I’m getting hokey like the hokey-pokey this lovely v-day.
It’s probably my favorite holiday, even more than Christmas and Thanksgiving. Afterall, with all of that pink and love, I can’t help but ooze emotion. It’s a rare thing, a rare one-post-a-year thing, so embrace it.
I spent last weekend making treats, just because. I’m pretty disciplined when it comes to avoiding the cookie aisle, because when there’s as much as a spare sleeve of Chips Ahoy within reach, I’m the one who devours all of it in a glass of milk Kenny Zimlinghaus-style while watching The Biggest Loser. Download “Fat Kid” from his site while you’re over there, we love it. This really isn’t a plug, I digress. Valentine’s Day is a special day, a day (or week, or love-filled month) when I bring it on strong with the desserts, enjoy every last cookie, and gain 5 pounds happily knowing that when they’re gone, they’re gone.
The simple rewards of this year’s baking labor?
Pink Rice Krispie treats (like last year):
Heart-shaped cupcakes (baked with a ball of tin foil between the paper wrapper and tray):
And for those cupcakes, almost DIY sprinkles (#fail):
The only real investment made for this food celebration was a new 12-pack of food coloring gel at Michael’s (Wilton brand, photographed below). Everything else happened to have been in the pantry, and that worked out nicely. With a 40% off coupon, the total cost of the dye was knocked back to $8 and some change, which equates to about 67-cents/jar, a.k.a. next to nothing when compared to the $4 1-oz. bottles I usually happen upon in the baking aisle. Considering that price, I was willing to test out a new brand even though Pete’s Williams-Sonoma gel dye that we’ve raved, and raved, and raved about still holds a special place in our lives.
The sprinkles, which I tried really, really hard to make myself following this Brave Tart recipe (minus the liqueur), were an easy concept that I should have mastered on the first try. I think where I failed was using a sandwich baggie with a hole poked in it instead of a more professional <$5 piping set (clearly, I’m that cheap). As you’ll see, my sprinkle lines were pretty chunky-hunky and therefore are taking a long, long to dry (going on 72 hours, if you really want to know).
Quick DIY Sprinkles Recap:
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup of corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (I used imitation vanilla)
- Food coloring to your preference (from the above photo, I chose pink, red, and burgundy, those three jars on the bottom row)
Mix it up, it’s so ridiculously thick and sticky that you’re going to immediately want to give up on the whole thing. Scoop what you can into your piping set (ditch the baggie, learn from my error). Squiggle it along the waxed paper and maximize that sheet like it’s the end of your roll (also, as if I wasn’t already setting myself up for DIY sprinkle failure, that was the end of my roll).
And then it sits. For many nights. And if your lines ended up super thick, maybe they sit baking on the radiator in the guest room, not that that really sped up the process in my case. The original author stresses the need to let it sit for 48 hours, but she was also using a consistent piping tip that yielded smaller globs than I ended up with.
Allegedly, when it totally dries you’ll be able to chop it up with a knife and use immediately or store those sprinkles for the rest of your life. I trust that I’ll get there with another day or two of air drying, and I’ll follow up with a facebook photo or something whenever I reach that point of success.
In any case, red velvet heart-shaped cupcakes are still little bites of love-yumminess.
Happy lovefest day!
P.S. Speaking of lovefests, after all of the positive feedback on my house tour, Apartment Therapy showcased my bedroom yesterday! Fun surprise. You can read the whole thing here for yourself.