Nobody really eats sprinkles because of their taste; we just eat them because their sheer prettiness makes foods seem tastier. It’s like magic, edible fairy dust, if you will. And for that reason, I couldn’t envision these gorgeous Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Sprinkle Sandwiches without that colorful coating. Alone, these sandwiches are fun. With the sprinkles, they’re a party in the palm of your hand. Continue reading
All you folks worrying about who you’re going to spend Valentine’s Day with have got your priorities all wrong. What you should be asking yourself is what you’re going to eat. Come on, guys, get it straight!
Luckily, while you were swooning over your significant other (or a potential significant other), I was compiling the ultimate Valentine’s Day recipe collection for you. I anticipated that y’all might get a little distracted by romance and forget to take care of a menu, aka the most important part of any holiday. Thank goodness you guys have me.
Whether you’re looking to impress your sweetheart, have a party with your friends, or treat your kiddos, I can guarantee you a stellar V-Day if you employ any one of these lovely recipes. Make something you’ll fall in love with.
The numbers of the list below correlate w/ the numbers of the photo above.
- Strawberry Sweetheart Bars
- Chocolate Oatmeal Krispie Bites
- Gluten Free Double Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
- Homemade Conversation Hearts
- Chocolate Truffle Cake Balls
- Coconut Macaroons with Strawberry Whipped Cream
- Mini Strawberry Cookies & Cream Ice Box Cakes
- Warm Vanilla Buttercream Dream Drink
- Mini Chocolate-Strawberry-Marshmallow Tartlets
- Stuffed Strawberry French Toast Roll-Ups
- Two-Bite Red Velvet Candy Cakes
- Chewy Red Velvet Bars w/ Whipped Cream Frosting
- Red Velvet Whoopie Pies w/ Strawberry Buttercream
- Puppy Love Brownie Cupcakes
- Soft Sweetheart Sugar Cookies
- Strawberry Mousse Mini Pies
- Copycat Chocolate Candy Shop Blizzards
I don’t know about you, but I just fell in love 17 times. How will I decide which recipe to make for Valentine’s Day? Maybe I’ll just make ‘em all.
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I love food, and so do you.
And that, my friends, is why food is the best Valentine’s Day gift I could give you. We share a mutual love for food, you and I, and that’s an incomparable bond. I don’t even have to know anything else about you to know that you’re worthy of being my Valentine. If you’re on this site, that means you like food. And if you like food, that means I like you.
So here’s something sweet for all you Smart Cookie readers: My Strawberry Sweetheart Bars. They are chewy, moist…and sweet like me! I Sorry, I had to. I guarantee you Mother Cookie is rolling her eyes right now and saying, “Oh god.”
I absolutely love these bars because they’re so darn simple, but they make one heavenly treat. It’s a one-bowl recipe, and you just need a few ingredients. This is stress-free baking, giving you soft and chewy strawberry bliss in no time at all.
We use a boxed cake mix as the base then added eggs and butter to yield a texture that’s sturdy, but very moist and rich, like a strawberry blondie. Then, each bar is speckled with creamy white chocolate chips and chunks of Nilla Wafers that soften like cake when you bake the bars. The end product is like strawberry shortcake, but even better.
Festive pink and red V-Day sprinkles are the perfect finishing touch to these simple but scrumptious bars. Be cautioned: you will want to eat the whole pan before ever sharing with you sweetheart. Hence why I’m giving you guys a recipe for V-Day, instead of the actual bars…
A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:
- I tried making this in an 8×8 pan, and the bars burned around the edges before cooking in the middle, so stick to the 9×13.
- Easily double or triple and bring these babies to a party!
- Leave out the sprinkles or sub with rainbow ones, and these delicious bars are perfect all year-round.
- Don’t overbake these, or they’ll dry right out. I recommend pulling them just before you think they’re done, rather than after.
Strawberry Sweetheart Bars
By The Smart Cookie Cook
- 1 box strawberry cake mix (I used Pillsbury Super Moist)
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
- 3/4 cup crumbled Nilla Wafers
- ¼ cup Valentine sprinkles, plus 2 tbsp. more for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the cake mix, eggs, and butter on low speed just until well-combined. Mix in the chips, Nilla Wafers, and 1/4 cup sprinkles.
- Transfer batter to the prepared pan and press into an even layer. Cover with remaining sprinkles. Bake 20-25 minutes, checking after 15, or until puffed and set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs. Let cool completely then slice and enjoy.
If you’re one of those people who only eats pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, then this post may upset you. I have three words of condolence: get over it! Sorry to be brash, but for me, pumpkin season is from October (possibly September as well) until the end of December. Moreover, there are many folks who enjoy pumpkin pie on both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pumpkin-palooza is far from over. If I had it my way, we’d be eating pumpkin all year-long! For now, 3-4 months a year will have to do.
Pumpkin pie is good. Is it amazing? Eh, not in my book at least. I love a good slice on Thanksgiving, but it’s not my favorite pumpkin product. And I know there are a lot of folks who don’t like pumpkin pie at all. The texture can be a bit off-putting for some. The possibility that holiday dinner guests may have a distaste for pumpkin leads many people to make multiple pies to please multiple palates. But what if there was a light, fluffy, creamy pumpkin pie to please even the pickiest pumpkin pie haters?
Good news, my little cookies: there is.
Allow me to introduce you to Pumpkin Cream Pie with a Ginger Cookie Crust.
I always though fudge was one of those things that everybody likes. It’s sweet, decadent, chocolatey, and generally unoffensive. Of course, when you have preconceived notions like this, it’s not uncommon that someone comes along and proves you wrong.
Enter: my mother.
As you may have heard when reading about my White Chocolate-Walnut Blondies with Maple Butter Sauce, my mother is not a big fan of sweets. It took those delicious blondies to truly thrill her. And when it comes to fudge, she finds it repulsive. “It’s too sweet,” she says. I say she’s nuts. Nuts like this fudge. (Get it? It’s Nutty Coconut Fudge!…yeah, sorry).
Now, when you come across disagreements such as this, my little cookies, there is good news. So-and-so doesn’t like a food you find to be delicious? That’s totally okay, and I can give you three words that explain why:
More for me.
There are two kinds of people in this world: the ones with an insatiable sweet tooth, and the ones who could care less about dessert. If you’re a dessert junky like myself, then you’ve often pondered how the latter category can exist. How can anyone not be obsessed with sweets??? They’re so delicious and…sweet! But those people are out there, my little cookies, and, chances are, you know a couple of them. You might even be one yourself.
In most cases, it’s not that those people are dessert-haters; it’s just that they can live without it (although, there are some people who really just don’t like sweets, and they are a complete and utter mystery to me). If you’re like me, then you can’t imagine a life without dessert; it’d be like a life without love. But we must be respectful of each other’s eating preferences and, therefore, not force sweets upon those who do not have the sweet tooth.
My sweet tooth took some time to grow in. I would eat dessert from time to time when I was younger, and I would enjoy it, but my ability to go to sleep at night didn’t rely on whether or not I’d eaten dessert. I can’t pinpoint the exact moment at which this changed; all I know is that dessert gets me through the day. And, as much I LOVE cooking, I will always love baking a little bit more.
Ever since my sweet tooth came in, I’ve been participating in an ongoing battle with my mother. You see, she’s one of those people, the kind who doesn’t care much for sweets. She’s just not a dessert person (her words, not mine). It always disappoints me a little when I bake and she doesn’t get as excited as I do. She always loves my sweet treats, don’t get me wrong. But it doesn’t elicit the same reaction as it would’ve if I’d made her a cheeseburger instead.
With the exception of when I made my Soft Pumpkin Cookies, I’ve always found it hard to excite my mother when it came to desserts. I’d pretty much given up on her and just accepted that she would never care for dessert, that is, until I made these blondies.
There are many kinds of cakes in this world. I’m not talking about vanilla, chocolate, sponge cake, pound cake, birthday cake and the like; I’m talking about the overall demeanor that a cake possesses: mighty, intimidating, tall, enormous, elegant, petite, dainty, light, dense, sophisticated…you get the picture. It’s that feeling that halos a cake when it’s sitting atop a cake stand, tucked inside its paper lining, or perched upon a dessert plate.
Of all these descriptions, only one is befitting of this Apple Cider Pound Cake w/ Sweet Cinnamon Glaze: glorious. This cake is glorious.
With just one look, a beam of sunlight shines directly onto the cake just as an angelic chorus swells in the background. What can I say? It’s a beautiful cake.
But it’s not just on the outside that this cake shines. There is one reason, and one reason only, that I make this Apple Cider Pound Cake every year around this time: it is darn good. It is so moist and delicious, just as a pound cake should be. Moreover, the apple cider provides a heavenly apple accent that’s subtle, but unmistakably present. The cider is further complimented by a beautiful blend of spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and clove. This creates a warm, sweet, and spicy harmony. The taste of these comforting spices reminds you of Fall time, the holidays, and treats your grandma used to make.
Creme brulee is a sultry, sophisticated dessert. It frequents fancy restaurant menus and romantic dinners for two. It’s creamy and luscious in the middle with a crisp, golden brown sugar topping that offers a satisfying crackle to each bite. Its flavor is not complex, just classic, indulgent vanilla. With that caramelized sugar top, creme brulee is an impressive and divine dessert.
The funny thing about creme brulee is that it’s actually insanely simple to make. You whip up the custard (super easy), bake it until it sets (cake), then top it with the sugar and caramelize it (simple). The best part is, you can make the custards ahead of time then refrigerate until you’re ready to serve! You can choose to wait until serving to top them with the sugar or do it before refrigeration; it doesn’t matter.
Oh wait…I forgot. There’s a major downside to creme brulee: it’s not calorie-friendly.
Or at least, it wasn’t. Thanks to that genius Hungry Girl, we can now enjoy all the creamy, heavenly indulgence of a creme brulee without the guilt. These creme brulees are only 104 calories each! Yes, 104 calories! Try and tell me that’s not insanely awesome. And they’re SO GOOD. They have a perfect creamy texture plus a beautiful crackling sugar topping. If no one told you it was low-cal, you’d never know. It’s as good as any other creme brulee out there. You need this in your life.
When the leaves start to turn and the air proceeds to chill, there is one thought that bursts into my mind like a child leaping into a pile of fallen leaves: Pumpkin. It is pumpkin season, my little cookies, and I couldn’t be any happier! Pumpkin is quite possibly one of my favorite flavors in existence, and I know I am not alone in this. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin milkshakes, Pumpkin Pie Blizzards, pumpkin bread; Autumn is Pumpkin-palooza.
Slowly, the pumpkin recipes have been sprouting up on blogs all over just like pumpkins in a pumpkin patch. It is time that I give fall (and pumpkin) a proper welcome. Hence this pumpkin-packed post. Pumpkin-haters, I shall not apologize, for even you will fall in love with this recipe (no pun intended): Soft Pumpkin Cookies.
Let me start by saying that these might but some of the best cookies I’ve ever had. They are certainly my favorite pumpkin treat. Even my mother who doesn’t get very excited by sweets is in love with them and declared them as her new favorite. They are so delicious and I know you’ll agree.
If you’ve never been to The Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania, then, chances are, you’ve never heard of Josh Early’s Candies. I wouldn’t expect you to have; The Lehigh Valley isn’t exactly NYC or Las Vegas. However, the LV does have one thing going for it, and that’s Josh Early’s.
A little fact about myself: I lived in the Lehigh Valley for 8 years. My holiday memories are graced with chocolates from Josh Early’s. On Easter, there would be a milk chocolate bunny. On Valentine’s day, a rose-shaped chocolate on a stem. Josh Early’s basically has every chocolate or candy you can imagine, and it is some of the best I’ve ever had.
When you walk into Josh Early’s, the first thing you notice is the warm, sweet scent of chocolate. Even though it’s been a while since I’ve stepped inside that place, I can still smell that luscious aroma. After the scent, the next thing you’ll notice is that you’ve died and gone to heaven. The place is huge and every square inch is covered in candy.
There’s something for everyone: plain chocolate, filled chocolates, nuts, chocolate-covered nuts, fruit candies, barks, toffee, pretzels, and so much more! It’s all heavenly, but I’m a chocolate girl at heart. They make real quality chocolate in small handmade batches with only the best ingredients. Josh Early’s puts care into their confections, and it shows.
Recently, I found myself craving Josh Early’s again. I knew I couldn’t possibly drive four hours to go there, but there was another option: Josh Early could bring the chocolates to me.
Yes, for those of you who have been drooling throughout this post, there is good news. You can order Josh Early chocolates online & have them shipped to your home. You can choose from pre-packaged gift boxes or even make your own assortment. “Make your own assortment” are four words of heaven to a chocolate lover like me. You’re telling me I can pick out WHATEVER CHOCOLATES I WANT and create my dream collection? Sign me up!
So, naturally, I asked for some for my birthday and carefully made the perfect selection. My wonderful, wonderful parents came through. The box or sweet indulgence arrived in all its glory just in time for my birthday. You can do this for your loved ones too. They will be THRILLED, trust me.
For my dream box, I chose:
- 1/4 lb. of Milk Chocolate Cashew Patties
- 1/4 lb. of Milk Chocolate Vanilla Butter Creams
- 1/4 lb. of Milk Chocolate Caramel Marshmallows
- 1/4 lb. of Milk Chocolate Chocolate Mousse Truffles
Yes, that’s a pound of chocolate, all for me! What’s really awesome is how customizable it is. You can choose dark, milk, or sometimes even white chocolate then pick how much of everything you want. It’s legitimately a dream come true. Josh Early’s ships the candies in a very safe package, complete with cold packs to keep the chocolate from melting. It’s times like these where I appreciate the advanced day and age with live in.
So how’s that chocolate, you ask?
The Caramel Cashew Patties are packed with nuts and chewy caramel then enveloped in milk chocolate. I’m a big fan of chocolate & nuts. Cashews happen to be my favorite, making these sublime. The caramel is chewy and gooey, the chocolate is perfect, and the nuts are crunchy. What more could I ask for?
The Caramel Marshmallow chocolates are delightful. They’ve got that great Josh Early caramel, a perfect coat of milk chocolate, and a cute little marshmallow awaiting you in the center of it all! Yum!
The Vanilla Butter Cream cuties were nice and sweet. Rather appropriately, the smooth center had a flavor reminiscent of vanilla buttercream frosting. They’re cute and little, making it easy to pop way too many into my mouth in one sitting!
These Chocolate Mousse Truffles have a secret. They’re not just filled with mousse; there’s marshmallow fluff in there too! It’s a sweet little surprise when you bite in. When I get any kind of assorted or mixed chocolates, mousse is my absolute favorite filling. You can imagine I’m in love with these.
Everything I ordered was phenomenal. I would suggest any of it. However, I also encourage you to pick out the candies you love and make your dream box. The pricing is actually pretty reasonable, and well worth it if you ask me. You can get to work building your own custom confection collection right here!
What are you waiting for?
Josh Early wasn’t the only chocolate who made an appearance on my birthday. Check out the dreamy Chocolate Hypnotic Birthday Cake I celebrated with too!