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A Dash of Class

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Recipes for loved ones

By Nora Sweat

 By NORA SWEAT

If you haven’t thought about what important date is in two days, you may be doing some dashing around after work or school today. 

Of course, I'm talking about Valentine’s Day. 

I have two wonderful memories of Valentine’s Day. One would be all those silly Valentines we gave each other in grade school. 

The teacher would have a beautifully decorated cardboard box for us to put them in as we got to school in the morning. Close to time to go home, she would shake up the box of tiny cards and we would help her hand them out. It was so much fun. 

Also, I have told you before that my mom was a “room mother” at school. She always would make enough strawberry Kool-Aid and heart-shaped sugar cookies decorated with pink and white icing for the whole class to sweeten the day even more. 

As a grown up, my favorite Valentine’s Day was when I was teaching at Central Hardin High School. My husband had wrapped a small gift to be delivered to me at each class change. During the last class period came a beautiful bouquet of flowers. 

So, just who is this Valentine was after whom the day is named? 

One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. 

Believing the decree to be unjust, Valentine defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.  When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. 

That’s not a pleasant thought on such a romantic day. But you can see why Valentine was so popular and why his tradition of bringing lovers together certainly was cause for naming this day.

Today I have some recipes you might want to prepare for your loved one, either as a surprise or for dessert after dinner. 

It could be as simple as red velvet cupcakes (from a mix) with white canned frosting and some red sugar sprinkles or chocolate fondue (find that fondue pot, it’s in a cabinet somewhere) with fresh strawberries, marshmallows or even cubes of angel food cake to dip in the melted chocolate.

One of my favorites for this holiday is one that my students made a lot and my Mom would make it for us on special occasions. We always called it Cherry Delight, maybe for Saturday we can call it Valentine’s Delight.

Nora Sweat is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at norasweat@thenewsenterprise.com or by mail at The News-Enterprise, 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.

Valentine's Delight

1 1/2 cups graham wafer crumbs

1/3 cup margarine, melted

2 envelopes Dream Whip

1 8-ounce package of cream cheese

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1 can cherry pie filling (or strawberry, if you prefer)

Mix graham wafer crumbs and margarine together and crumble into a 9x11-inch pan. Pat firmly to form the base. Prepare Dream Whip according to package directions and add cream cheese and powdered sugar. Beat at low speed, then spread over base and spread cherry pie filling over the top. Refrigerate overnight.

Valentine's Chocolate Fondue

16 ounces semi-sweet chocolate pieces

1 1/2 cups heavy cream or whipping cream

Set aside the chocolate. Pour the cream into a medium, thick-bottomed saucepan (or double boiler if you have one) over low heat. Bring the cream to a simmer and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted.

Transfer the chocolate to a fondue pot and enjoy.

Homemade Caramels

2 sticks butter

2 cups white sugar

1 1/2 cups light corn syrup

1 pint whipping cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

Bring the butter, sugar and corn syrup to a boil, then slowly stir in whipping cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 250 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into a greased 9x13-inch pan. Allow to cool thoroughly before cutting. Place each piece in a square of waxed paper and twist ends.

Note: If you want to cut the recipe in half, pour the hot caramel mixture into an 8x8-inch pan. Source: Rural Route 2 Newsletter, LeAnn Ralph