As a lifelong Valentine’s Day junkie (blame it on the allure of colorful paper and candy hearts, and a penchant for showing off my penmanship), I have earned my celebration planning stripes—at least when it comes to cooking and sweets gifting. My “baby” is approaching 15, and with the rise of social sharing, I have been approaching each holiday with bittersweet sentiments and a go-get-’em attitude of “I’ll make that for my grandchildren,” which are nowhere in sight. It’s also a bit frustrating to not have many photos of all the nifty food and crafts—if only to remind my middle child that yes, at one point in my life, I was VERY crafty.
Back in the day, Valentine’s Day was the next best thing to Easter and Christmas, with my kids waking up to a stack of Beanie Babies, homemade cookies “bedazzled” in pink, purple and red adornments, a Chinese food or themed tin full of conversation hearts; pink, red and white m&ms, and the permanently-turning-their-tongues-blue-or-red Ring Pop.
Depending upon the year, and that day’s schedule, a celebratory breakfast was also on the Valentine’s Day activities list. Simple combinations of heart-shaped waffles with strawberry sauce and whipped cream (easily made with large Eggo waffles if short on time), heart-shaped eggs in a nest—traditional of French toast style—and no-fuss scones with dried cherries and on occasion, shredded coconut and shaved bittersweet chocolate. All ridiculously easy and greeted enthusiastically.
Even if you don’t have time for a festive morning repast, you can still have fun celebrating with PJs and breakfast for dinner, which we all know kids go gaga over. So grab a couple of heart-shaped cookie cutters, a rolling pin, some eggs, etcetera, and get cooking. Here’s the rest of what you’ll need:
For the scones (adapted from Country Living Country Mornings cookbook):
*Quantity varies depending upon size of cookie cutter, but you should get at least a dozen with a 4-inch heart.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 6 tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
- 1/3 cup combination of sweet and tart dried cherries (available at Trader Joe’s)
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 large or extra large egg (scones can be a little dry, so I always go with extra large eggs)
- 1 tbsp. milk
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- Heat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. With a pastry blender or two knives (works just fine), cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Mix in the cherries and coconut with a fork.
- Beat together the buttermilk and egg in a small bowl or cup, then add to the flour mixture. Mix lightly with a fork until the mixture clings together and forms a ball of soft dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently, turning 5-6 times.
- With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to a half-inch thickness. Sprinkle flour onto the heart-shaped cookie cutter (I use a 4-inch heart, but a 2-3 inch one works fine) and cut into as many hearts as possible. Reroll the scraps and continue cutting until there is too little dough to work with.
- Place scones one inch apart on parchment or lightly greased baking sheet, and brush with milk, then sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake 10-12 minutes, or until scones are golden brown.
For the Eggs in a Nest:
*I sometimes get away with putting 2 eggs into each “nest,” but I recommend using 1 for a prettier final product.
- 1-2 eggs per kid, depending upon age/size
- 1-2 slices of bread
- heart-shaped cookie cutter *try to get a couple sizes; the one I use for scones is a bit too big for toast unless you’re using a fabulous loaf from your favorite artisan bakery
- butter (room temperature) and nonstick cooking spray
- carefully cut a heart out of each piece of toast; reserve hearts for sugar cinnamon toast
- spray a frying pan with nonstick spray and also butter bread lightly *sometimes melting the butter and painting it on works best since the “frame” is a bit thin
- prepare fried eggs as usual (to your family’s yolk preference), flipping once
- serve with butter-cinnamon sugar toast
Simply prepare the toast as you would using your favorite French toast recipe, and then cut the hearts out after the bread has been cooked. You can undercook a tad since you’ll be adding to the pan and cooking a second time with the egg in it. In case you don’t have a favorite French toast recipe, leave a comment and I’ll send you my staple, plus a delicious orange-forward recipe that I created for a citrus company last spring.