Something about Valentine’s Day definitely gets me in a baking mood. I already love baking, always have, always will, but for some reason around love day, my urge to whip up something sweet in the kitchen rises ten-fold. It must be all the pink and white! ?☺
I don’t know what’s going on this year, though, because I’m not doing anything special outside of work (and, for some perspective, last year this time I was in a community musical with rehearsals 3-4 times a week AND was going to the gym regularly), but I feel like I come home from work now and before I know it, I blink and it’s time for bed! ☹️ NO.TIME.FOR.FUN!!!!
Now, for me, Valentine’s Day cannot go uncelebrated in some shape or form. Yes, I may be a single gal but there’s something about good ol’ V’day that I just love. So, I thought I’d share some of my favourite snacks that can be made with minimal time and effort but will charm the pants off your valentine or galentine, or heck, you can even make them just to treat yourself (self-love guys, it’s very important! ?)! That’s the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I like it…uh-huh uh-huh….let’s go!
1. Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
This has got to be one of the easiest yet tastiest snacks ever made. Chocolate dipped pretzels require hardly any ingredients but decorating these sweet-and-salty delights feels quite therapeutic and allows for lots of creative freedom for you and your love. I’ve even had spontaneous pretzel decorating contests with friends that are so much fun (it’s the simple things, y’all). In the past, I’ve relied on this recipe from Love from the Oven, but I make them so often now (for almost every holiday, ha), I just improvise. It’s chocolate, pretzels and sprinkles…it’s not too complicated, even for you non-bakers!
- 1 or 2 baking trays
- Parchment paper (enough to cover each tray)
- A couple of spoons to stir your melted chocolate and/or pour your sprinkles
- Pretzel sticks (I used half a bag today)
- Candy melts or melting chocolate (a few different colours, if you’re feeling fancy)
- Sprinkles – lots of sprinkles in different colours and varieties to make decorating extra fun
Once you have your ingredients, the rest is fairly easy to put together:
- Melt your candy melts or chocolate in a microwave-safe jar or container (I usually use Pyrex glass measuring cups, it’s just easiest). When it comes to melting your chocolate, you want to ensure that your microwave, no matter how new or old, is on HALF POWER. If you let the chocolate sit too long in the microwave or on a power setting that is too high, the chocolate will burn. Stir the chocolate every 30 seconds or so, and after about 3 or 4 rounds of stirring, keep checking on it about every 15 seconds until melted.
- Dip the pretzels in the melted chocolate and, using a spoon or clean fingers, pour sprinkles on the pretzel, slowly rotating as you do so. HINT: it may be a good idea to get a large plate or bowl to place under the pretzels as you put sprinkles on them for easy clean-up. ?
- Place the newly-covered pretzel on the parchment paper lined baking tray to cool. Once all of the pretzels are coated, I usually put the baking trays in the fridge for about 20-30 minutes to let set. Once the chocolate has hardened, they’re ready to put on a pretty dish to take a million photos of, or if you’re a normal human, EAT! ?? Simple as that!
I’m sure that if I had more artistic flair or even more, some patience, these would look more appealing. Think of these as the junior (aka messy) edition, but most people can make these look positively delightful. At the end of the day, though, these still look pretty darn cute (albeit, erhm, a little uneven) and will draw in even the pickiest of eaters. Enjoy!!!
2. Funfetti/Birthday Cake Popcorn
…or as my friends call it, “crack” popcorn. Seriously, guys, I’ve been scolded by friends and family at parties for not bringing some of this highly addictive popcorn with me. If Christina Tosi is renowned for her pies and Betty Crocker for her cakes, I’m “known” (rather, infamous), for this popcorn. Speaking of Betty Crocker, as the name suggests, this heavenly popcorn dish is made with cake mix. Don’t worry, eating cake mix won’t harm you; the reason you’ve always been told not to eat unbaked cake batter is that of the risk of salmonella in raw eggs.
Unlike the chocolate dipped pretzels above, this is a recipe I take very seriously. If I’m making this for myself after a really hard week, I don’t care so much and can wing it, but if anyone else is going to be tasting it, I strictly adhere to this recipe from Erica’s Sweet Tooth. I’ve tried other cake batter popcorn recipes, but hers is simply the best and is the one that has all of my friends hooked. I highly recommend checking out Erica’s instructions here, but in summary:
- Pop some popcorn. I prefer to use white popcorn so that it looks better, but whatever you have lying around the house will work.
- Melt some white chocolate. You can use white chocolate chips, but if I’m honest, they take the sugar level of this already-majorly-sugary dessert WAY over the top. I personally prefer to use bright white candy melts (as pictured above) or white chocolate disks that you can find in Bulk Barn. Same great taste, without the worry…okay, lessened worry of rotting your insides. ?
- Mix your melted chocolate with white cake mix. If you used white chocolate chips, you will need to add a touch of vegetable oil or coconut oil, but if you use the melts, I find they combine with the cake mix just fine on their own.
- Pour this gooey sticky mix over your popcorn, add some sprinkles, mix with a spatula or if you’re brave enough, your hands (adding a touch of cooking spay really helps to keep the popcorn to sticking ALL of over your fingers) and let cool.
- Enjoy your DELICIOUS popcorn!!
My favourite part of this recipe is that you can add pretty much anything you want, like M&Ms, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, etc., or you can have it just as is, and it tastes amazing. There are so many awesome variations of this popcorn on the internet, so it’s time to log back into your Pinterest page and get creative. It’s just too addictive!
3. Watermelon Hearts
I know, I know…I’ve been waffling on for ages now about lovey-dovey treats that are overloaded with sugar, so here’s one for all of you health-conscious folks. I’m not even going to share a recipe for this one because all you need is a watermelon and a heart-shaped cookie cutter…that’s it.
*Barry White voice*
Simple, quick and sprinkled with a healthy dose of love! ???
So, what are you getting up to for Valentine’s Day? Are you and your best gal-pals headed out on the town? Or, is the plan to snuggle up to your boo for a good Netflix, chill and funfetti popcorn session?! Let me know below!
All the best my loves, thanks for being the best Valentines a girl could ever ask for. ☺ Wishing you a superfantastic Valentine’s Day filled with lots of fun and love, no matter where it comes from! <3