Fun, Kid-Friendly Valentine’s Day Recipes

February 14, 2014 | Written By:

A few special treats from HSC partners!

This year, HSC asked a few friends to share favorite Valentine’s Day recipes with us! These homemade treats will satisfy kids’ sweet tooths without candy or store-bought desserts.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Sweet treats can be part of a healthy diet, in moderation and especially if you make them yourself. These cookies boost nutritional value with whole wheat flour and ground flaxseed. The jam adds sweetness, lessening the need for added sugar. Enlist your child’s help with the measuring and mixing, and add a dash of bonding to your baking!

You’ll need:

  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 3 Tbsp sunflower or grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • Few pinches salt
  • 1/2 cup strawberry or raspberry jam
  • Powdered sugar for sprinkling (optional)
  • How to make it:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, butter, oil, brown sugar, and vanilla. Switch to a wooden spoon and measure in flours, ground flaxseed and salt. Stir well to incorporate. Dough will still be a little wet, but you should be able to hold it and shape it without it sticking to your fingers.

Form dough into 1-inch balls by rolling it between your palms. You should have about 18. Arrange them on the prepared baking sheet. Gently make a well in the middle of each ball with your thumb or pinky. If you’re feeling creative, you can even try to shape them into hearts with your fingers. Use a small spoon to fill the well of each cookie with jam. Bake until edges are just browning, but cookie is still a little soft, about 7 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Once cool, lightly sprinkle with powdered sugar if you like.

Makes 18 cookies

The Kids' Table is a unique Chicago-based cooking school that teaches and empowers folks of all ages to cook, eat and love wholesome foods. With hands-on fun and tasty recipes, healthy cooking goes from chore to adventure. The mission of Kids' Table classes and programs extends well beyond culinary instruction. Cooking is a way of connecting – connecting people with food, with the earth and with other. Together we can make the world a healthier and yummier place! Learn more.

Chocolate-Dipped Fruits

Kids and adults love chocolate for Valentine's Day. You can still enjoy the sweetness of chocolate along with some vitamins and fiber when you and your kids use chocolate as a coating for dried fruit. The secret to this recipe is to melt most of the chocolate and then take it off the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate. That gives you exceptionally glossy chocolate that has the characteristic “crack” when you bite into it. Make it even more fun for the kids by sprinkling your chocolate-dipped fruits with toasted dried coconut, crystallized ginger, or chopped, toasted nuts.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups mixed dried fruits
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • Toothpicks

How to make it:

  1. Skewer each piece of dried fruit with a toothpick. Line a baking sheet with foil, wax paper, or parchment paper.
  2. Bring a large skillet of water to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and keep water at a simmer. Place ¾ of chocolate into a heat-proof bowl, and place bowl into skillet. Melt chocolate, stirring constantly. When chocolate is completely melted, remove from heat. Immediately stir in reserved chocolate and stir until melted.
  3. Dip each piece of fruit into chocolate, swirling to coat. Transfer coated fruit to prepared baking sheet.
  4. Keep dipped fruit at room temperature until set, about 1 hour. Serve or transfer to an airtight container. Store in a cool, dark place, but do not store in the refrigerator.

Makes eight servings

Excerpted from The Essential Dehydrator by Susan Palmquist & Jill Houk, Copyright © 2013 by F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Photo Credit: Angela B. Garbot

Chef Jill Houk is a culinary consultant who develops family-friendly recipes for Ball Park Franks, Hillshire Farm, Holland House, Jimmy Dean, Nakano, and Sara Lee. In 2013, she published two cookbooks, The Essential Dehydrator and The Complete Soda-Making Book. Chef Houk is a past Chair of Cooking Up Change, and is a Board Member for Kendall College and Purple Asparagus. 


Special thanks to Chef Jill Houk and The Kids' Table's Elena Marre for sharing these recipes with us!

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