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Almost time for the pink and red

Ashley Manila

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with some fresh-from-the-oven raspberry crumb bars.


So here we are again, with February just around the corner, and Valentine’s Day looming. Even though I do not participate in this holiday at all, I realize that most people do, so I figured I would share some of the dessert recipes in my collection that would fit right in with Valentine’s Day.

Do have fun, no matter if it is a romantic day for you or if it is more like a family event. If you don’t care for sweets or you can’t have them for health reasons, consider serving some fruit. A nice fruit platter is always a welcome sight, especially if it has things such as mangoes, fresh pineapple, firm grapes and perhaps a nice selection of berries.

Take care and enjoy February. And do try to stay dry. After such dire drought conditions for so long, it feels a bit odd saying that.

Heart shaped coconut cookies 1 cup flaked coconut 1 cup sugar 3/4 cup cold butter, cubed 2 1/4 cups flour 2 large eggs, lightly beaten 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon water 1/2 teaspoon vanilla Coarse white sugar, optional 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Place coconut and the 1 cup sugar in a food processor; cover and process until coconut is coarsely chopped. In a large bowl, cut butter into flour until it forms crumbs. Stir in coconut mixture. Stir in eggs and vanilla.

  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut with a heart-shaped cookie cutter that measures 2-1/2-inches. It helps to dip the cutter in flour first. Using a 1-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out the center of half of the cookies. Reroll small cutouts if desired.

  3. Place solid and cutout cookies 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 7 to 9 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks.

  4. In a small bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, water and vanilla; brush over warm cookies with cutout centers. Immediately sprinkle with coarse white sugar if desired. Spread 1/2 teaspoon of jam over the bottom of each solid cookie; place cookies with cutout centers over jam. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies.

Easy cherry cake 1 regular-size package white cake mix 1 package (3-oz.) cherry gelatin 1 1/2 cups boiling water 1 package (8-oz.) cream cheese, softened 2 cups whipped topping 1 can (21-oz.) cherry pie filling

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare cake mix according to package directions, using a greased 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

  2. Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Cool cake on a wire rack for 3 to 5 minutes. Poke holes in cake with a wooden skewer; slowly pour dissolved gelatin over cake. Cool for 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Fold in whipped topping. Carefully spread mixture over cake. Top with the pie filling. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. Makes 20 servings.

Raspberry crumb bars You may need more than 1 tablespoon of cornstarch, depending on how juicy the raspberries are. Usually frozen ones have a lot of juice. One time I used raspberry preserves and it worked fine. Follow the link above for another great recipe for raspberry crumb bars.

3 cups flour 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup shortening 2 eggs, lightly beaten 1 teaspoon almond extract 1 tablespoon cornstarch 4 cups fresh or frozen raspberries

  1. Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl, combine the flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Cut in shortening until mixture turns into coarse crumbs. Stir in eggs and almond extract. Press two-thirds of the mixture into a greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish.

  2. In a large bowl, combine cornstarch and remaining sugar; add berries and gently toss. Spoon over crust. Sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture.

  3. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars. Store in the refrigerator. Makes 3 dozen.

Hawaiian dessert 1 regular-size package yellow cake mix 3 packages (3.4-oz. each) vanilla instant pudding mix 4 cups cold milk 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut extract 1 package (8-oz.) cream cheese, softened 1 can (20-oz.) crushed pineapple, well drained 2 cups heavy cream, whipped and sweetened 2 cups flaked coconut, lightly toasted

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Mix cake batter according to package directions. Pour into two greased 9-by-13-inch baking pans. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until the cakes test done. Cool completely.

  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the pudding mixes, milk and coconut extract; beat for 2 minutes. Add the cream cheese and beat well. Stir in the drained pineapple.

  3. Spread mixture over the cooled cakes. Top with whipped cream; sprinkle with coconut. Chill for at least 2 hours. Makes 24 servings.

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