It’s time again to enjoy some delicious Hanson treats in honor of our delicious Hanson men. The occasion this time is Valentine’s Day, but you could make them for a livestream viewing party, street team event, birthday, anniversary of your favorite Hanson album, or just because you like sweet things.
Or because you want to force your coworkers to watch the video for “Give a Little”. Totally legitimate reason for baking.
So come on, heart breakers. Let’s get baking.
Since Back to the Island just happened last month I wanted to make something tropical and colorful to bring the island back home. I came up with BTTI Strawberry Pineapple Macarons (or Zacarons, which is much more fun to say) and they were a hit. I added a few drops of strawberry extract to the macaron batter and then filled with cookies with this pineapple buttercream. My coworkers love macarons and they’re the perfect fancy treat for people who can’t have gluten.
If you aren’t quite ready to tackle macarons then strawberry cupcakes with pineapple frosting would also be delicious. And had I done this baking prior to reading about this year’s Fools Banquet, I might have made some Crime of Passionfruit Macarons, so there’s something else to play with. Thank you, Isaac.
Next, I had to make something Bittersweet, so I made Bittersweet Chocolate Chip cookies. So much for gluten-free I used this Guittard recipe and threw in a tablespoon of black cocoa powder, because now that I know it exists I want to use it all the time.
And speaking of black cocoa powder, I’ve been drooling over the recipes in my new Baked Occasions book, including one for Black Chocolate Heart Cakes which I turned into Hanson Conversation Heart Cakes. The recipe itself is easy to follow, and then you make a big sheet cake and use heart-shaped cookie cutters to make little conversation heart cakes. Simple right? NO! Not simple. In fact, it was misery.
Cake frosting and decorating are easily my weakest skill in the kitchen and I should have known that this would be a mess. I did the crumb layer (that’s when you do a thin layer of frosting first, and refrigerate the cake, to keep the crumbs from going all over when you do the thicker layer of frosting) but the crumbs still went everywhere. And trying to frost around the curvy part of the hearts was a pain. And there were a bunch of them, so it took forever.
I should really stick to bundt cakes.
In the end I got them mostly frosted and then I decorated them with Hanson song titles that sounded like conversation hearts (“Call Me”, “On and On”, “If Only”, etc.). I’d love to see someone with way better decorating skills do this and get it right.
The cakes were delicious though with their cream cheese frosting, and nobody had any complaints about eating them. In fact, they were coming back for more.
Valentine’s Day seems like a good time to break out the cinnamon and spice things up – or get your baked goods Fired Up – and that’s what I did with these Fired Up Red Hot Cupcakes. I found this idea on Pinterest and it’s pretty simple. Start with a white cake mix, crush up some Red Hot candies, then combine. The Red Hots didn’t grind up as easily as I thought they would, even in my sturdy food processor, so maybe do them in small batches. Set some of them aside to add to the frosting as well, and keep a few whole ones to decorate the tops.
And if your cupcakes still aren’t Fired Up enough for you, make them a little hotter with your favorite pictures of the guys. (I put them on toothpicks.)
One of my favorite songs is Zac’s “This Is the Jam”. It seems to be about his pure love of music and performing and I love how he lets loose with his voice in it. The boy can wail. So although they’re more Downton Abbey than rock and roll, I had to make some This is the Jam Tarts. If it’s closer to Halloween you could make Monster Jam Tarts and add googly candy eyes. Jam muffins also sound good.
The jam tart recipe is here. I’d never made tarts before, despite owning many tart pans, and now that I’ve tried it once I think I would do a better job of pressing down the tart dough for a more even bottom next time.
My dough came out a little dry and I was mostly concerned with having it stick to the sides so they would keep their shape when they came out of the pan, and as a result the edges were extra thick. I like a nice crunch, so they were fine, but a thicker bottom would be good, too. Then you could call them Fat Bottom Tarts and we could watch Hanson lip sync to Queen.
I love those videos. They have such a goofy time together.
My final dessert was going to be Get So Low-fat Cheesecake, but who wants low-fat cheesecake? That sounds terrible. So I made a regular Pear Ginger Cheesecake, because it’s an office favorite. Follow Martha’s directions but use an extra half cup of gingersnap crumbs and a little more butter for a really nice crust. Delicious.
I’ve covered a lot of Hanson ground in the past, so if the thought of making these desserts doesn’t keep you up all night, have a look at some of my other ideas:
- Baking for Halloween: Hanson Style
- Baking for All This Love Crap: It’s Valentine’s Day, Hanson Style
- Baking for Christmas: It’s Another Hanson Holiday Party!
What’s the next Hanson holiday on your calendar? Let me know.
Burning up red hot like kerosene,