Pop-up cards and heart-shaped eclairs
It’s February! My kids love to make valentine’s day cards and treats for grandparents, neighbors and cousins. I think it’s fun, too, so we always spend an afternoon thinking up and creating wonderful ways to spread love.
I usually spend a few minutes (okay, hours!) on pinterest searching for the perfect idea for us to fail at. Just kidding. I have actually gotten pretty good at finding things my kids are capable of creating and feeling proud of with very little help from Mom.
However, this year, because I planned to post our creations here on my blog, I put a little more effort into finding something that would impress my readers!
I found the perfect valentine’s cards on Martha Stewart’s website. I knew my kids would love them, because my kids go ga-ga over pop-up anything. I gathered a bunch of perfect papers in all shades of Valentine’s Day. I even made a demo card and showed my kids how to accomplish perfection. Silly me! Martha Stewart’s cards aren’t covered in beautiful drawings and amusing sentiments.
I left my kids at the table with the card-making materials and what they created was nothing like my vision–they were WAY better! Because my kids plastered their cards with surprisingly funny and witty sayings and personal pictures that are going to make our recipients laugh and feel special. And they had fun making them. That’s the goal, right? That is perfection.
So, while all the world is giving and receiving Martha-Stewart-style beautiful handmade cards, we are giving ones that came from the hearts of generous little people with loads of personality.
My kids even took the photos! Wouldn’t you feel more loved as the recipient of one of these special cards than a boring, perfect, Martha-Stewart-esque card?
Heart-shaped almond-raspberry eclairs
After finishing the cards, we made heart-shaped eclairs. The kids make these on their own sometimes–it’s a super easy recipe.
2 c. water
1 c. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 c. flour
Bring the water, butter and salt to a boil, then take it off the heat and stir in the flour. Add the eggs, one at a time, and fully incorporate them. It will look like this:
When finished, the batter looks like this:
Load the batter into a pastry bag and pipe it into this shape, using your very largest round tip. Mine is 3/4″” diameter. If you don’t have a large round tip, just use the bag without a tip.
Bake at 425 degrees until they are golden brown and feel crisp
2 c. Heavy whipping cream
8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 T. almond extract (or use vanilla extract if you prefer, but we love the almond filling with raspberry sauce on top)
This is my all-time favorite pastry filling–I use it for everything.
Whip together until it forms stiff peaks.
Fill a bag with a long, narrow tip with the pastry filling. Insert the tip into the pastry shell at each end, trying to keep your holes as unobtrusive as possible. Fill the shells completely–you will be able to feel the change in weight when it’s sufficiently full.
Warm a jar of raspberry preserves so that it is more easily spreadable, and ‘frost’ the tops of the eclairs with the preserves.
As a finishing touch, drizzle warmed icing over the raspberry-topped, almond-filled, hearty-shaped eclairs.
2 T. butter, melted
1 T. milk
1 c. powdered sugar
It will be runny, but that’s great for a drizzle. It will set up more firm.
Your loved ones will feel very special to receive one of these eclairs!