Valentine Treats

By Heather Legg

When most of us think of Valentine’s Day we either think of flowers or chocolate (I tend towards the chocolate). But with nut allergies, peanut or tree nut, it can get tricky. Even if the chocolate has no nuts in it, there’s always the cross contamination and trace factor. Nobody wants their Valentine to end up with a food allergic reaction! Here are some other options if you have to forego the chocolate:

• Movie or theater tickets – not only romantic but calorie free!
• A book of love poetry
• If you and your Valentine enjoy reading, give yourselves two copies of the same book and you can read and talk about them together, you can go classic or steamy.
• Cook a romantic dinner together. When you are the chef, there are no worries of food allergies.
• If you must have chocolate – do it yourself. Chocolate covered strawberries are very Valentine-y and simple. Purchase nut free chocolate morsels or slab, melt in a double boiler or microwave. Wash and completely dry large strawberries and dip into the melted chocolate, cool and – mmmmmm.
• Have a non-chocolate treat. Here’s a great nut free recipe for cupcakes and you can decorate with tinted frosting and mini hearts (* these are NOT Dairy or egg free – if you want you can try substituting with an egg substitute or dairy free product).

Sour Cream Lemon Pound Cake Cupcakes
1/2 cup butter
4 oz softened cream cheese
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
*1teaspoon lemon extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz sour cream
*1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

*you can use vanilla extract instead of the lemon and lemon zest

Beat butter and cream cheese together until creamy. Beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating just until incorporated, stir in lemon extract and zest or vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beat until blended. Spoon into cupcake pans, either lightly greased or into papers. Bake at 350 degrees for about  18 minutes or until they begin to turn golden (or until a wooden pick inserted into centers comes out clean). Cool completely and spread with frosting of your choice. Decorate with Valentine candies or pipe with colored icing.

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