It’s February! Hearts and flowers and loving thoughts fill the air! My daughter Brittany and I decided to celebrate by making an appetizer and dessert dinner to be shared by two. Brittany is an entrepreneur, dance teacher, chef, and a caring and fun daughter!
She and I cooked and decorated together to bring you this Valentine’s Day party. Prosecco with raspberries, Stuffed Mushrooms, Brie and Raspberry Puffs, Chocolate Dipped Strawberries and our Famous Sugar Cookies with Vanilla Icing. It was a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.
Brittany recently started an event planning company, Soiree Phx, specializing in kid’s parties! Visit her blog here. She and I always have fun cooking together, starting when she was about 2 years old. Britt would toddle into the kitchen to see what was going on. I would lift her up to sit on the counter to watch and add ingredients. As she grew, she did more and more in the cooking process. Now, she is a fabulous cook and baker.
These are our easy sugar cookies. We have been baking them at Christmas for 32 years. The recipe is from my friend in Portland, Mary Lou, who had a children’s holiday party where the kids made cookies. Brittany was about a year and a half old. The recipe is quick to make, requires no refrigeration before rolling, and keeps the cut-out shape while baking. The frosting is a simple buttercream and colors beautifully with gel colors. We use plastic piping bags with a small round writing tip for piping the frosting. Sprinkles in all shapes and colors are available at any grocery store or craft store.
Chocolate dipped strawberries are the prettiest and quickest dessert ever. I use chocolate chips, white and semi-sweet, melted with a little coconut oil. Dip the dry strawberries in the chocolate and place them on a waxed paper covered baking sheet. Add sprinkles if you like. Refrigerate. Everyone likes them!
12 white mushrooms, stems removed and set aside
1 link chicken apple sausage, cooked and chopped
2 slices gluten free bread, toasted, minced into breadcrumbs
1 large handful baby spinach leaves, chopped
½ cup shredded cheese, almond cheese if you are dairy free
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp chili powder
¼ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp sea salt, I like the pink kind
Pepper to taste
1 beaten egg
½ fresh red pepper
Preheat oven to 375. Arrange mushroom caps upside=down on a parchment covered baking sheet. Brush with olive oil. Finely chop mushrooms stems and combine with sausage, bread crumbs, spinach, ¼ c of the cheese, all the spices, salt and pepper. Taste to see if you need more salt! Add the egg and mix well. Fill each mushroom cap with 2 – 3 tsp of the filling, mounding it and lightly pressing it together into the mushroom. Top with a bit of the remaining shredded cheese. Bake for 15 minutes. Core and seed the red pepper. Lay it out flat on a cutting board. Cut into tiny hearts using a metal heart shaped cookie cutter. Cut from the rough side. Place hearts on top of the mushrooms and bake for 5 minutes.
Brie and Raspberry Puffs
Frozen Puff Pastry Sheets – thawed for 40 minutes
Brie Cheese – cut into 1” squares, ¼” thick, rind removed
Seedless Raspberry Jam
½ c Chopped Pecans
1 Egg, beaten with 1tsp milk
Preheat oven to 400. Use a 3” heart shaped cookie cutter and cut 24 hearts out of the thawed puff pastry. Use a 1 ½” heart shaped (or flower shaped) cutter and cut the center out of 12 of the already cut hearts. Brush each heart with the egg mixture and top the plain hearts with the heart with the cut out. Bake on a parchment lined sheet for 10 minutes. Pull out of the oven and fill the depression with one square of brie, ½ tsp raspberry jam, and ½ tsp chopped pecans. Put them back in the oven for 2 minutes or until golden brown.
Sugar Cookies with Vanilla Buttercream
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter softened (I use salted)
2 tbl evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Add butter and “chop” into flour mixture using a pastry cutter or fork. You can also make the dough in a stand mixer! Mix egg and evaporated milk in a separate bowl and mix into flour/butter mix. The dough is ready to roll and cut! Roll onto a floured surface about 1/4 inch thick and cut cookies using a heart shaped cutter. Transfer to a parchment covered cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden brown. Let cool 2-3 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.
Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
2 sticks salted butter, left at room temperature for 1-2 hours
6 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 tbl heavy cream
Beat butter with hand mixer or stand mixer 2-3 minutes or until fluffy. SLOWLY add powdered sugar on low speed. When mixture gets too thick to mix, add vanilla, salt and 2 tbl cream. Beat frosting for another 2-3 minutes or until fluffy. If the mixture is too thick, more cream can be added. Separate frosting into small bowls (one for each color you want to make). Add drops of gel food coloring until desired color is reached. Spoon frosting into prepared pastry bag and decorate!