Valentine's Gifts from Your Kitchen, with Photos
Every year, people give all kinds of gifts on St. Valentine’s Day. These range from small mementos to elaborate, expensive jewelry. Of course, most couple exchange presents on this special day for lovers, but lots of folks also give gifts to friends, co-workers, and their children and other family members. If you’re trying to decide on gifts that will be appreciated, yet ones that won’t break your budget, consider homemade goodies from your own kitchen. These tasty treats can be an inexpensive way to say “Happy Valentine’s Day!”
Below are some ideas for cheap Valentine’s gifts that are also unique, creative, and thoughtful:
You’ll need a heart-shaped pan for this one. These range from simple to very ornate. If you want to get really fancy, use a multi-pan set in graduated sizes to create a three-or four-tiered cake.
Use any cake mix or a from-scratch recipe, and bake it in the pan. When it has cooled, carefully remove the cake. Remove any crumbs from the cake with a pastry brush. Ice the cake with white frosting, or tint the frosting pink. Chocolate is always a good choice, too. Adorn the top with red hot heart-shaped candies, pastel candies, raspberries, or sliced strawberries.
Tint a batch of sugar cookie dough pink and cut with heart-shaped cookie cutters. Bake and cool. Leave them plain or decorate them with icing. Pipe white “lace” on the cookies, outline the edges in red, or write a message on each cookie.
Another idea is to make round cookies and create a heart design in the center of each cookie. To do this, make a heart stencil from a piece of paper. Hold the stencil over each cookie, and paint the exposed cookie surface with beaten egg white or thin white icing. Sprinkle red sugar over the cookie, then remove the stencil. The sugar will stick to the cookie in the appropriate place, making a heart.
How about a giant heart cookie? You can use refrigerated sugar cookie dough to make this. Just roll the dough out and cut it with a large heart-shaped cookie cutter or with a heart-shaped cake pan. Pipe icing and icing gel to create designs and to write a personalized message.
If you'd like to be a little more original, use the "I (heart) U" cookie cutters!
Valentine cookie bouquet
A bouquet of yummy cookies makes a wonderful gift! Make a mixture of heart-shaped cookies and round cookies with sugar heart designs, like the ones discussed above. Before baking, insert wooden shish-kebob skewers into the bottom of each cookie - after you've removed the sharp end. When the cookies are done and are cool, decorate with icing. Place a piece of Styrofoam into a pretty flower pot, and arrange the cookies. Check out the personalized red flower pot below with a great Valentine's Day message! Add a pretty bow, and voila! You have a beautiful creation from your own kitchen.
For the kids on your Valentine’s Day list, make a batch of cupcakes in heart-shaped pans. Ice the cupcakes and decorate with heart-shaped candies, strawberries, tinted coconut, or red sugar. Another idea is to place several heart-shaped suckers in the center of each cupcake, at different heights.
If you have some chocolate lovers (and who doesn't?), make small cupcakes and dip them in chocolate for a decadent treat!
Healthy heart muffins
If you have a friend who can’t have sugar, or one who’s totally into healthy eating, they don’t have to be left out of the Valentine’s Day fun! Just make a batch of bran muffins or other healthy muffins, and bake them in heart-shaped muffin tins. Microwave some fat-free or low fat cream cheese until it’s soft. Add a drop or two of red food coloring to turn the cream cheese pink. Add Splenda to sweeten. Decorate the muffins with this healthy topping.
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