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Here are some suggestions for cooking up romance

MCT - Express your Valentine's feelings with a cookie imprinted with, perhaps, 'Hugs' or 'Be Mine' or 'Kiss Me' or any of the other five sayings on these Conversation Heart Cookie Cutters from Chicago Metallic. MCT
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>MCT</em></div>Express your Valentine's feelings with a cookie imprinted with, perhaps, 'Hugs' or 'Be Mine' or 'Kiss Me' or any of the other five sayings on these Conversation Heart Cookie Cutters from Chicago Metallic.  MCT
MCT - Expect nothing less than exotic from Vosges Haut-Chocolat's Valentine-themed Crush Collection. The aphrodisiac-inspired truffles boast spices, crushed flowers, spirits (Swiss absinthe, Dominican rum) and a few outrageous items (edible pearl dust, kumamoto oyster-infused cream, etc.) Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>MCT</em></div>Expect nothing less than exotic from Vosges Haut-Chocolat's Valentine-themed Crush Collection. The aphrodisiac-inspired truffles boast spices, crushed flowers, spirits (Swiss absinthe, Dominican rum) and a few outrageous items (edible pearl dust, kumamoto oyster-infused cream, etc.)   Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT
MCT - Let Florida pastry chef-TV celeb Hedy Goldsmith help you bake something sweet for loved ones with her 'Baking Out Loud: Fun Desserts with Big Flavors' (Clarkson Potter, $27.50)/ Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>MCT</em></div>Let Florida pastry chef-TV celeb Hedy Goldsmith help you bake something sweet for loved ones with her 'Baking Out Loud: Fun Desserts with Big Flavors' (Clarkson Potter, $27.50)/   Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune/MCT
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Make an impression: Say it with a cookie imprinted with, perhaps, “Hugs” or “Be Mine” or “Kiss Me” or any of the other five sayings on these Conversation Heart Cookie Cutters from Chicago Metallic. One side of each cutter cuts out a heart-shaped cookie from a basic dough (such as sugar cookie), while the other side makes the impression. You get to decorate with icings. A set of eight plastic cutters costs $20. For a store locater or to buy, go to surlatable.com.

Have a Valentine's Crush: Expect nothing less than exotic from Vosges Haut-Chocolat's Valentine-themed Crush Collection. The aphrodisiac-inspired truffles boast spices, crushed flowers, spirits (Swiss absinthe, Dominican rum) and a few outrageous items (edible pearl dust, Kumamoto oyster-infused cream, etc.) Two favorites: Edith (champagne, rosewater, crushed rosebud poudre) and Funk & Disco (banana puree, vanilla powder). A 16-piece, eight-flavor box is $55. For a store locater or to buy, go to vosgeschocolate.com.

Sweet ideas for baking: Let Florida pastry chef-TV celeb Hedy Goldsmith (“Desserts make everything seem right in the world.”) help you bake something sweet for loved ones with her “Baking Out Loud: Fun Desserts With Big Flavors” (Clarkson Potter, $27.50). Perhaps you'll make mochaccino whoopie pies or red velvet twinks or giant sesame fortune cookies (with your choice of love fortune tucked inside). At amazon.com.

Soak up history

A History of Gin class will be held Wednesday evening at Wigle Whiskey in the Strip District. The producer of wheat and rye whiskeys also makes a Genever-style gin, which is a whiskey-rooted drink different from the current gins. The class will look at the beginning of gins in the 1700s, its use as an anti-scurvy medicine in the English navy and its development as a cocktail favorite.

Munchies and samples of Wigle drinks will be offered at the class that starts 6:30 p.m. Admission is $30. Details: www.wiglewhiskey.com/history-gin or 412-728-0053

App-solutely helpful

For those just learning to cook or experimenting with new recipes, the Allrecipes Video Cookbook app is tops.

It's one thing to read instructions, but watching a video that leads you through the entire process can give you even more insight about a dish. Plus, sometimes recipes leave out details that a novice cook may not already know. Watching someone else make the recipe can also improve your basic skills like chopping, kneading or folding, which can cause problems with the final product.

The free app includes more than 700 how-to videos and more than 40,000 recipes.

— Staff and wire reports

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