Cherry Truffle Squares

1 pkg (18 oz) Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookies
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon milk
2 cups powdered sugar
1 jar (10 oz) maraschino cherries, drained and chopped (about 30 cherries)

1 cup white vanilla chips
2 tablespoons shortening
Chocolate shavings or curls if desired for garnish

Heat oven to 350. Cut cookie dough in half crosswise. Cut each section in half lengthwise. With floured fingers, press dough in bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch pan to form base. Bake 12-16 minutes until light golden brown. Remove from oven, cool completely.

In medium microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and butter. Cook on high 1-2 minutes until melted and smooth, stirring every 30-seconds. Add cocoa, corn syrup and milk; blend well. Add powdered sugar; mix until smooth.

Press over cooled crust. Top with cherries; gently press into filling.
In small microwave-safe bowl; combine vanilla chips and shortening. Cook on high 1-2 minutes until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds. Spoon and spread over filling. Refrigerate 20-minutes until set. Cut into squares or diamond-shaped pieces. Garnish with chocolate shavings. Makes 48 bars.

Per serving: 1 bar =110 calories, 1 gram protein, 5 grams fat, 16 grams carbohydrates, 55 milligrams sodium, 5 milligrams cholesterol

Chocolate Dipped Cherries

2 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 jars (8 oz. each) Maraschino cherries (16 oz) total, with stems, drained
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening

Mix together sugar, butter, milk and extract. Knead into a large ball. Roll into 1-inch balls and flatten each into a 2-inch circle. Wrap each circle around a cherry and lightly roll in hands. Place balls, stem up, on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Cover loosely and refrigerate overnight.
Melt chocolate chips and shortening in a double boiler. Holding onto each stem dip cherries into chocolate, return to wax paper to harden. Refrigerate in an airtight container 1-2 weeks before serving, to allow a juicy center to develop. Makes 3 dozen.

Sweetheart Strawberry Salad

1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 packages (3 oz each) strawberry Jell-O
1 package (16 oz) frozen strawberries
1 cup crushed pineapple, undrained
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 package (1 oz) cream cheese, softened

Pour water over Jell-O, stir until dissolved. Add strawberries and mix gently. Add pineapple and pecans. Chill until slightly thickened. Pour 1/3 of the mixture into a heart-shaped mold. Chill until firm. Fold cream cheese into the remaining mixture. Pour over the firmed mixture. Chill until set. Unmold when ready to serve. Yields 10-12 servings.

Triple Chocolate Kisses
Texas Living

2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, grated
42 milk chocolate kisses
Baking Cocoa

In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar. Beat until soft peaks form, about 6 minutes. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Beat in extract. Fold in grated chocolate. Insert a medium open-star tip on a pastry bag or use a zipper plastic baggie by cutting off a corner. Fill bag with the egg white meringue.

On lightly greased baking sheets, pipe 42 one-inch solid circles. Lightly press a chocolate kiss into the center of each. Pipe meringue around each kiss in continuous circles from base to top until the kiss is completely covered. Dust with cocoa.

Bake at 325 for 15-18 minutes until edges are lightly brown. Immediately remove to wire racks to cool. Yield 3 1/2 dozen.

Valentine Candy Heart
Recipe by: Southern Living Five-Star Recipe Collection

1 3/4 c Pecans; toasted; divided
16 oz semisweet chocolate
1/4 c Butter or margarine
12 oz White chocolate; chopped
3/4 c Flaked coconut

Grease an 8-inch heart-shaped cake pan; line bottom with wax paper. Grease wax paper. Sprinkle 1-cup pecans evenly in pan. Combine semisweet chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler; bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook until chocolate and butter melt, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Place white chocolate in top of a double boiler; bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook until white chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Drizzle 1/2- cup semisweet chocolate mixture over pecans. Drizzle 1/2 cup white chocolate over semisweet chocolate. Chill mixture in pan 15 minutes or until firm.
Set aside 1/2- cup semisweet chocolate mixture.
Combine remaining semisweet chocolate mixture, remaining 3/4 -cup pecans, and coconut; stir well.
Spread coconut mixture evenly in pan over chilled chocolate. Chill 15 minutes or until firm.
Reheat reserved 1/2- cup semisweet chocolate mixture in top of double boiler, if necessary.
Repeat procedure for remaining white chocolate, if necessary.
Spoon reserved semisweet chocolate and reserved white chocolate by tablespoonfuls over coconut mixture, making sure chocolates do not overlap.
Cut through melted chocolates with a knife to create a marbled effect. Cover and chill candy heart several hours or until firm.
Carefully invert heart; peel off wax paper. Invert again onto a serving plate, or if desired, wrap in decorative cellophane. Serve at room temperature; cut candy with a sharp knife. Yield 2 pounds.

Cookie Pops

Vanilla wafer cookies
Prepared frosting or Peanut butter *see note
Chocolate chips
Ice cream sticks
And any topping you like, including gummy candies, candy sprinkles, cake decorator gel, cake decorator frosting, etc. and wax paper or paper plates.

Spread the frosting on the flat side of 1/2 the cookies in a thin layer. Place an ice cream stick into the frosting side of the cookie. Top with another cookie so that the stick is sandwiched between the two cookies. Cover cookies with frosting and decorate with gel, sprinkles or candy in valentine colors. Or melt a bag of chocolate chips in microwave for 1-minute, then in 20-second increments stirring until smooth. Dip cookie pops in the melted chips, covering completely. Roll pops in sprinkles and lay on wax paper or paper plates. Place in refrigerator to chill.

*NOTE: As a healthier alternative, use peanut butter instead of frosting to stick cookies together.

Valentine Cutouts

2 packages cherry or raspberry gelatin
2 1/2 cups boiling water
1 cup cold milk
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix

In a bowl, dissolve gelatin in water; set aside for 30 min. 

In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix until smooth, about 1 minute. Quickly pour into gelatin; whisk until well blended.

Pour into an oiled 13 x 9 x 2" dish. Chill until set. Cut into cubes or use a heart-shaped cookie cutter.

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