Homemade treats say, 'I like — or maybe love — you'

Valentine's Day is a good reason to be nice to anyone: special sweetie, friend or family member. You don't have to fix an elaborate meal to let people know you love that they are in your life. Giving homemade sweet treats definitely sends that signal, and always results in something priceless: a smile on the face of the person you gift. Here are some fun and easy ideas.

Pokeball Cupcakes

You may not catch any actual Pokemon with these treats, but they might help you catch the eye of a cute Pokemon trainer. These are so easy to make: All you have to do is bake cupcakes (I am guilty of using a box mix) and frost one half red and the other white. Add a black strip of frosting to divide the colors. Finally, attach a mini marshmallow with a drop of black icing. (This was inspired by the Pokeball Cookies from the Nerdy Nummies YouTube channel.)

Galaxy in a Jar

What could be a better way to tell someone, "You mean the world to me!" than giving them an entire (edible) galaxy in a jar? Simply prepare a 16-ounce box of blueberry Jell-O according to the directions and pour the mixture into mason jars. Place the jars in the fridge for about an hour (or until the Jell-O gets to be the consistency of an egg white). Stir in sprinkles, candy and fruit, adding the lightest objects (like sprinkles) first and working your way up to the heaviest (planetlike gobs of fruit and candy). Return the jars to the fridge to cool for another 3 hours. (Inspired by bakingdom.com.)

Galactic Goodies

Treat your special someone to galactic goodies this Valentine's Day. If you love them, they'll know when you create a geeky array of edible Star Wars icons featuring Jedi Master Yoda, stormtroopers and TIE fighters. We used Star Wars cookie cutters and pancake molds from Williams-Sonoma and premade cookie dough: sugar cookies to represent the "light side of the force" and chocolate chip for the "dark side." Depending on your valentine's preference, will the dark or light side of the Force dominate the plate?

The Star Wars cookie cutters are larger than the individual dough portions so combine several dough squares into a larger mass of dough.

Put the dough onto a baking tray, mist rolling pin with olive oil and roll the dough to desired thickness, not too thin. Put baking sheet of dough in the oven for 15 minutes at 375 degrees; adjust temperature depending on your oven. Make sure not to overcook, as you want the dough to remain fairly soft.

Let the dough cool for a few minutes, then cut shapes with the cookie cutters. (Because of the details of some of the molds, it works best to cut the cookies into shapes as the baked dough is cooling, rather than when the dough is raw.)

Arrange the cookies engaged in a galactic battle as a finishing touch.

Gabrielle Calise is a Palm Harbor University High senior, Heather Finster is a junior at St. Petersburg Catholic and Lillian Skye Noble is a senior at St. Petersburg Collegiate/SPC. All are on the staff of tb-two*, the Times' high school weekly.

>>EASY

Valentine's Day Chex Mix

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 1/4 cups white chocolate chips, divided use

3 tablespoons butter

4 cups Rice Chex cereal

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup mini marshmallows

1/2 cup Valentine's Day M&M's candies

Melt peanut butter, 1 cup white chocolate chips and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir often to prevent burning.

Remove mixture from heat and add cereal. Mix well until cereal is evenly coated.

Add confectioners' sugar and stir to coat evenly.

While still warm, add marshmallows, M&M's and remaining white chocolate chips. These sweet add-ins will begin to melt slightly as you give your creation a final toss.

Cool completely, and scoop into Valentine-themed treat bags or decorative glass containers.

Source: Adapted from chex.com

Homemade treats say, 'I like — or maybe love — you' 02/10/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 7:49pm]

© 2014 Tampa Bay Times

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