When it comes to Valentine's Day gifts, you can never go wrong with tasty treats made with love. Whether you’re preparing something special for your Valentine or handing out treat bags to friends, we’ve rounded up our favourite sweet treat recipes that deliver on flavour and creativity.
Melting Heart Muffins
200g light muscovado sugar
140g self-raising flour
2 large eggs
8 white truffles
150g butter, softened
300g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa
8 white chocolate hearts
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4 and line a muffin tin with eight paper cases. Melt the butter in a small pan, then leave to cool for 5 mins. Tip the sugar, cocoa and flour into a food processor and whizz to get rid of any little clusters of sugar that are sticking together. Tip in the melted butter and eggs, and blitz to make a smooth batter.
Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
30g white and milk chocolate, roughly chopped (optional)
Cut a strip of baking parchment and leave to one side. To melt the dark chocolate, fill a small pan with 2cm water and bring to a simmer. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and rest it on top of the pan, ensuring the bowl isn’t touching the water. Stir the chocolate to gradually melt it. Or, melt the chocolate in 20 second blasts in the microwave, stirring after each blast until melted. Put the melted chocolate in a small deep bowl.
Microwave Boozy Fudge
Makes 24 pieces
400g golden caster sugar
397g can condensed milk
140g salted butter, chopped into pieces
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tbsp coffee liqueur (or another alcohol of your choice - amaretto or brandy works well)
Grease and line a 20cm square baking tin with baking parchment. Put the sugar, condensed milk and butter in a large heatproof bowl (the mixture will bubble up as it cooks to roughly double its size), add a good pinch of salt and stir together.
Heat the mixture in the microwave on High for 10 mins, stirring every 2-3 mins. Keep an eye on the mixture, as it will bubble up and may go over the sides of the bowl.
300g plain flour, plus a little extra for dusting
200g salted butter, diced
120g golden caster sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp rosewater, or 25g/1oz freeze-dried raspberries, whizzed to a powder (optional)
red or pink food colouring
Tip the flour and butter into a food processor and whizz to fine crumbs. Add the sugar and yolks then whizz to a smooth dough. Remove one-third of the dough, add vanilla to what’s left and pulse to whizz in. Wrap this dough in cling film and leave at room temperature.
Thickly roll out the coloured dough between baking parchment. Use a small 3-4cm heart cutter to stamp out hearts. Keep re-rolling and stamping until all the dough is used. Line up hearts on top of each other and press to form a cylinder, taking care to retain the heart shape. Wrap in cling film and freeze for 3 hrs until solid.
When the heart dough is hard, roll the vanilla dough, using your hands, into 3 cylinders the length of the heart stack. Stick one to each ‘side’ of the hearts, pat together to form a fat cylinder, then gently roll on your work surface until it completely encircles the coloured dough, with the frozen heart dough hidden in the centre. Chill for 2 hrs.