sweets for your sweeties

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and it will soon be time to make cookies for all the sweethearts in your life, young and old alike.

At our house, the tradition is for Dad to “surprise” everyone with some sort of small treasure, whether it is candy, a CD, or even a trip to the monster truck rally. (I am always so thankful we have never gone to that on our anniversary, which falls just a week before!)

I also use this day to make my “girls” feel special and am thinking now of what that can entail this year. I started doing this when my one and only girl went to college and have carried on the custom with daughters-in-law.

Then I like to make a special Valentine’s day dinner and come up with a special chocolate dessert for everyone to enjoy. I also make enough to send a day-after-Valentine’s Day-treat in Clay’s lunch. This year he doesn’t know it but he will be surprised with a small, heart-shaped cheesecake, his favorite.

I made a couple of fun treats during Christmas that I think I will bring back for Valentine’s Day, too. Here are two recipes that you can enjoy and that are simple enough for your children to make for their own “sweethearts” like Dad and Grandma.

Best-Ever Gingerbread Valentines

1 package spice cake mix
1 C. all-purpose flour
2 Tsp. ground ginger
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 c. oil
1/2 c. molasses
White and pink icing for decorating (You can make your own or to make it a quick and easy job, use the icing in tubes from the grocery store.)

Mix together cake mix, flour, and ginger in a large bowl and stir until blended. Add remaining ingrediens and beat with electric mixer for 2 minutes. Cover and put in fridge for 2 hours. Place dough on floured surface and roll out to ¼ inch thickness. Cut out with heart shapes and placed on greased cookie sheets or ones lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes, depending on the size of the cutters and being careful to not let them get too brown around the edges. Cool on wire racks and decorate. I like to place the decorated cookies on cookie sheets in the freezer for 10 minutes to set the frosting.


Crock Pot Valentine Candy

1 (16 oz.) jar unsalted peanuts
1 (16 oz.) jar salted peanuts
1 (12 oz.) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (12 oz.) bag milk chocolate chips
2 (12 oz.) bags peanut butter chips
2 (1 lb.) packages White Almond Bark, broken in pieces

Layer ingredients, in order listed, into (4 quart or larger) crock pot. Turn the pot on low, cover it with a lid, and allow to sit for two hours. Remove lid and stir to combine. Check to see if almond bark is melted, and if so, stir and spoon mixture onto wax paper or into miniature valentine papers. Decorate, if you wish, with miniature valentine sprinkles or additional chopped peanuts. Allow to harden 1 hour or so before enjoying.

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