Sweet Hearts

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heart-shaped cranberry muffins

Every Valentine’s Day, my brother and I would stumble into the kitchen. After rubbing the sleep from our eyes, we’d sort through the little piles of chocolate kisses and conversations hearts on the table that Cupid’s fairies dropped off during the night. (If Christmas has Santa and Easter has the Bunny, why wouldn’t Valentine’s Day have its own candy-carrying character?)


Then Mom would sigh and reluctantly allow us each to eat one sweet treat before making us a special breakfast. She usually whipped up pancakes, waffles, or cinnamon sugar toast — practically a dessert itself! As soon as she set our plates in front of us, we’d inhale the food before rushing off to school.


But if February 14th fell on a weekend, we’d enjoy a more leisurely breakfast. Mom would bake Pillsbury croissants or even homemade muffins, if we promised not to sneak extra chocolates while the pastries cooled on the counter. And with such festive muffins waiting for us, we readily agreed!  


heart-shaped cranberry muffins


Heart-Shaped Cranberry Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Heart-Shaped Cranberry Muffins

modified from CL’s raspberry cream cheese muffins

These muffins are sweet enough on their own, but some people might mistake these as little Pac-Mans instead of hearts without icing…

for the muffins
6 tbsp dried cranberries
¼ c. water
1 c. flour
½ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ c. fat-free cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp tub-style margarine
¾ c. sugar
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ c. skim milk

for the icing
4-6 tbsp powdered sugar
¼ tsp water
? tsp vanilla extract
2 drops red food coloring

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°, and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Lightly coat the liners with nonstick cooking spray. Drop a marble in between each paper liner and the side of the muffin cup to form a heart shape.
  2. To prepare the muffins, combine the cranberries and water in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and heat on high for 2½ min. Let cool and drain any remaining liquid.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, cream the cheese, margarine, and sugar. Add in the egg whites, one at a time, and the vanilla, mixing well. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk, mixing just until incorporated, and beginning and ending with the flour. Gently fold in the cranberries.
  4. Evenly distribute the batter between the prepared liners, and bake at 350° for 22-25 min or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 min before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. To prepare the icing, stir together 4 tablespoons of powdered sugar, water, vanilla, and food coloring in a small bowl. Add more powdered sugar as necessary to achieve the desired consistency. Spread in the shape of a heart on top of each muffin.


heart-shaped cranberry muffins


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  1. Brittany says on February 8, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Gah these are too cute, I love the heart on top. I used to LOVE Valentines day in elementary school! I still love the day, but nothing beats getting those valentines from your classmates and having a party!

    • foods for the soul says on February 8, 2013 at 10:40 am

      Thanks!! I loved those class parties too. We’d make and decorate “mailboxes” out of shoe boxes and stick a Valentine (plus candy) in each person’s. Plus there was always plenty of chocolate kisses that the parents brought in!

  2. shopezshop says on February 8, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Reblogged this on Shop Easy and commented:
    These look delicious!!!

  3. Liz says on February 8, 2013 at 10:38 am

    The Valentine’s Fairy comes to our house:-) Wonder if she’s related to your Cupid Fairy? Love your muffins–sweet stuff.

    • foods for the soul says on February 8, 2013 at 10:40 am

      Thank you! I certainly had fun making (and eating) them. And I’ll bet the two fairies are sisters!

  4. smileycook says on February 8, 2013 at 11:02 am

    ADORABLE is all I can say! I love this :-)

    • foods for the soul says on February 8, 2013 at 11:40 am

      Thank you!! I really channeled my inner little girl while I was making these. (My guy left the house for the entire day! ;])

      • smileycook says on February 9, 2013 at 7:25 am

        aww how cute! I bet when he came back he enjoyed every bit of it!

        • foods for the soul says on February 9, 2013 at 11:52 am

          He tried really hard not to like them, but when I offered him a bite of my muffin, he ended up eating the entire thing himself! Silly boy… :]

          • smileycook says on February 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm

            Haha boys will be boys 😉

          • foods for the soul says on February 9, 2013 at 5:54 pm

            So true… But at least he admits when he’s wrong about my baking! Can’t get much better than that!

  5. kelseyruns says on February 8, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    These are so cute! I’m definitely making these for Valentines day :)

    • foods for the soul says on February 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      Thank you!! I liked how they were easy to make ahead, and they were even sweeter the next day. Plus who can resist all of the pink and red? ;] Hope you enjoy them on your Valentine’s Day!

  6. BekAtCrave says on February 8, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    These are TOO cute! Stop it woman :) Love it! Your V day’s sound so exciting, we never did anything special for Valentine’s day really unless it was with our partners/bfs

    • foods for the soul says on February 8, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      Thanks!! I mainly celebrated Valentine’s Day with my family. My mom and I are such big chocolate lovers that we couldn’t pass up a holiday that encouraged us to consume mass amounts of it!

  7. helpwithyourlife says on February 9, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    Cute, yummie and sweet! Love this post!

    • foods for the soul says on February 9, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      Thanks! I didn’t want to eat them at first since they were so pretty, but then I couldn’t stop because they were so delicious! Baking is such a hard life, isn’t it? ;]

  8. Lisa says on February 10, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    I was thinking of trying this marble-idea to make cupcakes for my students for Valentine’s Day! I wonder how they could get more of a heart shape.

    • foods for the soul says on February 10, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      Your students must love you if you bring in baked goods on holidays! I wasn’t able to figure out how to get more of a point for the base of the heart, but maybe if you stuck two marbles into each muffin cup, the top of the heart might be more pronounced. Worth a shot!

      • Lisa says on February 10, 2013 at 9:14 pm

        I will definitely be trying it this week and I’ll let you know how it goes. :)

  9. Nahren Shamoka says on February 10, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    These look wonderful! I noticed they were hearts right away, but I really enjoyed that pac-man reference/comment. I love your story, I really enjoy Valentine’s day, but it’s never been romantic with my luck, just happy with friends!

    • foods for the soul says on February 11, 2013 at 11:28 am

      Thanks! My guy said the muffins reminded him of pac-man when I pulled them out of the oven, so I put the icing on top for the photos… As long as Valentine’s Day involves lots chocolate, it’s a good day — regardless of whether it’s romantic!

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