This Valentine's Day, gather the family and make your own chocolate sweets and other treats. You'll have great fun and save money. This is even a good excuse to set up an at-home ice cream sundae bar with storebought and homemade toppings.
Whatever you decide, the kids will love the out-of-the-ordinary indulgence. It goes without saying that the adults in the household will cheerfully go along with the idea!
Begin with Fudge
Homemade fudge is a winner anytime of year. Some recipes are more difficult than others; some are richer than others. Choose one that suits your fancy and level of kitchen expertise.
Fudge makes a wonderful Valentine's Day gift. The kids can make it a day or so ahead of time, refrigerate it, and then pack it in pink and white tissue paper in a small gift box. Grandma, Aunt Sue, or a favorite babysitter will appreciate the gesture.
Bar cookies, such as toffee bars, brownies, and lemon squares also make lovely gifts. Pack them in pretty packaging - stationery and general department stores carry lots of appealing supplies.
Cookies are equally welcome on Valentine's Day as a gift or family treat. Little bites, such as swirl-topped "kiss" cookies, say "I love you!"
Bake a Cake
Valentine's Day is a perfect excuse to bake a cake. While you may not need an excuse, some home cooks only bake cakes from scratch on birthdays and major holidays. Why not add Valentine's Day to this list?
Chocolate is the obvious choice for a cake. Make it rich, indulgent, over-the-top, and as luscious as can be.
If you prefer, bake a lemon or vanilla cake. Spice cakes, too, are delicious in the cold weather and certainly jazz up Valentine's Day!
Serve the cake as dessert on Valentine's Day. If there are leftovers, pack them in the kids' lunchboxes the next day with an affectionate note to your year-round Valentines!
Always Room for Ice Cream!
While it may be too much of a production to make your own ice cream, set up a sundae bar in the kitchen for your special Valentines.
This means buying extra-rich vanilla ice cream and perhaps a few other family favorites. Set out fudge and caramel sauce, nuts, mini marshmallows, and whipped cream. Don't forget the cherries and red and pink sprinkles!
Make own hot fudge sauce and sweet nutty topping. This way, you'll know they are full of good ingredients, and if the kids help make them, they will doubly enjoy eating them!
Fussing over Valentine's Day is a terrific antidote to mid-winter blahs. The kids will love it and you'll all have a good time. Keep it simple and delicious -- it's sure to become an annual tradition.