Valentine’s Day is almost here! In preparation, I’ve decided to share a few of my favorite YA inspired recipes for sweets and treats. Whether you’re celebrating with your significant other or your family, hosting a pal/Galentine’s day party, or just putting Netflix on and curling up with your cat (*cough* totally not my plan *cough*), here are five simple and fun recipes sure to be a hit!
The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian
You know what comes in super handy in case of apocalyptic floods? Stilts. Now, If your dessert also comes equipped with stilts, all the better. These cake pops are great for sharing with friend!
• Chocolate cake, prepared
• Chocolate frosting (amount depends on moistness of cake)
• 2 boxes premium white chocolate
• cake pop sticks
- Add cake to a large bowl.
- Crumble until it resembles fine crumbs
- Add in frosting a little bit at a time until cake is moist and can hold a ball shape, yet still slightly crumbly
- Use your hands to incorporate the frosting into the cake crumbs
- Use a mini ice cream scoop and scoop out two balls of cake mixture
- Roll the mixture into a tight ball and place on a plate
- Repeat until all the cake mixture has been rolled into balls
- Melt 2-4 ounces of white chocolate in the microwave
- Dip the tip of the cake pop sticks into the white chocolate and insert into the cake balls about half-way
- Freeze for about 20 minutes
- Meanwhile prepare all of your decorating supplies
- Melt the remaining chocolate in a large cup. Make sure you have enough chocolate to completely submerge the cake ball
- Remove cake balls from freezer
- Dip cake balls carefully into the chocolate until covered
- Let the excess chocolate drip off. Swirl and tap gently if needed
- Add the sprinkles while the chocolate is still wet. It will harden quickly
- Stick the decorated cake pop into a styrofoam block to finish setting
- Place into the freezer to speed up setting time
- Cover with a clear treat bag & ribbon for gift giving, if desired
- Store in a single layer, in an airtight container
Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel
Every. Single. Party. Needs. Dip. This recipe is modified to include a few hidden gems for particularly adventurous dippers. Feuding fathers and prized dinosaur fossils not included.
• 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
• 8 oz. thawed cool whip
• ½ cup powdered sugar
• ⅛ cup caramel sauce
• ½ cup toasted coconut
• Chocolate sauce for drizzle
• caramel sauce for drizzle
• cookie bits of your choice
• apple slices for dipping
1. In a large bowl, combine cream cheese, cool whip, powdered sugar and caramel sauce and beat until smooth
2. Pour into a serving bowl, making sure there is enough space between dip and rim of bowl to save room for toppings. While you are pouring, sprinkle in the cookie bits
3. Top with toasted coconut then drizzle with chocolate sauce and caramel sauce
4. Provide apples for dipping and enjoy!
Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach
We’ve all been there. We’re just going about our day, minding our own business, and then – BAM! – our lives are changed when the perfect person waltzes into our lives. If they weren’t a potentially immortal being, then things might have worked out. Impress them with this classic bread pudding that is as delicious today as it would have been 246 years ago.
• 2 cups milk
• 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, more for greasing pan
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• ⅓ cup sugar
• Pinch salt
• ½ loaf sweet egg bread like challah or brioche, cut into 2-inch cubes (about 5 to 6 cups)
• 2 eggs, beaten
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm milk, butter, vanilla, sugar and salt.
2. Continue cooking just until butter melts; cool. Meanwhile, butter a 4-to-6-cup baking dish and fill it with cubed bread.
3. Add eggs to cooled milk mixture and whisk; pour mixture over bread. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until custard is set but still a little wobbly and edges of bread have browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Josh’s Favorite White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
OK, OK, I know this one is technically cheating, because it’s one of Lara Jean’s Christmas cookie recipes. I stand by my choice here though – the tartness of the cranberries provides a nice change of pace from all the super sugary recipes and saccharine decorations.
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup white chocolate chips
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- ¼ Teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1. Preheat the over to 375 degrees farenheit.
2. Cream butter ina a large bowl or mixer, Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla, and ¼ teaspoon sea salt, and mix until combined.
3. Sift in the whole wheat flour and baking soda and mix until well combined.
4. Fold in the chocolate chips and granberries. Then refrigerate dough for at least 10 minutes. Shape dough into rounded balls (about one tablespoon of dough per ball), flatten slightly onto a parchment-lined or greased cookie sheet, and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Once the the cookies’ edges are firm and lightly golden, remove from the oven and let set on sheet for 2 to 3 minutes. The transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy!
As-Sweet-As-You Want-Them Hearts
The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash
Now, we all know that confessing your unrequited love on Valentine’s Day is, at the very least, a little hokey – but far be it from me to decide how you should or shouldn’t spend your holiday! These homemade sweetheart candies are a cute way to send personalized messages, whether to friends, coworkers, or that person next door you’ve pined for forever. You can always eat the evidence if the grand gesture you’ve been planning starts to head south! This one is a little more involved, but absolutely worth it.
• 1 packet (1/4 ounces, or 2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
• 1/2 cup water
• 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
• 2 pounds (one bag) confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting your work surface
• Assorted flavoring extracts of your choice (I used almond extract)
• Assorted food colors, your choice
• Heart-shaped cutters (whatever size you’d like; I used a set of fondant heart cutters by Wilton in assorted sizes)
• Food coloring markers (I used Gourmet Writer Food Pens)
1. Place the corn syrup, gelatin, and water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Stir until the gelatin is well-distributed. Microwave the mixture for 30 seconds, so the gelatin dissolves, and stir well.
2. Pour the gelatin mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add one cup of confectioners’ sugar and turn the mixer to low, mixing until the sugar is incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that the sugar all gets mixed in.
3. Continue to add the remaining confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time, mixing well, until all of the 2 pounds is added. While you’re mixing, periodically stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl. The mixture will progress from a thin, watery liquid to a glaze-like texture to extremely thick dough.
4. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, dust a work surface with some confectioners’ sugar and scrape the candy out onto the work surface. The candy will be very sticky and stiff. Generously dust the top of the ball of candy with confectioners’ sugar, and begin to knead the candy like bread dough, folding the ball of dough over onto itself, then use the heel of your hand to push it down. Give the candy a quarter-turn, and repeat the process, dusting it with more confectioners’ sugar as often as necessary to prevent it from sticking to the board or your hands. Knead until the candy is smooth.
5. Decide how many colors and flavors of conversation hearts you want to make, and divide the candy dough into that many portions. To flavor and color the candy, take one of the balls and flatten it into a palm-sized disc. Add a few drops of food coloring and a small dot of flavoring extract to the center of the disc, and fold it over on itself. Knead the dough ball, just as you did before, until the color is evenly dispersed throughout the candy, and all streaks have disappeared. Repeat this process with remaining balls of candy dough until all of the bits are colored and flavored.
6. The mixing of the color and flavor into the dough does take some time. As I finished coloring each ball of dough, I wrapped each securely in plastic wrap so that they wouldn’t dry out while I finished the rest.
7. Dust your work surface and a rolling pin with confectioners’ sugar, and roll out one of the candy balls to your desired thickness. You can roll it to any thickness you like. Be aware that the thinner you roll it, the more fragile the candy will be.
8. Use heart-shaped cutters to cut hearts out of the rolled candy, and transfer the hearts to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. As the original recipe aptly notes, smaller hearts are more realistic, but larger hearts are easier for writing messages. Once you have cut out your hearts, you can re-roll the scraps to get more shapes out of the candy. Repeat with remaining candy balls.
9. Allow your hearts to air-dry for at least 24 hours before writing on them. The extra moisture in the hearts will cause the ink to run if you do not let them dry properly.
10. After the hearts have dried, use the food writing markers to write the messages that come from your heart. Store your conversation hearts in an airtight container at room temperature.
Do you have any favorite Valentine’s Day recipes you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below, and Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Riveted!