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It happens sometimes; two fun food topics present themselves for the same issue. I usually choose one and run with it, but this time I just couldn’t decide between Super Bowl party food or sweet treats for Valentine’s Day. So, let’s just call it a tie and have twice the fun this issue!
Spicy Pigs in a Blanket
Regardless of the winning team, you’ll be the MVP when you serve Spicy Pigs in a Blanket. Typically made with crescent roll dough, these little piggies get an upgrade to first class with a puff pastry crust. They’re golden brown, flaky and have just enough heat from the pepper jack cheese and the jalapeños. Add an extra layer of flavor by dipping them in a tangy, whole-grain mustard. Recipe makes 16 hors d’oeuvres.
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
16 miniature cocktail sausages
2 slices pepper jack cheese,
each cut into 8 pieces
16 jarred pickled jalapeño slices
4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, melted
Whole grain mustard for dipping
Author’s note: if you’re not a pork fan, try making these with a kosher-style frank made with chicken and beef such as Aaron’s Best brand available at Sautter’s Market.
Heat oven to 375 F.
Lay the puff pastry sheet flat and cut into four equal pieces. Then cut each piece into four strips.
Cut a slit across the top of each sausage. Fill
with a piece of cheese, lay a jalapeño slice on top, and place it at the end of one of the puff pastry strips. Roll it up snuggly. Lay it on a sheet pan and repeat to make the rest.
Brush the tops with melted butter. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes.
Allow them to cool slightly then serve with whole-grain mustard.
(Recipe adapted from Ree Drummond, The New Frontier, 2019)
Slow Cooker Valentine’s Day Candy
If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at making candy, this slow cooker method is a great way to get your feet wet. The recipe is so simple, and the results are delicious. The slow cooker does all the work – it is literally a dump it all in and stir food.
I first made slow cooker candy over the holidays in a chocolate version. They were a hit with family and friends, so naturally I began thinking about making another batch for Valentine’s Day.
This go around, I used white chocolate ingredients. The white chocolate version is equally scrumptious, even more so for white chocolate lovers.
1 pound dry roasted peanuts
1 pound vanilla almond bark
6 ounces white chocolate chips
4-ounce bar of white chocolate
Small paper candy cups, size 4
Sprinkles of your choice
To a slow cooker, add all the ingredients (except the sprinkles). Cover and set the temperature to low. Allow the mixture to cook for 30 minutes, then stir it every 10 minutes until the chocolate is completely melted. It should take about 1 hour total.
Once mixture is melted, spoon into candy cups. Decorate with sprinkles immediately and allow chocolate to set.
(Recipe by Jennifer Ruple)
Strawberry Hearts Cakelets
More sweets for your sweeties. This cakelet recipe was adapted from a strawberry cake recipe that was given to me by a co-worker years ago. I’ve since adapted it for cupcakes and now for cakelets. I couldn’t resist after finding this sweet little heart-shaped pan recently at Target. Recipe makes 8 cakelets.
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
3-ounce package strawberry gelatin
½ cup buttermilk
10-ounce package frozen strawberries, thawed
½ tablespoon melted butter for brushing pan
¼ cup butter, softened
1 pound confectioners sugar
1/3 to ½ cup juice drained from strawberries
Heat oven to 350 F. Using a pastry brush, generously coat pan with melted butter and flour it.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs.
Add oil, sugar, gelatin and buttermilk.
Stir vigorously until well blended.
Add the flour mixture and blend.
Drain 1/3 to ½ cup of juice from strawberries and reserve for frosting.
Fold strawberries into batter. Pour batter into wells of the cakelet pan to ¾ full.
Bake 24-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow cakelets to rest in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting, combine butter, confectioners sugar and strawberry juice. Beat until creamy.
(Recipe adapted from cooks.com)
For those of you who are interested in making the Broccoli Egg Casserole I wrote about for the mid-January issue, I inadvertently left out a key ingredient from the recipe… 12 large eggs.