It’s just a couple of days now, until National Chocolate Day, uh, I mean Valentine’s Day… honest mistake.
There’s still time if you need to make a treat to share. Today I wanted to feature a product I found at my local discount grocery/underwear store, (aka, Wal-Mart), Brach’s Create Your Own Conversation Hearts. Up until now, if you wanted personalized hearts you had to buy a complete run of 1.7 million candies. I think this is a better deal… AND, they can say anything you want – you personalize them with the food-grade, red marker included. Use standard block letters in all caps and folks will think you bought them that way.
I have fond memories, as many of you probably do too, of covering shoe boxes or oatmeal canisters with construction paper, ribbons and paper doilies to make lovely “mailboxes” for receiving those dozens of special Valentine greetings so thoughtfully chosen. One can never be too careful about sending just the right message. Cursed was the mother that picked up a box of Valentine cards with sentiments that were too icky and mushy!
Being homeschoolers, this is one of those scholastic traditions my kids miss out on… like cafeteria food, bullying and wearing clothes to school instead of pajamas. To make up for it, I make cupcakes for them to share with their class. The recipe I found online (and tweaked ever-so-slightly) would make enough for the standard classroom… I got 24 regular sized cupcakes and 36 mini ones. That’s 12 mini and 8 regular cupcakes per student in this school. I haven’t had to make lunch for 3 days.
The “art” on my silver tray chalkboard is a complete and total (bad) copy of the chalkboard art of Rhonna Farrer that I saw on Facebook.
If you’re making just the regular sized cupcakes you should easily get 36-40 cupcakes. These are more dense than just a box mix and taste more “homemade”.
- 1 box Duncan Hines French Vanilla cake mix
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups water
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 can Duncan Hines Comstock cherry pie filling
Mix all of the dry ingredients then add the wet ingredients. Using an electric mixer for about 30 seconds to incorporate and then for a full two minutes.
I use a gallon sized Ziploc bag with the corner clipped off to fill my cupcake papers. Squeeze in enough batter to cover the bottom of each cupcake liner then carefully set the bag aside (or have an assistant hold it for you…) Spoon one or two cherries from your cherry pie filling into the center of each cupcake. (You will have pie filling leftover.) Continue filling each cup with batter to about 3/4 full, covering the cherries, and then bake at 350° F for about 20 minutes. Cool completely.
Two-toned pink and white Wedding Cake Frosting tops these beauties – it’s a favorite around here..I especially like it because there’s not shortening in it – just basically butter, whipping cream and sugar. I used a 1M tip to make the big swirls on top. You can find my frosting recipe and piping tips here.
I loved being able to personalize my conversation hearts, the possibilities are endless here. The only other tip I would give is not to place the hearts on top of your cupcakes too early…they will absorb the moisture from your frosting and the ink will tend to “swell” or bleed just slightly.after a day or two.
I was not compensated in any way for this product review – just found something I liked and shared my personal opinion.
Are you planning any special treats for your students on Valentine’s Day?