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Make some sweets for your valentine

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Show your darling how much they mean to you by appealing to their sweet tooth.

Apple roses with apricot jam

Yield: 6 apple roses

Ingredients
2 red apples
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
3 tablespoons apricot preserves
2 tablespoons water
1⁄8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with baking spray; set aside.
2. Slice apples in half and remove cores. Cut apples into very thin slices, starting at the skin and cutting toward the core.
3. Place apple slices into a large microwavable bowl and add enough water to cover them. Add lemon juice to prevent browning; microwave for 5-7 minutes, until the apple slices are tender and relatively bendable. If they are still crisp, microwave for another minute until soft. Drain the water and set aside.
4. On a lightly floured surface, use a rolling pin to flatten the puff pastry into a 12- by 9-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 6 equal strips of 2-by-9 inches.
5. In a small bowl, mix apricot preserves and water. Thinly spread mixture over each strip of dough.
6. Along the top inch of the dough strip, arrange the apple slices, overlapping each other all the way down the dough. Fold the other half of the dough over the apples like a taco; the red skin of the apples should be sticking out of the dough. This is what will give the “petal” effect to the roses.
7. Starting from one end to the other, gently roll the dough up like a cinnamon roll. Make sure to keep the apples in place when rolling. Place the “rose” into the muffin tin; repeat with the rest of the dough strips. Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle lightly on each rose.
8. Place the apple roses in the oven. Place a pan of water in the bottom rack to help the pastries bake evenly. Bake for 40-45 minutes; finish with a dusting of powdered sugar if desired.
Source: puffpastry.com

Heart-shaped churros

Yield: 9-12 small hearts

Ingredients
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil (for frying)

Directions
1. Line a baking tray with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and line a plate with paper towels.
2. In a shallow bowl, mix cinnamon and  1/2 cup sugar. Set aside.
3. In a saucepan on medium heat, add water, two tbsp. sugar, salt and butter. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
4. Add flour to the saucepan. Stir with a wooden spoon until ingredients are well-combined; the dough will be thick. Let cool for 5 minutes.
5. Prepare a piping bag with a large star tip, such as Wilton’s 1M. With dough still warm, pipe out hearts onto lined baking tray – remember to pinch the ends together or the heart will lose its shape during frying.
6. Fill a deep pot with at least 2 inches of vegetable oil. Heat on medium-high for 8-10 minutes; test the readiness of the oil temperature by dropping in a small piece of dough. It should take about 2 minutes to brown and fully cook. If it browns too quickly, the oil is too hot and will cook the outside of the dough but leave the inside raw. Adjust temperature accordingly.
7. Using a spatula or slotted spoon, carefully lower the churro hearts into the oil to fry. Remember to flip the heart over to evenly cook both sides.
8. Remove from oil once golden brown using a spatula or slotted spoon. Set onto the plate lined with paper towels to drain the excess oil, then quickly dip into cinnamon sugar mixture.
9. Tap off excess cinnamon sugar and serve immediately. Try them alone or with a side of chocolate or caramel sauces.
Source: supergoldenbakes.com

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