A Valentine’s Day Treat: Mini S’Mores

Obviously Valentine’s Day is long over, but for some reason life has gotten in the way of updating this post! So ignore the below ramblings…

I have always disliked Valentine’s Day. Even when I was in relationships, I thought it was a silly day and never felt like celebrating it. So when I mentioned to one of my friends that I was making dinner for Valentine’s Day, she wanted to know what I had done with her best friend. Well, I decided that instead of thinking it was a stupid day, I would change my attitude and celebrate my love for everyone in my life and make a big dinner!  I even went as far as buying Valentine’s themed plates, napkins and a Valentine’s day present for everyone that night! 

Apparently I got hit by the love bug and, I have to admit, it was so much more fun celebrating Valentine’s Day than it was despising it every year.

My sister helped out with dinner and we made stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer, spinach salad, steak, potatoes, roasted asparagus and then Mini S’Mores for dessert! I found the S’mores on Pinterest (my new obsession) and couldn’t wait to make them!

The S’Mores were so simple to make and only took about 30 minutes total (15 of which you are just letting the graham crackers set)! They were so good that my sister, who rarely eats sweets, kept going back for more, and my brother has asked me to make them almost every night since.

Our Valentine's Day Celebration

Stuffed Mushrooms from Skinny Taste

Seasoned Vegetables

Everything was so good and perfectly timed, but the S’Mores were the real hit of the party! They were so simple to make and even more delicious.

Mini S’Mores

Preheat Oven to 350º

Ingredients:

Mini Cupcake Pan

7 Whole Graham Crackers

1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

6 tbsp Butter, Melted

4 Milk Chocolate Hershey Bars, divided (or chocolate chips worked perfectly for me!)

12 Large Marshmallows (halved)

**My brother Jack loves Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough/Cookies, so the next time I made them I added some cookie dough!

Place Graham Crackers into a large ziplock bag and finely crush (I used a meat tenderizer). In a small bowl, combine Graham Cracker Crumbs, Powdered Sugar and Melted Butter and mix together. Spoon one tablespoon of the mixture into each cup of the mini cupcake pan. Press crumbs with your fingers to help stick together and make shallow cups.

Bake 4-5 minutes or until edges are bubbling.

Once the crust is finished, add the chocolate chips or one chocolate rectangle and a Marshmallow half on top of the chocolate and bake for another 1-2 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes.

Once they have cooled, carefully remove  cups from the pan and continue to let cool on a plate. While they are cooling, melt the remaining chocolate and dip the Marshmallow tops (I skipped this step). Let set for another 45 minutes to an hour. And then Enjoy!

If you want, you can add some decorations to spruce up the S’Mores if you are bringing them to a party or entertaining guests. I found these cute little “Be Mine” stickers to go along with the plates and napkins at Hobby Lobby.

It’s becoming apparent that I am busier than usual in Indianapolis than I was in Chicago, but I guess that is what happens when you have a Big Fat Italian Family to keep you busy. And that is exactly why I moved home, so no complaints here! For all of my readers, please keep my Great Aunt Nancy in your prayers. She fell and broke her Femur and will be in a Nursing Home/Rehab Facility for a while until she heals. She needs all the prayers she can get to help her rehab and get home!

Until next time…

Lucia

Baking Binge

So, unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to cook on Sunday.  It started off as a really pretty day and I had every intention of baking a lasagna, but I went to brunch with my friends and ended up sitting in a cute French restaurant, drinking Mimosas, and watching it pouring rain outside.  It turned out to be a wonderful Sunday, but the time to cook got away from me.

I must have really needed a good “cook” because last night I came home from work and decided to bake something.  Well, I decided to make shortbread, but when I put that in the oven, I still wasn’t satisfied, so I decided to make Peanut Butter cookies too! I was a little nervous about the Shortbread cookies because I had never made them and had no idea what they were supposed to look or feel like.  It seemed way too simple…and I assumed I did it wrong.  Basically, you mix the butter, salt, sugar and flour in a bowl until it forms a dough.  But the dough doesn’t really feel like dough because it isn’t sticky and it kind of falls apart. It’s very crumbly.  Then you just spread it in a pan, poke it with a fork a few times, and put it in the oven for about 45 minutes at 300°.

The Shortbread right out of the oven with sugar sprinkled on it!

The Shortbread cookies turned out really good!  As soon as they come out of the oven,  sprinkle them with sugar and let sit for about 5 minutes.  Then, slice into pieces (I did triangles, but you can do whatever you want) and serve!  Nikki’s mom, who is a professional baker, apparently cut them into hearts for Valentines Day and spread different preserves on them! I am beyond happy to report that they were a success and everyone got to enjoy some.  Nikki added some Blackberry preserve to hers and it was the perfect combination!

The Finished Product!

Shortbread with Blackberry Preserve!

While the Shortbread cookies were baking, I started on the Peanut Butter cookies.  I didn’t have all of the necessary ingredients (oats & crunchy peanut butter), but I decided I could create my own version of the recipe and use regular peanut butter and chocolate chips instead of oats.  I think that is more fun anyway!  I also did not have a sifter for my flour, sugar, and salt. I knew from baking with my mom that sifting really does make a difference when baking and you shouldn’t just dump the ingredients into your mixture.  I got creative in the kitchen and put the ingredients into a pasta strainer and shook it over a mixing bowl, then added the ingredients to my batter.  It worked perfectly!

Perfect Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I baked the cookies for about 15-20 minutes at 350° and let them cool for about 10 minutes before serving.  They were yummy.  I love peanut butter.  I love chocolate.  And I loved these cookies.  It is probably not a good thing that I now know how to bake my favorite combination of sweets!  I am glad I was feeling restless last night and decided to be productive.  It’s always a good feeling when you come home from work and get so much accomplished!  I even went and looked at a few apartments after work because I am moving in August!

This weekend I am heading back to Indianapolis (yes, I do go home every other weekend and it will continue this way until after my sister’s wedding apparently), to go to the annual Holy Rosary Italian Street Festival.  The festival started the year I was born, and I have been in attendance ever since.  Both sides of my family run the dessert booths and have so much fun spending the weekend together.  Over the years I have had to train myself to not try all the desserts…but when you love sweets and Italian food…this place is not safe for your waist line!  Keep your fingers crossed it doesn’t get rained out and if you are in the area check it out!