Family-friendly Valentine’s Day breakfast eats

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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.

Ingredients: 

  • 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

Method: 

  • 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.

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For the Eggs in a Nest:

Traditional:
*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

Method: 

  • 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

French toast-style:

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.
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