Each year on February 14th, many people exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine.” The day of romance we call Valentine’s Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century, but has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia.
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The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.
Did you know that nearly 150 million cards are exchanged each Valentine’s Day? Or that more than 40,000 American are employed at chocolate companies? Explore these and dozens more Valentine’s Day facts about cards, chocolate, flowers and candy, the hallmarks of St. Valentine’s Day.
In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.
Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.”
Find our more at History dot com.
I’ve created vanilla Valentine’s Day cupcakes with pink buttercream frosting for the little loves in my life.
I started with a vanilla cupcake mix from Simple Mills.
Simple Mills began out of necessity and a desire for food that is simple, healthy, and delicious.
In her very own living room in North Carolina, Katlin made the very first Simple Mills muffin mixes one-by-one, using intentional ingredients that made her feel great, such at Almond Flour.
Did you know that Almonds are part of the same family as peaches, plums, cherries, and nectarines? Almonds trees grow from November through February to build up all of their nutrients for the next year’s crop. Toward the end, they burst into beautiful flowers that blanket the fields in light pink and white, similar to cherry blossoms. Almonds continue to mature through the months following bloom and are then harvested.
At Simple Mills, they love almonds because of the nutritional punch they pack. With 6 grams of protein per ounce, low glycemic index and the 12 vitamins and minerals they contain. Almonds are one of the most nutrient-rich nuts on the planet. Almonds are a good source of Vitamin E (great for healthy skin and eyes), magnesium (helps digestive health), protein (keeps you fuller longer), and potassium (essential for maintaining normal blood pressure). What’s not to love about that? Learn more here.
I mixed the vanilla cupcake mix according to directions. Filled each cupcake pan cup 2/3 of the way full and baked until a toothpick inserted was clean about 12 minutes. Once the cupcakes were removed from the oven I remove each cupcake from the pan and placed on a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
While the cupcakes cooled I mixed up a batch of Buttercream Icing.
Buttercream Icing Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted BUTTER softened (not melted)
2 cups confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 + tablespoons coconut milk (or regular milk)
In a large mixing bowl (I use a stand mixer) place the room temperature unsalted butter and whip until smooth. Stop mixer, add the powdered sugar and mix on the LOWEST setting until combined and then whip on med speed until smooth. Stop mixer. Slice the vanilla bean pod down the center and using the blade of a knife scrape the filling of the vanilla bean pod out and place the vanilla bean filling in the mixer with the whipped butter & confectioner’s sugar mixture. Place 2-4 tablespoons of coconut milk in the mixing bowl with the mixture as well. Set the mixer to slow and combine ingredients. If the mixture seems stiff; adding in a spoonful of coconut milk at a time until whipped smooth or if the mixture isn’t thick enough you can add in more confectioner’s sugar until your buttercream icing reaches the desired consistently you will need to meet your icing needs. Add a very small amount of icing tint or food coloring and mix until thoroughly combined. Add a bit more until you reach the correct color desired.
Using wide star icing tip, starting in the center of each cupcake place a dollop of icing and work from the center out to create a paper rose upon each cupcake. While the icing is still moist sprinkle with desired sprinkles.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
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