Sunday, February 9, 2014


Since Valentine's Day is next Thursday and my husband and I hosted the Tasty Bunch last night, I wanted to prepare dessert with a "valentine" theme.  The Tasty Bunch is a group of seven couples in the New Neighbors of Kansas City (new name for our northland new neighbors group) who get together once a month by going out to dinner and then going to the house of the "host" for dessert and fellowship.

Two in our group are "snowbirds" (heading to the warmer south for the winter months).  We would have been five couples getting together, but one of the couples called and said they wouldn't be able to come afterall so eight of us met at Nick & Jake's in Parkville and then came back to our house for my Valentine Desserts.

I found the Cherries Jubilee recipe in one of my Mr. Food's cookbook (Mr. Food Cooks REAL American) and the Dark Chocolate Heart Cookie on the February page of a calendar I got from the commissary at Fort Leavenworth.  I had cut it out and glued it in my NEW spiral notebook I recently started.  I had run out of pages in the "old" one.  

The only changes I made in Mr. Food's Cherries Jubilee were using sugar-free instant vanilla pudding and then no-sugar-added cherry pie filling. I used ice tea glasses instead of parfait glasses so I made pudding mixture three times for the larger servings.

Instead of using a Devil's Food chocolate cake mix for the Dark Chocolate Heart Cookies, I decided to use a Red Velvet cake mix (so the cookies would look red).  I also used 1/3 fat cream cheese and a pink lemonade frosting.  I think any pink frosting would be fine.  (If I had used the Devil's Food chocolate cake mix as the recipe called for, I would have used a sugar-free one to reduce calories.)


1-1/4     cups cold skim milk
1           package (4-serving size) vanilla instant pudding and pie filling (sugar free)
1           cup frozen whipped topping, thawed (one 8 - oz container equals 3-1/2 cups)
2           tablespoons sliced almonds, divided
1           can (20 - oz) light cherry pie filling (no sugar added)

Pour the milk and pudding mix into a leakproof 1 - quart container and shake vigorously for 45 seconds or until well blended. (I just used a bowl and whisk)

Gently stir in the whipped topping and 1 tablespoon of the almond slices.

Alternately spoon the pudding mixture and the cherries into parfait glasses.

Refrigerate until ready to serve and garnish with the remaining almonds.



1/4       cup margarine, softened
3          oz. cream cheese, softened (1/3 less fat okay)
1/3       cup semi-sweet chocolate chips , melted
1          large egg
1          (18.25 oz) pkg. Devil's Food Cake Mix (I used a Red Velvet Cake Mix)

1/2       cup pink vanilla flavored frosting (pink lemonade flavored)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  (I used parchment paper on my cookie sheets.) The recipe said ungreased cookie sheets.

Combine margarine and cream cheese in mixing bowl, beating until smooth.  (To soften each, I placed (one at time) each in a bowl and heated in microwave for 10 seconds for the margarine and 20 seconds - 10 seconds on one side and then 10 second on the other side for the cream cheese.)

Add melted chocolate and egg, beat until well blended. (To melt the chips, I heated them for 1 minute in the microwave and then stirred til smooth.)

Add the cake mix; beat until well mixed.  (If necessary, "work" the dough til nice and smooth.)

Divide the dough in half and roll the dough out on a lightly sugared surface. (See tips below.)

Cut with a heart shaped cookie cutter.  

Place on cookie sheet.

Cook for 7 - 9 minutes or until edges edges are set. (7 minutes was perfect for my oven.)

Cool 2 minutes 

Remove the finish cooling on wire rack.

Place frosting in small microwave-safe bowl and microwave on HIGH for 15 seconds, stirring until smooth.

Drizzle frosting over cooled cookies.


The recipe instructed you to roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface.  I knew not to do that since the dough was chocolate. You want the cookie to stay brown or red in my case. Instead I used sugar.  

The problem was I initially used too much sugar - picture on the left.  Don't be so generous with the sugar for better results - picture on the right.

Don't rub the rolling pin with sugar....the dough didn't stick to the rolling pin anyway.

You want to keep the sugar off the top of the cut cookie. You can see some sugar on the top left cookie.  I tried brushing the sugar off with a towel after it completely cooled, but all of it didn't come off and so the cookie wasn't totally dark after it baked.

I always have difficulty with decorating cookies.  Part of it is my issue with perfectionism and I don't do it often enough to practice and get what I accept as is acceptable. (I need to learn that it really doesn't matter....everyone enjoyed them and thought they looked cute.)

I did use a squeeze bottle with probably closer to a cup of the frosting...I just "put back" what I didn't use in the container and put it in the refrigerator to use later. I did learn that the thinner the frosting is the better it goes on. In fact you almost don't have to squeeze the bottle....the frosting will just flow out nicely.

The first ones I did looked terrible (my husband agreed a couple of them didn't look too good).  I hate to say this (because it's embarrassing showing this picture) but if you look closely you can see the how bad the cookies looked with the sugar on top of the cookie.

Then I got an idea.  Once again, I put a piece of wax paper under the wire rack and then just started off the edge of the far lower left cookie and just went straight across the three cookies. You don't really waste too much frosting in the space between the cookie. The cookies should not be touching each other. Anyway, I was pleased with the results this time.  When the frosting dries and you pick up the cookies, the excess frosting off the edge will fall off and you have a nicely frosted cookie.

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