Alright. Listen up. When my time is up on this earth I want my headstone to say, “What’s for dessert?” in the most serious font they got. No filly swirls please, clean print. During my eulogy, a neighbor will tell you about all the treats they ate around my giant kitchen island — I bought the house to fill the island with baked goods — and people will leave candy bars and cookies at my headstone in lieu of flowers.
I don’t care if it’s a Tuesday night or Valentine’s Day, what are we eating after the kids go to bed? I’m serious. Dessert is a big deal in our house. My kids will check out the kitchen sink on occasion to see what mom and dad had late last night, then scour our hiding spots in the kitchen for leftover treats. Typically, this is followed by pleas for a family weekend treat — it doesn’t take much to twist our arms for more sweets.
Dessert is just our thing. Some families are board game people, Disney enthusiasts, or outdoorsy folk. We got the treats, and I am going to share some of our delicious secrets with you just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Disclaimer: there is no shame in baking for yourself and not sharing. In the words of Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle, “Treat yo’ self.”
If you love chocolate, you absolutely need to try these. This dessert has a cakey outside and smooth gooey inside. It’s rich and sweet and excites all the right taste buds. I’m not exaggerating, I don’t do that when it comes to desserts, these super easy cakes blew my mind when I first had one. BLEW. MY. MIND. This dessert is a baking mix, I know, not totally from scratch. I promise they are amazing.
The warehouse version comes with two boxes and enough mix and tins for six lava cakes per box. The best part, you can make them in quantities of two (parents only) and up to six. You need butter and eggs, that’s it! I discovered these at Costco and Sam’s Club. They are specialty items that come and go, but can also be purchased online. I’m not going to tell you how many of these I have in my food storage. It’s
probably definitely not healthy.
Follow these baking instructions exactly, and don’t forget to use baking spray on your tins. From experience, don’t put more than six in the oven at once, they just don’t bake right. Also, from experience, you don’t need to consume more than one lava cake in one sitting. I know you’ll say to yourself after one amazing chocolate experience that you want another one immediately, but Godiva made that tin a certain size for a reason.
These cookies are super easy to make and customize for whatever you are celebrating! I follow the directions exactly, until I don’t. You can change these cookies up by adding chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, you get where I’m going with this. My favorite thing to do though is to melt some dipping chocolate, in whatever color I’m interested in, and add some sprinkles for flair. Be sure to put your dipped cookies down on some wax paper for easy removal. This recipe is from Our Best Bites and if you have never checked them out, you should. They have lots of family friendly recipes.
If you have ever had my sugar cookies get excited. I am doing something scary here and share the recipe. I am sure that someone out there makes this the same way I do, I don’t know how I ever came across this recipe, but here it is. These are good plain and if you want to eat them without frosting go easy on the baking time. Obviously they are good with royal icing or whipped frosting. They are perfect for cutting out into shapes or scoped and dropped onto a cookie sheet.
2 ½ c flour
¾ t baking powder
pinch of salt
1 c butter, at room temperature
1 c sugar
1 ½ t vanilla
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients into butter mixture. Mix to combine, don’t over do it. Roll out dough ¼ – ½ inch in thickness. Toss the rolled dough in the fridge for 10 minutes or in the freezer for 5 minutes so that your shapes won’t stretch when transferring to your cookie sheet.
Cut out your favorite shapes. For traditional cookies, scoop into tablespoon sized balls. If cooking into balls, slightly flatten cookie dough before going into the oven. Cook on parchment paper for 8-12 minutes. Watch edges closely, once they start to turn brown pull the cookies out of the oven. If you plan to use royal icing on cut shapes, cookies will need to bake closer to 12 minutes.
OK, so we really like chocolate. I figured Valentine’s Day is mostly geared toward chocolate so we are just going to roll with it. I feel like most boxed cupcake mixes are a solid and easy way to go, but for those who are up for it, here is my scratch recipe. For the best cupcakes, keep these tips in mine.
These are the two biggest simple adjustments for baking. Sift your dry ingredients, and use room temperature wet ingredients. You can put your eggs in warm water to accomplish this. Using the microwave for the butter can be tricky, you do not want it melted, best to just leave it out on the counter. My recipe also calls for chocolate milk, this is the secret ingredient for my chocolate cupcakes. If you want them to taste amazing, buy Shatto Milk.
1 ¼ c flour
½ t baking soda
¼ t salt
½ c cocoa powder
8 T butter, room temperature
1 ¼ c sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 ¼ t vanilla
1 c chocolate milk, warm
Preheat the oven to 350°F, you will do a temp drop. Line two cupcake pans with cupcake papers. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer or a stand mixer, whip the butter until fluffy. Add sugar and mix well. Add eggs one at a time, mix slowly. Combine milk and vanilla in a glass. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then gradually add one third of the milk mixture to the butter mixture. Continue this until you are out of milk and flour, making sure to scrape down sides between ingredients. When finished, evenly fill cupcake papers 2/3 full with batter. Open the oven door completely. Put cupcakes in and drop temperature to 325°F. Cook in the oven 15-22 minutes, check cupcakes at 15 minutes with a toothpick. Toothpick should come out clean. Let cool before frosting.
In all seriousness though, I absolutely love baking. Sharing treats with friends and family is honestly a favorite pastime of mine. Sharing meals, especially desserts brings people together, and I love that.
Happy Valentine’s Day my friends and you only need one lava cake, trust me.