By Brittany Carlson
I’m always grateful for Valentine’s Day because for me, it provides a much-needed spot of fun during my otherwise cold and dreary post-holiday blues.
I love special Valentine treats with my kids. This year, I found a few new recipes to try that are perfect for involving kids in the kitchen: they are easy to make (and eat), and they even have the “Instagram” factor (they’re super photographable).
Valentine cookie pizza
My favorite is a Valentine-themed sugar cookie pizza. I found my inspiration from a Good Housekeeping recipe (www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/a12590/cookie-pizza-recipe-ghk0215), but we came up with many of our own topping ideas. My kids enjoyed choosing which type of “frosting” to put on each slice (like marshmallow crème or raspberry jam). I provided lots of red or pink items toppings like berries and sprinkles to emphasize the Valentine’s Day colors. Some of our favorite combinations were marshmallow crème with chopped chocolate and graham cracker crumbs, or hazelnut spread with marshmallows.
1 (16.5-oz) tube sugar cookie dough
¼ cup flour
Toppings: hazelnut spread, marshmallow crème, peanut butter, raspberry jam, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, raspberries, strawberries, sprinkles, dried cranberries.
Directions: Combine the sugar cookie dough with ¼ cup of flour and knead together. Then roll it into a ball and roll it out to an 11-inch round on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes or until golden. (Tip: If you can’t find pre-made sugar cookie dough, use a dry sugar cookie mix and add the flour plus 1 egg. I did this and it came out perfectly).
Cut into 8 wedges and top with Valentine’s Day-themed ingredients.
I also love “not a recipe” recipes for making treats with kids that are so easy, you can do make them in minutes.
Rice cereal treats are so flexible, they can accommodate any holiday.
Valentine rice cereal treats
This recipe is from the Rice Krispies website (www.ricekrispies.com/en_US/recipes/valentine-cut-out-treats-recipe.html), but you could make it with any crispy rice cereal.
3 Tbsp butter
1 package (10 oz) marshmallows
Food coloring (optional)
6 cups rice cereal
Frosting/candies to decorate
Directions: Melt the butter. Add marshmallows and stir until melted. Stir in food coloring if desired. Remove from heat and add rice cereal. Stir until combined, and spread onto greased pan or wax paper to cool. Cut with cookie cutters sprayed with cooking spray. Decorate with frosting and candies.
We have heart-shaped cookie cutters that are perfect for this, but you could also used X- and O-shaped cutters, or even cut shapes by hand. I like decorating ours with pink and red candies or sprinkles. It’s also fun to write messages on the treats inspired by conversation hearts, like “Hug Me” or “Be Mine.”
Another recipe-free idea comes from my friend Jaclyn. She and her kids dip pink wafer cookies in chocolate and top with Valentine’s Day-themed sprinkles.
Valentine wafer cookies
I found a “recipe” for these at www.familyfreshmeals.com/2014/01/easy-valentines-day-cookies.html, but you really don’t need one unless you want to see some inspirational photos. Just don’t forget to use parchment paper to dry the cookies once they’re dipped!
White melting chocolate
Wafer cookies (pink)
Valentine’s Day sprinkles
Parchment or wax paper
Melt the chocolate according to the package directions. Put the sprinkles in bowls for easy assembly. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
Once the chocolate is melted, dip the top half of a wafer cookie, decorate with sprinkles and place on parchment paper to dry.