Happy Valentine’s day to all! Actually I am tired even before starting to write this post thinking of how long a post this one would be with 3 recipes in one! Harder than actually making these I guess! 🙂 Ok so tomorrow is Valentine’s day and as I said in my previous post, I have been baking all kinds of lovey dovey things. My kids love red velvet cake (who doesn’t, right?) So I really wanted to bake a red velvet cake. As I was looking at various recipes for red velvet cake, one thing that shocked me was the amount of red coloring that was needed – some recipes called for 2 tbsp of red color! So I started looking for natural coloring alternatives and then saw a couple folks had used beets for coloring. But those recipes were vegan and I wanted to do a regular cake and hence I just followed my basic sponge cake recipe adding beet puree for the color. Additionally I also made a glaze out of beet juice and sugar to top the cupcakes. The color of the final cupcakes ended up being beet red and not the typical red of red velvet cakes. But hey, these taste awesome too(my kids loved it!) and they are natural and healthy too. Can’t ‘beet’ that, right? 🙂
Next on the list was Red Velvet cookies with chocolate chips that I had seen on Sallysbakingaddiction.com. Again I wanted to avoid the huge amount of red coloring and so I relied on my friend ‘beet’ to impart a natural coloring. I had read that baking soda should be avoided and instead baking powder used to retain the brightness of the beet color and hence I modified the recipe slightly.
And finally, how can a Valentine’s party be complete without chocolate covered strawberries? This time I also additionally covered the ‘chocolate covered strawberries’ with crushed nuts since hubby dear is nuts over nuts! 🙂
Btw, all these are going to the Valentine’s day party tonight hosted by my dear friend Z (the snow cannot and will not deter us from having a party! ) and I am also bringing these to Fiesta Friday #3 hosted by Angie of ‘The Novice Gardener’.
Beet Red Velvet Cupcakes
This recipe will make about 18 cupcakes Preparation time: 30 minutes; Baking time: About 15 minutes for each batch Ingredients: 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour 1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder 1 1/4 tsp baking powder 1/4 tsp salt 9 tbsp unsalted butter, softened to room temperature 3/4 cup sugar 3 eggs 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp beet puree(got from grinding cooked beets - see note below) 1 tbsp thick plain yoghurt (or sour cream) 1 tsp vanilla essence For the glaze: 2 tbsp beet puree 1 tbsp water 3 tbsp sugar For the frosting: Cream cheese softened, 1 cup or 8 oz pack 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar 1 tsp beet puree
Preheat oven to 350 deg F.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a large tray or on wax paper and set aside.
Take a large mixing bowl and add the butter and the sugar and mix until creamy. then add the eggs one at a time and continue to beat to from creamy mixture.
Now add the dry ingredient mixture slowly (in batches) into the butter mixture. Also add the beet puree and the yoghurt or sour cream and also the vanilla essence. The final mixture should be very thick.
Pour into muffin pans lined with baking cups. Bake at 350 f for about 14-16 minutes or until a stick /knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Let the cupcakes cool and meanwhile make the glaze by mixing all the ingredients in a small cooking pot and heating on medium heat until a syrupy consistency is obtained. Once the cakes are cool, apply the glaze on tops of the cup cakes.
For frosting, mix all the frosting ingredients and beat using hand blender until creamy. Decorate the cakes with the frosting as desired.
For making beet puree, I cooked half a beet in about 1/4 cup water and then blended the whole thing in a food processor to get puree.
This recipe will make about 18 large or 24 medium size cookies Ingredients: 1 and 1/2 cups plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour 1/4 cup cocoa powder 1 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter, softened to room temperature. 3/4 cup light brown sugar 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1 egg 1 tbsp milk 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp beet puree pinch of red food color (dry) 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Take all the dry ingredients and pass them through a sieve to mix thoroughly and to remove any lumps.
Take a large mixing bowl and cream the butter and the sugars(both) and then add the egg and beat again for a couple minutes. Next add the milk, vanilla, beet puree and the red color and mix well again till well blended and smooth.
Next add 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips and mix using a spoon.
Mixture will be quite thick – Take this mixture out on plastic wrap and cover and keep in the refrigerator to chill for about 1 hour.
After an hour, take the chilled dough and form small rounds (or heart shapes) and bake at 350 F for about 10-11 minutes.
As soon as you get the cookies out, press the remaining chocolate chips on the top of the cookies and flatten them out a little bit. Let cool completely.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes; refrigeration time: 1 hour 16-18 strawberries, washed and dried completely 1 large bar of Hershey's Milk chocolate 1 large bar of Nestle's Crunch 1/2 cup crushed/coarsely chopped nuts (I used almonds and walnuts)
Take a medium microwave safe bowl and add the chocolate bars in it and microwave for about 2-3 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir and mix until the chocolate is melted and smooth (Alternatively you can use the double boiler method to melt the chocolate)
Keep a tray lined with wax paper ready. Place the crushed nuts on a plate. Take the strawberries one at a time and roll them in the melted chocolate. Immediately place on the crushed nuts and roll slightly to cover.
Place the strawberries on the wax lined tray. Once all the strawberries are coated, place the tray in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.