Every single Valentine's Day, my mom breaks out her heart-shaped cake pans to make a double-layer chocolate cake with vanilla frosting - tinted pink - with its perimeter lined with red cinnamon hearts. She has been doing this since I was a child and, to this day, still enjoys celebrating Valentine's Day to the hilt.
For as long as I can remember, Martha has always advocated the celebration of Valentine's Day, whether it's with your family or your sweetheart. February editions of her magazines and episodes of her television shows have provided an endless array of ideas for cooking and entertaining and crafting for this most amorous of holidays.
For people like my mom - and many of you out there, too - Martha will satiate your heart-shaped cravings this year with a fairly extensive line of Valentine's Day merchandise at Macy's, some of which I "heart" quite a bit.
Among the classics is this timeless heart-shaped, enameled, cast-iron casserole, which comes in pink and also a deep red. At two quarts, it's perfect for a delicious peach and berry crumble or a hearty stew for two!
As a variation on a theme, Martha created a set of four glazed ceramic cocottes in festive colours. Perfect for individual servings, these cocottes will make any Valentine's Day celebration a little bit brighter.
Martha suggests using them for a chocolate fondue for four, which I kind of love. A platter of marshmallows, berries, macarons and squares of pound cake are the perfect fodder. To make the chocolate sauce, chop one pound of bittersweet chocolate and place into a saucepan; add two cups of heavy cream and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the chocolate has melted and the mixture begins to thicken. Ladle into the cocottes and serve!
Left: a set of four dozen cupcake liners in festive heart-shaped themes: 48 heart-shaped paper toppers included. Right: an oversized, heart-shaped cookie cutter made of copper coated stainless steel.
Left: a heart bunt pan with ten-cup capacity and non-stick coating for a glamorous cake. Right: a set of three ceramic nesting bowls for candies and nuts.
Martha partnered with Tovolo to create this hearts-on-a-skewer ice-cube tray, which is sold in a set of two. They are made of rubberized silicone for easy removal.
It can get hot and steamy on Valentine's Day, so be sure you're prepared! A cute heart-themed pot holder and a "LOVE" trivet made of copper-coated wire will offer protection.
Whimsical! A wood-handled spatula with a heart motif could certainly run away with this spoon: a handsome Beechwood variety with a heart-shaped opening. Center: Bring your colleagues homemade treats on Valentine's Day in this set of festive melamine storage containers with lids.
Fans of snail mail - and the always-in-fashion love letter - will fall head over heels for this set of three dish towels embellished with painterly details and pretty script: 100% cotton.
To find out all the details on these products, click here.
ORIGINS OF THE HEART SHAPE:
The origin of the 'heart shape' dates back centuries and some historians trace it to the seedpod of the Silphium plant, which was used for medicinal purposes in the 1200's in the North African continent and the ancient Greek colony of Cyrene. Its seeds were idolized and early depictions of its shape bear a striking resemblance to the modern-day heart shape we now associate with love and Valentine's Day.
Other scholars, such as Pierre Vinken and Martin Kemp have argued that the symbol has its roots in the writings of Galen and the philosopher Aristotle, who described the human heart as having three chambers with a small dent in the middle. According to this theory, the heart shape may have been born when artists and scientists from the Middle Ages attempted to draw representations of the heart in medical texts. Because of its poetic associations with human emotion and pleasure, the heart shape eventually became a symbol of love.