Make your Valentine’s Day a little sweeter with these easy and tasty desserts! I’ve chosen three different treats — cupcakes, cheesecake bars and cookies — all with different flavors for some variety.
Strawberry Cheesecake Cookie Bars
These fun and deliciously fruity bars are the easiest to make out of these options. I made mine dairy-free by using Earth Balance and Miyoko’s Creamery vegan cream cheese. I topped them with a simple glaze of powdered sugar and a little water in the photo. The original recipe can be found here. I halved the amount of cream cheese topping in my recipe and baked for a little longer.
- 1 box of strawberry cake mix
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 4 ounces cream cheese softened to room temperature
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix with the eggs and melted butter. Mix until smooth and then pour into a greased 9-by-13-inch pan.
- In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese with the sugar and vanilla until smooth. Place tablespoon-sized dollops of the cream cheese filling evenly spread on top of the cake batter in the pan.
- Use a knife or skewer to swirl the cream cheese filling into the cake batter.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The edges should be a light golden brown. Let the bars cool completely and then slice and serve!
Instead of roses, you can give out these rose-flavored cupcakes for Valentine’s Day. These cupcakes have the perfect amount of floral undertones. Plus, the recipe is vegan (although you wouldn’t be able to tell). If you’re having trouble finding rosewater extract, I was able to get it at the European Deli Market in Goleta. The original recipe can be found here; I mostly followed it as written but halved the amount of frosting.
For the cake:
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon rosewater
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup neutral oil
- 3/4 cup plant milk
- 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the frosting:
- 1/2 cup vegan butter, room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon rosewater
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 tablespoon plant milk
- 5 drops red food coloring
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Mix together the plant milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside for 3 to 5 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, rosewater, oil, vanilla, and plant milk and apple cider vinegar mixture.
- Add the flour, flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix just until there are no dry bits.
- Add the cupcake wrappers to or grease a muffin tin and fill with batter until 3/4 full.
- Bake the cupcakes for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cupcakes comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- For the frosting, add the room temperature vegan butter, rosewater, vanilla, plant milk, red food coloring and salt and mix well.
- Add the powdered sugar and whisk until combined.
- Frost the cupcakes and serve!
Matcha Cookies with Raspberry Glaze
For this dessert I combined my favorite matcha cookie recipe with a raspberry syrup recipe (that also tastes great in matcha lattes) to add some tang to the earthiness of the matcha. I made the matcha cookies smaller than the original recipe, and they took about 10 minutes to bake. I also omitted the sugar coating in the original matcha cookie recipe since I was adding a glaze.
- ½ cup vegan butter, cold
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons matcha powder
- 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed and 2 tablespoons water)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup mixed with 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- ¼ cup raspberry syrup
- First add the butter, sugar and the matcha powder to a mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Then, add in the flax egg and vanilla extract and whisk together until combined.
- Next, add in the flour, baking powder and salt to the mixing bowl. Mix until a thick, yet slightly sticky, cookie batter forms.
- Next, cover the mixing bowl of dough and add to the fridge to chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Cover a baking sheet in parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350 F. Next, remove the dough from the fridge and scoop about 1 tablespoon to roll into a ball and place on the baking sheet. Slightly press the dough ball down.
- Bake for 10 to 13 minutes until bottoms are lightly browned and the cookie is cooked, but still has soft centers.
- Add the powdered sugar and raspberry syrup into a bowl and whisk together until smooth. You can adjust the amount of sugar and syrup until the desired consistency is reached.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. The cookies will be soft and puffy out of the oven and will naturally deflate a little while cooling.
- Once the cookies have cooled, transfer them to a separate plate and drizzle the glaze over them. Serve and enjoy!
These recipes are the perfect way to show your love this Valentine’s Day, or whenever for that matter; I’ll be making them year-round. The rosewater cupcakes and matcha cookies are also vegan, and the cheesecake bars can be made dairy-free by substituting vegan butter and cream cheese — so no matter who your valentine is, they can enjoy!
A version of this article appeared on p. 10 of the February 10, 2022 print edition of the Daily Nexus.