Valentine Party

Valentine's Day is a wonderful time to be crafty.  Our valentine treat party gave us a chance to make some pretty and tasty things and do it on the cheap.  With just a little ingenuity, you can pull off an otherwise boring assortment.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I live by the motto, "It's all in the presentation."

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I admit that I probably save more stuff than I should.  But by saving a large quantity of certain things, you give yourself options that you would not have had.  The drinks at our party were reused Orangina bottles.  While perfect for a drink and straw, I have also used these bottles for vases when I needed a large quantity of a repeated theme.  The shape and texture makes them interesting and the lines are very simple.

savour... cheap kid chic

Get the rest after the jump...

Valentine Party

Orangina is delicious so I have no problem using the product, but the bottles are so useful that I typically keep no less than 20 empties on hand.  The labels will peel from the bottles very easily if soaked in hot soapy water for about 20 minutes.  The ink stamp can be removed with a cotton ball or paper towel soaked in alcohol.  A little elbow grease will be required as well.

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No Valentine Party would be complete without valentine candy.  We made sure our guests had a chance to sample from several varieties with candy cups.  We made them from large souffle cups and covered them in cupcake wrappers cut from scrap-booking paper.  We cut our wrappers with straight cut scissors on all of the edges except for the top.  Those were cut with scalloped scissors or pinking shears.  The papers were inexpensive and we got 5 wrappers out of each sheet.

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Using the same cupcake wrapper template we made wrappers for our cupcakes.  The cupcakes were our basic chocolate cupcake.  To make them a bit lighter we mixed the egg yolks in with the batter and at the last moment whipped the whites and gently folded them in.  However, what made our cupcakes really special was the frosting.  To get the pink color and the flavor of a chocolate covered cherry we made Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting.  Here's how:

Cherry Cream Cheese Frosting

The ingredients:

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries
  • 1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar / 460g
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons syrup from maraschino cherries

The method:

  1. Put cream cheese and butter in the bowl and beat on medium until creamy (about 1 minute).
  2. Add cherries and beat again (about 30 seconds).
  3. With mixer on low, slowly add sugar.  Scrape down the sides as necessary.
  4. Add cherry syrup and return mixer to medium speed.  Beat until fluffy (about 1 minute).
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The chocolate heart cakes are far less trouble than they appear.  The cakes were made with the same basic recipe, but we poured them into our mini heart cake pan which we first coated lightly with oil and dusted with flour.  The pans are available at major retailers for about $10.

We made them big enough so that they would rise above the top of the pan.  After completely cooling them, we put them in the freezer for about an hour.  Then we removed them from the freezer and cut off the tops and sliced them in half.  Note: Use a serrated knife here and a sawing action to cut delicately.  The next step was to spread a thin layer of cherry frosting between the two layers and return to the freezer for at least 30 minutes.  The last thing we did was cover them in chocolate ganache.

Chocolate Ganache

The ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

The method:

  1. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it reaches boiling.
  2. Pour the chocolate chips into the hot cream and swirl around gently until all chips are covered in cream.  Set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the vanilla and whisk together until smooth and creamy.
  4. While the ganache is still warm place the cake on a wire rack over a baking sheet.  Pour with a ladle over the cake making sure to cover it completely.  Use the bottom of the spoon to smooth out the top of the cake if necessary.
  5. Scrape the excess chocolate from the baking sheet into the pan to reuse as necessary.
  6. Place chocolate covered cakes in the refrigerator to cool completely.  
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The crisp rice treats were adorned with arrows.  You will find the complete recipe, instructions, and template here

Our decorations were simple.  The treats told the story, but we stacked them on simple glass cake plates which we assembled in tiers.  We topped the tiers with a floral ball made from a styrofoam form and some paper flowers.  Bringing the colors together by repeated themes really is the key to success.  The red of the platter for the arrow treats is repeated in the red straws in the drinks etc.

The cupcakes were topped off with flocked hearts which were purchased from a dollar store.  They were meant for floral design, but we cut the skewers short and inserted them here instead.

The candies were presented in clear glass containers to let their colors be the colors.  Carrying the clear container a step further we found these cute little 'paint cans' to hold a cupcake for take-aways.