Have a heart.

With some strawberry ice cream.
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This I believe: that Valentine’s Day is not exclusively for lovers, and does not require champagne, slinky French lingerie or sparkly googaws from generic commercial jewelers. It is a day to tell family, friends, children, and even your pets how absolutely awesomely wonderful they are. Yes yes, you should be telling them on the other 364 days as well, but on Valentine’s Day you can do it with with foofy hearts, doilies, silly cards, little gifties and heart-shaped everything!
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I’ve always given my son Valentine’s Day cards (obviously not ones that say “You’re making me horny”), as well as my parents and my very best friend.
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Even if I didn’t have a lovin’ husband to get googly-eyed with on V-day, I’d still break out the heart-shaped chocolates and buy myself a bunch of tulips. Yes, I really wouldno matter what my relationship status, I've never neglected myself on Valentine's Day. And when I was single and childless, I put up a fresh, fully decorated Christmas tree in my little studio apartment every year. I declare that Christmas is not only for children, as Valentine’s Day is not strictly for lovers!
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I think I get why people go all anti-Valentine’s Day, but as a person who loves red and pink, lace, hearts, roses, chocolate, cupids, vintage Valentines, heart shaped cake pans/cookie cutters/candy/ornaments/boxes/earrings/picture frames/charms/baskets/dessert bowls etc., I refuse to miss out. And why should our kids miss out too? Instead of escaping from themas divorced-remarried people, we get more than enough time away from our kids when they’re with the other parentswe have a family Valentine’s dinner at home.
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This year it was nothing fancy (not like last year, with fillet mignon we scored on sale)just soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, candy conversation hearts scattered across the table, candles, and beautiful deep pink roses from my One and Only. The fancyness was dessert: Chocolate Glazed Chocolate Velvet Cake hearts topped with pink frosting carnations and roses and pink ice cream.
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The recipe for this almost-flourless chocolate cakewhich I clipped from Redbook magazine in 1985is easy, calls for only 5 ingredients, and requires the most basic prep and cooking methods. Any lovestruck fool can pull this off.
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Instead of a single round layer called for in the recipe, I used an 8x8 square pan and cut large and small hearts from the cooked cooled cake. Then clumsily glazed and decorated them. I mean, the flowers look decent but I could have done better on that glaze! Thank goodness no one cares.
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The glaze is also easy and can be poured or spread over the hearts. Okay yeah, it’s a little fussy but it’s easy fussy, I promise. And those little flowers? Also easy, with a can (one can't always Martha-Stewart-from-scratch their way through these things) of Betty Crocker Cupcake Icing in Petal Pink using the star shaped tip.
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Give it a small squoosh for a pert little carnation, and swirl it around a few times in a gently widening circle for a rose. Here’s a mouthwatering tutorial for these easy roses. Stop squirming, they’re easy I tell you! Just practice a few times on wax paper. If you don’t want roses, squoosh whatever you like on top.
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When it was time for dessert, we scooped Breyer’s strawberry ice cream into bowls and plopped a heart on top. And ate. And wished each other a happy Valentine’s Day while we lapped up two hours of Downton Abbey.
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Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours!


Chocolate Velvet Cake
from Baker's

1 package (4-oz.) Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate*, broken in pieces
6 Tablespoons butter or margarine
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 eggs, separated
4 Tablespoons sugar
Chocolate Glaze (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan or an 8x8 square pan. Melt chocolate and butter in medium saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat; stir in flour. Blend in egg yolks, one at a time.

In a medium sized bowl, beat egg whites with hand mixer on medium-high speed until foamy throughout. Gradually beat in sugar; continue beating until soft peaks form. Gently fold chocolate mixture into egg whites, blending thoroughly.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes (cake will settle slightly). Finish cooling upside down on rack. Spread top and sides with Chocolate Glaze. OR cut into hearts with cookie cutters, then glaze. Top with frosting flowers.

At room temperature, the cake is velvety, indeed. When refrigerated, the frosted cake turns fudgy but still somewhat light and velvety. I would be hard-pressed to decide which way I like it best.

*I used regular ol' Baker's Semi-Sweet chocolate, since I had it on hand already.

Chocolate Glaze

1 package (4-oz.) Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate, broken in pieces
3 Tablespoons water
3 Tablespoons butter

Melt chocolate and water in medium saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted. Pour gently over cooled cake, or cool to thicken and spread onto cake.