Valentine’s Day Hearts
Have you heard the latest? The “experts” are now telling us that roses and chocolates just don’t rank as great Valentine’s Day gifts. Worse, they actually give the opposite impression than the one you probably want to express. Fine. I’ll accept that draining one’s wallet for flowers that won’t last till the end of the week may not be the best way to convey that message of undying love. But, I love chocolate. I bet you do, too. So, that can’t be all bad, can it? What options does one have when shopping for that special someone? Relationship experts claim that the perfect Valentine’s Day gift is one that shows how well you truly know your better half. Think about what his hobbies are. Consider her favourite things to do. Armed with such personalized information, you’re ready to choose a gift that he or she will absolutely love. Maybe diamonds, spa dates and motorcycles seem a bit over-the-top to you, not to mention pricey. Don’t worry. There are two more possibilities that will make a fabulous impression, and leave you feeling financially healthier.
The first is wine. Does it sound impersonal? It’s not. At least, it’s not if you add a dash or two of imagination. Make it romantic. Pick up a bottle of sparkling wine to share beside the fire or across a plate of smoked salmon. The second is homemade cookies. Admit it: there is nothing like the enticingly sweet aroma of freshly baked cookies. Make the recipe below for your Valentine. Both of you will love it.
• 13th Street Cuvée Rosé 2007, Ontario ($24.95)
• Sumac Ridge Steller’s Jay Brut Sparkling Wine 2006, British Columbia ($24.95)
• Segura Viudas Brut Reserva Heredad Cava, Spain ($29.95)
• Champagne Victoire Brut Prestige ($39.95), France
Caramel Nut Hearts
2-1/2 cups combined unsalted whole almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts and pecans
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp vanilla
1. Place nuts in an ungreased frying pan set over medium heat. Roast nuts, careful not to burn them, for about 15 minutes.
2. Line the bottom of 4 small to medium-sized heart shaped cookie tins with foil. Coat foil with butter.
3. In a small pot, melt butter over low heat. Add sugar and syrup. Stir constantly and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat. Stir in flour and vanilla. Add nuts and stir well. Pour mixture evenly into each lined tin.
4. Bake cookies in a 325°F oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove tins from the oven and place them on a rack. Let the cookies cool in their tins until firm and slightly warm, about 30 minutes. Place a plate over the top of the cookie. Flip the cookie onto the plate. Remove foil. Continue will all the rest. Place cookies back on the rack, and let cool completely.