Valentine’s Day Hearts (Refined Sugar-Free/Grain-Free)

This year was the first Valentine’s day we have celebrated in a LONG time, although goodness knows I’ve tried!   I always have pink, red and white felt and construction paper on hand, and plans for heart-shaped desserts, but we always end up being sick.

It all started five years ago when we got the Norovirus for Valentine’s Day.  We still talk about it.  A week of being struck down in bed by severe illness, only moving to go do the chores (yes, we still had to do chores!  And that was back when we were still lugging the Hell-on-Little-Wheels chicken coop around the pastures).

I like Valentine’s Day.  I think it is a wonderful opportunity to think about the people you love and appreciate them.  Ethan was a real stick-in-the-mud about holidays when I met him, but I daresay he’s come around a bit.  Not that he really participates much, but at least he enjoys them more.  This is one holiday that we don’t celebrate the old way….as fun as running through the streets naked with strips of bloody goat hide may have been for the Romans celebrating Lupercalia, we stuck with the cute pink and white desserts and heart-shaped cards again this year.

Refined Sugar and Grain-free Valentine’s Day Hearts

For the meringue:

6 eggs, separated

5 Tablespoons raw honey

A pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon chocolate extract

1/2 cup carob

1.  Line a cookie sheet (with sides) with buttered parchment paper and pre-heat oven to 375 F.

2.  In a bowl beat together egg yolks, 3 tablespoons of honey, vanilla, chocolate extract, carob, and salt until smooth.

3. In another bowl, beat egg whites with the remaining 2 tablespoons of honey until very stiff and glossy.  Fold into egg yolk mixture.

4. Pour onto cookie sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until puffy and set.  Set aside to cool.

For the filling:

 2 cups of whipping cream

1 package of freeze-dried strawberries, crushed or powdered in a food processor

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons raw honey

Whip cream with vanilla and honey.  Divide whipped cream into two bowls.  In one, carefully mix in the crushed freeze-dried strawberries.

To Assemble:

Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut heart shapes out of the meringue.  Make “sandwiches” by carefully spreading whipped cream on with the back of a spoon and topping with another heart shape.

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