One thing that I love about this time of year, is the fact that I get to pull out red food coloring and no one looks at me all weird. So, today, I’m featuring a couple of sweet treats that you can make for the sweet people in your life, and not break the bank!
I was tasked with going to my local Mariano’s market for #CollectiveBias and picking out items that would make for some great treats, and Mariano’s provided wonderfully! Before I went, I did check out my Pinterest boards to see what bloggers and other talented web writers had featured. One of the first things that I saw and LOVED were some chocolate covered strawberry hearts.
I checked out the recipe, made sure that I didn’t have to have a chainsaw or bunsen burner to complete (oh stop it! You know that some of those recipes require a culinary degree!) and made my way to Mariano’s to shop their fresh selection of fruits, veggies, and other foods. Of course, the strawberries were super red, super sweet, and super plentiful! I mean, just look at them!
I then walked over to the baking aisle and checked out all of the chocolate that was available for melting. It was a lot. There was milk chocolate, semi-sweet dark chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch (not chocolate – I know) and several items to make almond bark. I almost succumbed to the temptation to change my treat, but I stayed strong.
From those ingredients, I got these:
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Hearts.
What you need:
Pint of strawberries
Package of melting/baking chocolate. I used one package of Nestle milk chocolate chips
I melted the chocolate according to the directions on the back of the Nestle package, and arranged the strawberries in a heart formation with the help of a skewer. After the chocolate was melted, I spooned the mixture over the strawberries and let them cool on a cookie rack with parchment paper underneath. Some of them came out with an interesting look, and some of them were perfectly heart-shaped. Those are the ones that were photographed. 🙂
We then made individual red velvet cheesecakes. I love these because it cuts the time of cheesecake making into a total of 45 minutes and I can use the Keebler graham cracker pre-made crusts. Score! These were also found in the baking aisle alongside the chocolate.
I used the recipe inside of the Philadelphia cream cheese package and added 2 tbs of cocoa powder (unsweetened) and 2 tsps of red food coloring. That gave it the famous color for red velvet and the cocoa gave it that wonderful hint of chocolate that makes red velvet so famous. I also made sure to put the cups into a water bath to keep them from cracking, but I’m thinking that I should have just limited the amount of time that they were in the oven. These cooked for 25 minutes.
But really, let’s get to the important stuff. Look at how gorgeous these are! For real. They are also big enough for me to serve to the littles and they hit their sugar allotment for the day. For the cellist and Mr. Houseful, I’m not certain.
If that’s not enough, Mariano’s also provides fresh seafood, and flowers (the way to MY heart) so that you can make that great dinner to serve before dessert! Or after, either way, it’s all about sweets for your sweet!
Remember on your way to Mariano’s to make sure that you have your Mariano’s Rewards Card and also make sure to stop and visit one of the great areas in the store. I usually rotate between the sushi and oyster bar, with my favorite Mariano’s employee John, and enjoy one of their $10 lunch meals. They even have a wine bar to sit down and catch up with your Valentine as well!
Mr. Houseful and I actually enjoyed a day date there last month, and I blogged about it! You can also find more great Mariano’s content by searching #MyMarianos on Facebook and Twitter. You can also find them on Pinterest as well. So many great ideas from such a great grocery store. The experience alone is worth it, and even Mr. Houseful likes going. That says a LOT!
So, what are your plans for Valentine’s Day sweet treats? Share them with me below.