What you need:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoons salt
3 cups sour cherries or dark sweet cherries, frozen
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Pre-made pie crust
Directions: Stir together the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a saucepan. Add the cherries and lemon juice. Stir until the cherries are fully coated with the sugar and cornstarch mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil while stirring over medium-high heat, letting the mixture boil for at least two to three minutes. Add the almond extract and the butter and stir until melted. Pour into a 9 x13-inch pan and let cool completely.
Cut crust into heart shapes and spoon filling onto crust. Lightly egg wash the edges of the hearts with the filling then lay a pie crust heart on top to seal, crimping the edges with a fork. Pierce tops with the lines of a fork to create steam vents. Brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden.
Source: Kim Boos, co-owner of Boulder's Tee and Cakes
This Valentine's Day, surprise your sweetheart with some treats that will look and taste the part without breaking your budget.
After more than five years of owning a bakery and design shop with her husband, Tee and Cakes co-owner Kim Boos said she still surprises her husband with sweets on Valentine's Day.
"If you want to make it special, think of catering to whoever your honey is and what they like," Boos said. "My husband likes bourbon whiskey, so I'll add some bourbon to what I'm making."
There's no need to be aprofessional baker to make something that will impress your sweetie this week, Boos said even the novice cook can make something delicious with basic ingredients.
While Boos' team makes everything from scratch at the sweets shop, altering a box mix at home can be an easy way to create a tasty treat.
Brownies are one of the better box mixes, Boos said, but adding your own twist to them will show your Valentine that you care.
She recommended following the regular brownie mix directions, but then adding a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract or chocolate chunks to the mix to elevate the flavor.
Tip: Once the brownies are finished, cut them into heart-shaped pieces after they cool and add ice cream between two brownies for a personalized ice cream sandwich.
Boos said that adding some cayenne pepper, almond extract and cinnamon to the brownie mix can create a sweet and spicy Mexican-style brownie that will light a fire this Valentine's Day.
Cake box mixes can also be a great start to creating a personalized flavor, Boos said.
Yellow box cake and a tub of pre-made vanilla icing can be turned into a raspberry cake with rosewater icing, with just a few alterations.
Raspberry jam will personalize the bland mix, so adding jam and rose water to the vanilla frosting and with a fresh raspberry on top will create a delicious raspberry swirl cake with rose water frosting.
"Rose water is a fancier ingredient, so adding it to vanilla icing will really elevate the flavor of the entire dish," Boos said.
Using bakers tin, paper hearts and decorative paper bag packaging can give any treat a special appearance this Valentine's Day, making the look of your sweets even sweeter.
Boos said her favorite Valentine's treats are personal hand pies. Tee and Cakes will be serving sour cherry pies this Valentine's Day, but frozen cherries and pre-made crust can make a pie that's perfect for two.
Boos said preparing your own cherry filling can mask the taste of a pre-made crust and turn this Valentine's into a sweet day. Cut the crusts into heart-shaped pieces and add your favorite ice cream for a personal pie a-la-mode.
"Anything that can be shared makes for a sweet Valentine's Day treat," Boos said.
-- Follow Whitney Bryen on Twitter: @SoonerReporter.