a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cake is golden brown. 
  6. While the cake is still warm, invert the cake onto a kitchen towel. Sprinkle some powdered sugar, if desired, to ensure the cake does not stick to the towel. Gently roll the cake into the towel, then refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes. 
  7. In a small bowl, mix the vanilla extract and powdered sugar into the cream cheese, then spread the cream cheese mixture onto the cake. 
  8. Top the cream cheese with sliced strawberries.
  9. To make the chocolate ganache, pour the chocolate chips into a small saucepan and let it simmer on medium heat for about 7 minutes, or until the chocolate melts.  
  10. Add heavy whipping cream to the chocolate and let the mixture simmer on low heat while gently stirring to prevent sticking. 
  11. Roll the cake up and top with the chocolate ganache. Enjoy! 

Recipe adapted from: https://tasty.co/recipe/strawberry-cheesecake-cake-roll.

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