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Quick and easy Valentine’s Day treats

Mack Male, Wikimedia Commons

Use homemade or store-bought lemon curd to make small tarts, and top with raspberries.


If you are short on time to prepare treats for Valentine’s Day, or just plain forgot all about it, here are a few recipes that are quick to prepare that might save the day.

Even though my kids are grown and have moved away, and I no longer work full time, somehow or other time manages to whirl by at great speed. Or is it that as you get older, it just seems that way?

No matter, the fact remains that we all quite often need to find some short cuts to help us out. That’s what these recipes are about. Just remember to take some time to enjoy a treat or two (or more).

Puff pastry bananas with chocolate

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)

2 medium ripe bananas, peeled and sliced lengthwise

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

Vanilla ice cream, optional

1. Preheat oven to 400. In a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in brown sugar until blended. Add bananas; stir to coat. Remove from heat; set aside.

2. Unfold puff pastry and cut into four rectangles. Place a halved banana in center of each square. Overlap two opposite corners of pastry over banana; pinch tightly to seal. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

3. Bake in preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Drizzle with chocolate. If desired, serve warm with ice cream. Makes 4 servings.

Easy cherry turnovers

1 tube (8-oz.) refrigerated crescent rolls

1 cup cherry pie filling

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat oven to 375. Unroll crescent dough and separate into four rectangles; place on an ungreased baking sheet. Press perforations to seal. Place 1/4 cup pie filling on one half of each rectangle. Fold dough over filling; pinch edges to seal. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.

2. Place confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl; stir in enough milk to achieve a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over turnovers. Serve warm. Makes 4 servings.

Choco-cherry cookies

4 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/2 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries, drained

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 package vanilla wafer-type cookies

18 ounces milk chocolate candy coating, melted

Red nonpareils or red colored sugar

1. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Stir in chopped cherries and almond extract. Spread 1 teaspoon cream cheese mixture on bottoms of half of the wafers; cover with remaining wafers. Refrigerate 1 hour or until filling is firm.

2. Dip filled cookies in melted candy coating; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper; sprinkle with nonpareils or sugar. Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.

Lemon curd tiny tarts

You can save even more time if you use prepared lemon curd that comes in a jar.

3 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1 package (1.9-oz.) frozen miniature phyllo tart shells, thawed

Fresh raspberries, mint leaves and sweetened whipped cream, optional

1. In a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, whisk eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest until well blended. Add butter; cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a metal spoon. Transfer to a small bowl; cool for 10 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

2. Just before serving, spoon lemon curd into tart shells. Garnish with raspberries, mint and whipped cream, if desired. Refrigerate leftovers. Makes 15.

Lucky Charms treats

You could make these again for St. Patrick’s Day and use a bit of green food coloring.

5 cups miniature marshmallows

4 tablespoons butter

6 cups Lucky Charms cereal

1. In a large pot, melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir frequently until it has melted completely.

2. Stir in the cereal and mix well. Spray a 9-by-13-inch dish with cooking spray.

3. Turn the cereal mixture into the dish and pat down evenly. Allow mixture to cool for about an hour before cutting into serving pieces.

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