Happy Valentines Day!
Any good foodie knows the saying that stressed spelled backwards is desserts. What this saying doesn’t mention, however, is that sometimes making desserts can be stressful in itself, especially during sugar-filled seasons like Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re baking for your significant other or whipping up sweet treats for your friends, it’s easy to get overwhelmed making Valentine’s Day goodies.
Since desserts are clearly the best part of any holiday, don’t let yourself resort to picking up a bag of candy at the drug store! Making sweet and memorable desserts doesn’t mean you’ll need to confuse yourself with complex recipes. Just keep some simple tricks up your sleeve and take some easy shortcuts to save you time and stress when it comes to baking. Here are a few easy ways to save some stress making Valentine’s Day desserts this year:
- Clean as you go
If you’re doing a lot of baking, it goes without saying that you’re going to have a lot of cleanup, too. Saving it all for the end of the night is only going to increase your stress, so cleaning as you bake is a great timesaver. Instead of simply watching the oven while things bake, wash your cups and bowls so you won’t have to do so later. Washing and reusing cutlery will prevent dozens of dishes from piling up in your sink, saving you time later on.
- Take a pantry inventory
There’s absolutely nothing worse than being ready to start a recipe, only to discover that you’re missing one little ingredient. No one likes having to make a last-minute grocery run, so constantly being aware of what’s in your pantry is crucial. Go through your recipes and make sure you’ve got all of your ingredients before you start baking to avoid stressful surprises.
- Keep prepared dough on hand
Keeping some prepared pie crusts in the freezer or making logs of cookie dough a couple days before you need it can be a huge timesaver—prepping a pie filling or plopping cookie dough balls on a sheet is so much easier than starting from scratch the day you need them. Your desserts will still be homemade and delicious, but you’ll save a ton of time.
- Keep it mini!
If you’re baking treats for multiple people but don’t have time to make dozens of different desserts, consider turning your regular baked goods into miniature versions. Making cupcakes out of mini muffin tins or cutting brownies into bite size pieces not only allows you to save on ingredients and baking time, but mini desserts are cute that your friends and family won’t even realize you took a shortcut!
This fudgy Cocoa Pudding Cake is the perfect example of how desserts don’t have to be complicated or time-consuming, and is the perfect way to show someone you love them. Plus, at only 158 calories per serving, this cake falls into the category of low calorie dessert recipes that won’t make you feel post-dessert guilt. Valentine’s Day desserts don’t get any simpler or yummier than this one, so try it out and watch it get devoured.
- 1 cup Ultragrain® All Purpose Flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup reduced fat (2%) milk
- 2 tablespoons Pure Wesson® Canola Oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 envelopes (0.55 oz each) Swiss Miss® Sensible Sweets™ No Sugar Added Hot Cocoa Mix
- 1-1/4 cups boiling water
- Reddi-wip® Fat Free Dairy Whipped Topping
- Preheat your oven to 350°F.
- Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- Add milk, oil and vanilla; mix until blended and smooth.
- Spoon batter into an ungreased 8×8-inch glass baking dish.
- Place cocoa mix in a medium bowl and add your boiling water; mix well.
- Pour cocoa mixture evenly over your batter. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool cake for 10 minutes.
- Serve warm with Reddi-wip and vanilla ice cream.
Valentine’s Day Tip: Top with strawberries, raspberries or any other red fruit you have on hand to make this dessert look extra festive!
Author Bio: This is a guest post by Meredith Kimelblatt on behalf of Reddi-wip®. Keep some Reddi-wip in the freezer to save some time on your cooking this winter. For more easy holiday and hot chocolate recipes made with real cream whipped topping, visit www.reddiwip.com.