Valentine’s Day Recipes - The Old-Fashioned Way

They say what’s old is new again, and that couldn’t be more true about vintage cookbooks. If you do a quick Internet search for “vintage cookbook,” you’ll find people buying them, selling them, looking for them, collecting them, using them, saving them and collecting them. If would fit into several of those categories, as is evidenced by one whole cabinet in our kitchen.

Looking for some fun new (or not so new) ideas for Valentine’s Day recipes, I dug out a few of my mid-century cookbooks and had a blast looking through them. I’ve collected several of the books we had in our house growing up, so the pictures are so warm and familiar, and I love the words and phrases they used, things we just don’t say today.

So sit back, relax and get ready for a few not-so-new ideas you can use for your own Valentine’s Day party this year.

1935:
* Frost heart-shaped cookies with a plain frosting made by creaming 2 tablespoons butter with 2 cups powdered sugar and mixed to a creamy smoothness with 4 tablespoons cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add 1 teaspoon red vegetable coloring.
* Before the frosting has hardened, trace an arrow lightly across the heart with a toothpick. Fill in the depression made by the toothpick with tiny silver dragees (silver candies) or chocolate decorettes.

1957:
* Bake a square cake and a round cake of the same size (9 inches works great). Place the square cake on a serving platter with one point toward you. Cut the round cake in half and arrange with the cut sides against the top edges of the square to create a heart. Frost and decorate with red candies.

1960:
* If you own a beautiful lace tablecloth, this is the time to bring it out. Or a washable pink fabric could be used with matching pink bows pinned to the corners.
* Bake two heart-shaped cakes and stack them with frosting in between. Frost the outside of the cakes and sprinkle the top and sides with shredded coconut.
* Slice a loaf of heavy bread 2 inches thick and cut a heart shape out of each. Cut a circle out of the center, leaving 1/2 inch of bread around it. Brush with melted butter. Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Serve hearts filled with your favorite jam or jelly.

1967:
* Make a centerpiece by trimming a small Christmas tree with red paper hearts of varying sizes, pink and red bows and decorated heart-shaped cookies and candies. Tuck in tiny artificial flowers.
* Heart meringues: Heat oven to 275 degrees. Beat 3 egg whites and 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar until frothy. Beat in 1 cup of sugar until very stiff and glossy. Tint pink with 5-6 drops of red food coloring. Make 8 mounds, dropping 1/3 to 1/2 cup meringue for each on heavy brown paper on baking sheet. Shape each into a heart shape with the back of the spoon. Bake 55 minutes. Turn off oven and leave meringues in oven to cool completely. To serve, fill shells with ice cream and garnish with strawberries.

Do you have a favorite recipe from days gone by that would be perfect for your Valentine’s Day celebration this year?

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