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Sweets for a delicious Valentine’s Day

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FoodLion.com These Cookie Brownies are decadent and full of chocolate.

FoodLion.com These Cookie Brownies are decadent and full of chocolate.

By Deirdre Parker Smith

deirdre.smith@salisburypost.com

alentine’s Day is suddenly here, and for many of us, that means we have to come up with something — and fast.

You could start with the traditional aphrodisiac foods, like oysters or strawberries. But wait, there’s more!

Reader’s Digest, of all things, names 19 aphrodisiac foods, including oysters, and it looks something like this:

Chili peppers. The heat stimulates endorphins, speeds up your heart rate and makes you sweat, all of which mimics how you feel when you are aroused.

Avocados. Really? The Aztecs thought so, anyway. Modern science says the vitamin E keeps you young,

Chocolate. Of course. The darker the better, because dark chocolate spikes dopamine levels, which brings about a feeling of pleasure.

Bananas. They contain an enzyme which triggers testosterone production and the potassium and vitamin B elevate energy.

Honey. An ancient symbol of procreation — you know, the birds and the bees — again, it gives you energy and contains boron, which helps regulate estrogen and testosterone.

Coffee. Caffeine is a stimulant, after all.

Watermelon. Acts like Viagra, relaxing blood vessels and improving circulation.

Pine nuts. OK … high in zinc, good for your sex drive, and difficult to acquire from the pine cones.

Arugula. Peppery greens have been considered an aphrodisiac since the first century.

Olive oil. You might have a sexy salad in your future, what with the greens and the nuts and the avocados. The Greeks believed olive oil made men more virile.

Figs. Thanks to Adam and Eve, the fig is a symbol of fertility and modesty, plus they are packed with antioxidants.

Strawberries. Good for blood flow and feeding to each other.

Artichokes. Feeding each other the leaves, also packed with antioxidants.

Chai tea. The spices do it, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, all increase blood flow and the caffeine keeps you awake after that big chocolate dessert.

Pomegranate. Red, of course, and good for blood flow, as well as a hefty dose of antioxidants.

Cherries. Obvious — they are packed with vitamins A, C and E, along with a lot more, and melatonin, which helps regulate your heart.

Pumpkin seeds. Top off your sexy salad because these seeds are high in magnesium, which is good for testosterone.

Searching the Internet for simple ideas, beyond tossing the aphrodisiacs in a salad, we found a few things that should make your Valentine smile and keep you out of the doghouse.

Food Lion has a selection of Valentine-themed recipes that will help you out:

Red Velvet skillet cookie with a bit of coffee to amp up the chocolate flavor. Add white chocolate and regular chocolate chips to increase the delicious factor. Serve warm or cold. Prep time is just 10 minutes, and so is the cook time.

Red Velvet
Skillet Cookie

• 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened

• 2  eggs

• 1 box of red velvet cake mix

• 1 cup flour

• 1 Tbsp. coffee or espresso powder

• 1 cup white chocolate chips

• 1 cup chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions.

Add red velvet cake mix, coffee and flour. Mix well. Fold in chocolate chips by hand.

Spray an 8- to 10-inch cast iron skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Press dough into prepared skillet. Bake 8-10 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean in the center of the cookie.

Recipe from Sweet Confections.

This one is very easy — it might be something the kids can help with. They will certainly want to help eat this decadent concoction. Prep time is around 10 minutes, then cooking time is less than a half hour.

Cookie Brownies

• 1 box of brownie mix

• 3 eggs

• 1/2 cup vegetable oil

• 1 package of chocolate sandwich cookies

• 16 oz. refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough

• Walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.

Place cookie dough in pan and pat down to make a crust, completely covering the bottom of the dish. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.

While that cooks, prepare brownie mix according to package directions. Remove pan from refrigerator and put cookies on dough a finger length apart, making three rows.

Top the cookie dough and cookies with brownie batter. Add walnuts if desired. Bake 26 minutes or until brownie is baked through.

This should be a breeze. It takes about 5 minutes to mix and then just 4 minutes to cook. It’s large enough to share, too.

Chocolate Mug Cake

• 1/2 cup flour

• 2 Tbsp. cocoa

• 1/4 cup sugar

• 1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt

• 1/4 tsp. vanilla

• 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

• 1/4 cup water

• 1/4 tsp. vinegar

• 1 Tbsp. chocolate chips

• Powdered sugar for garnish

Place the flower, cocoa, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large mug. Stir thoroughly.

Add the vanilla, vegetable oil, water and vinegar. Stir until combined.

Add chocolate chips and stir again.

Cook in the microwave on high for 2 minutes, then test to see if the cake is done by inserting toothpick in the center; it should come out clean. If the cake is not done, microwave in 20-second intervals until ready.

Sprinkle powdered sugar over the top to garnish and add a fresh strawberry, if desired.

From Samantha Johnson.

Now, you need a quick cocktail or two for your evening.

For him, try the coffee and cream route. Mixthatdrink.com has the TiaTip, which uses coffee flavored liqueur topped with Bailey’s. What could be better? It’s done in a small glass, but it’s not meant to be thrown back like a shot. It’s a few sips of richness.

The website recommends chilling both the coffee liqueur and Bailey’s, for easy layering.

Use 1 part coffee liqueur (Tia Maria) and 1 part Bailey’s. Pour the Tia Maria in first, then slowly, so slowly, pour the Bailey’s down the side of the glass to make two layers.

For her, get some frozen strawberries. Whizz them up in a food processor or blender. Pour about an ounce in the bottom of a champagne flute, then top with champagne, proseco or moscato. Garnish with a strawberry — they’re on the list.

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