Let’s send love and pack confectionary Valentine parcels to put into real mailboxes with Swedish rye sugar cookies, gluten-free almond cakes, a vibrant, plant-based pink glaze, and more!
Sending Love with Sweet Valentine Parcels
Maybe Valentine’s Day makes you cringe, but I would encourage you to see the holiday as a gentle deadline for sending and showing love to friends, family, and romantic partners. This year, I’m harkening to my elementary school days, when we’d craft mailboxes, position them on our desks, then await the delivery of Valentine’s cards and a bounty of candy hearts.
For my updated version, I’m packing confectionary Valentine parcels to put into real mailboxes: Swedish rye sugar cookies, gluten-free almond cakes with a vibrant, plant-based pink glaze, whole-grain jam shortbread bars, rose-petal-topped puff pastry, and more!
When it comes to assembling these Valentine parcels, start with a cute yet practical container that can be repurposed, and natural beeswax wraps since they’re a gift that can keep giving (shout out to my amazing friend Ben who made these wraps for me for Christmas!). If baking is too intimidating, wrap dark-chocolate-covered almonds in recycled paper packages tied with ribbon (remember all those skinny paper bags they insist on using at the wine store?).
While I’ll be packing a heart-shaped box with extra care to send to my long-distance sweetheart, this activity can easily be geared towards kids (even kiddos with a limited attention span). Want something quick? Have your little sidekick punch cookie-cutter hearts into puff-pastry dough. Sprinkle with a pretty garnish, and voila! Plus, sharing these parcels with a neighbor or someone who needs extra cheer is a good example for your kids. We can always find more ways to connect and to give.
Stay tuned for more recipes from these Valentine parcels.
The Fluff/Julep’s Corner:
My forever Valentine, my whole heart. Even the trees understand. This surprise heart was waiting for us on our wintry neighborhood walk. It’s the little surprises and gestures that cause me to pause, take stock, and appreciate.
You Might Also Like: Dark Chocolate Truffles with Quinoa & Teff
From my book, The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook, these dark chocolate truffles are a perfect little nightcap – a sweet note to end the day. Protein-rich quinoa combines with roasted almond butter, so there’s a bit of a crunch beneath the dark chocolate and tart, dried-strawberry garnish. Serve with champagne, of course.
Mini Almond Flour Heart Cakes with Pink Pitaya Glaze
- 2 1/4 cups almond flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons butter, softened
- 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon pink pitaya powder (optional)
- Dried rose petals, crushed
For the Mini Cakes:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Sift the almond flour, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl, then whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the Greek yogurt and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time mixing after each.
- Add the dry mixture to the egg mixture, and beat until thoroughly combined.
- Divide batter between your muffin pan(s) or mini cake molds.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the cakes are firm to the touch and golden brown. Allow to cool before glazing.
For the Glaze:
- Combine all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, and whisk until smooth. The glaze will be liquidy, but you can adjust to your desired texture with more sugar.
Pink Pitaya is Red Dragon Fruit Powder, a natural, plant-derived way to achieve a bright hue in your culinary creations. Available here.