Special Valentine Snacks

By: NARESH ADHIKARI 1


With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, considering making some simple Valentine’s snacks that the kids can bring to school? Whether you are making them for your own child’s lunch or as a special treat for the class, following are some snacks that are simple to transport and simple for the kids to consume once they dig in!

Marshmallow-Popcorn Hearts are a simple twist on popcorn balls. With this recipe, you can skip the Karo syrup and simply melt some marshmallows instead! This quick and simple recipe is similar to Rice Krispie bars, only with popcorn instead!

Here’s what you need to get started:

• 10 cups popped popcorn

• 3 tablespoons margarine or butter

• 1 10-ounce package regular marshmallows

• Red food coloring

• Red colored sugar

Directions

• Put the popped corn (minus the unpopped kernels) into a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan and keep it warm in your 300 degree oven.

• Melt the butter/margarine and marshmallows in a large kettle or in the microwave. (Microwave: 1 ½ to 2 minutes, stirring once) Stir the mixture until it is smooth, no lumps, and then add the red food coloring.

• Stir in the popped popcorn- about half at a time.

• Wait 10 minutes or so until it is cool enough to handle.

• Grease individual heart shaped pans with butter.

• Press the popcorn mixture into the greased pans.

• Cool the popcorn hearts. Remove from pans. Sprinkle each with red colored sugar.

• Wrap each individually in plastic wrap- pink or red finishes it off nicely.

• Makes 9 hearts.

This one is a little messy, but for an extra-special treat, exceptions can made to almost any rule. Take along a pre-packaged wet napkin in a zippered plastic bag to aid in simple clean-up.

Candy Apple or Caramel Apple Valentines-

1 bag of caramels

1 pack of craft sticks (like popsicle sticks)

1 bag of apples or your choice

wax paper

cake decorating tool

Flavored icing

Melt the caramels or hard candy according to the package directions. Insert a craft stick into one end of each apple. Dip the apple into the melted caramel, covering it entirely. Lift the apple and let it drip for a few seconds and then set it on the wax paper until entirely set- about two hours) Use a cake decorating tool (or a plastic bag with a hole in the corner and a decorating tip) to write a sweet message on each apple. Wrap in plastic wrap and secure the wrap at the top of the apple with a rubber band, leaving the stick exposed as a handle.

Finally, you can whip up these peppermint stars from a quick meringue batter. They make a sweet little treat that carries well in a lunch.

Peppermint Stars

Makes: 45 cookies

Prep: 30 minutes

Bake: 15 minutes

Ingredients

• 2 egg whites

• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

• 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

• 1/2 cup sugar

• 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

• Red food coloring (optional)

Directions

1. Place egg whites in a medium mixing bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Line two large cookie sheets with brown paper or foil; set aside.

3. Add vanilla and cream of tartar to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until stiff, glossy peaks form (tips stand straight) and sugar dissolves. Quickly beat in peppermint extract. Tint pink with several drops of red food coloring, if desired.

4. Using a pastry tube with a large star decorating tip, pipe cookies onto prepared cookie sheets (form cookies about 1-1/2 inches in diameter). Bake in a 300 degree F oven for 15 minutes. Turn off oven and let cookies dry in oven with door closed about 30 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets. Cover and store in a dry place. Makes 45 cookies.

Your children will be excited when you take the time to prepare these special Valentine’s Day snacks for their lunches. After all, special treats from the ones who loves us most are what makes Valentine’s Day special!

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