Fancy, frilly Valentine's Day greeting cards; assorted handmade chocolates in a quilted, heart-shaped candy box; a bouquet of deep red roses - all of these are wonderful ways to say "I love you" on Valentine's Day.

But even better is to send your Valentine message in a unique way with something lusciously creamy, something irresistibly sweet - something you made yourself. Like tartlets with an almond-scented vanilla filling; dark, rich chocolate brownies, some with the ruby kiss of tart, red raspberry; truffles in chocolate, amaretto or rum; or thin, sweet crepes rolled around creamy chocolate and served with a scattering of fresh fruits.

This year Valentine's Day is on Friday, which gives everyone a three-day weekend to celebrate and prepare these special foods. Happily, you don't have to spend all day creating these Valentine confections. With a little help from sweetened condensed milk, you can make creamy truffles, rich brownies, flavorful tartlets and the luscious filled crepes. Sweetened condensed milk makes it easy to create sweet memories in minutes.

It's easy to set the mood with a few simple details - a lace table cloth, pretty pink or red napkins, candles and fresh flowers - all create the feeling of romance.

What better way to say "Be my Valentine!"

Materials for this page courtesy of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk. For more easy desserts, log on to the free recipe club at

Chocolate 'Moose'

Makes 2 parfait glasses.

1 bag milk or dark chocolate hearts

2 cups whipping cream, divided

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or other pure extract such as orange or almond)

Place 50 chocolate hearts in heat-proof bowl. Heat one cup whipping cream until hot but not boiling. Pour cream over chocolate and stir until chocolate is completely melted. Cool to room temperature. Whip remaining cup of cream with sugar and vanilla or other extract until fluffy with soft peaks. Gently fold into cooled chocolate until well blended.

Pour into individual parfait glasses or cups and chill at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

Before serving, decorate each dessert cup with a dollop of whipped cream and one or two unwrapped chocolate hearts.

Chocolate Cream Crepes

Prep Time: 10 minutes plus assembling

Chilling Time: 15 minutes

Makes 5 servings

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)

1/4 cup cold water

1 (4-serving size) package instant chocolate pudding mix

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup whipping cream, whipped

1 (41/2-ounce) package ready-to-use crepes (10 crepes)

Sifted powdered sugar

11/2 cups sliced or cut up fresh fruit, such as strawberries, peaches, nectarines and/or kiwi fruit

White chocolate curls, optional

With mixer, beat sweetened condensed milk and water in large bowl. Beat in pudding mix and cocoa powder. Fold in whipped cream. Cover and chill 15 minutes.

Pipe or spoon a generous 1/3 cup filling into center of each crepe. Roll up each crepe. Place on serving plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Spoon fruit over crepes. Garnish with white chocolate if desired.

Double Chocolate Valentine Brownies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 35 minutes

Makes 12 (3-inch) hearts

11/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter or margarine

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 (8-ounce) milk chocolate bar, broken into chunks

3/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 13x9-inch baking pan with foil; set aside.

In medium bowl, combine 1 cup flour and sugar; cut in butter until crumbly. Press firmly on bottom of prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes.

In large bowl, beat sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, egg, remaining 1/4 cup flour, vanilla and baking powder. Stir in chocolate chunks and nuts. Spread over baked crust. Bake 20 minutes or until set.

Cool. Use foil to lift out of pan. For hearts, cut with heart-shaped cookie cutter or, with knife, cut around waxed paper heart shape. Or cut into bars. Decorate with icing or gels if desired. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Valentine Tarts

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Chilling Time: 1 hour

Makes 12 servings

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)

2/3 cup milk

Few drops vanilla or almond extract

1 (4-serving size) package instant vanilla pudding mix

4 ounces (one-half 8-ounce container) frozen whipped topping, thawed

2 (4-ounce) packages single serve graham cracker pie crusts

In large mixing bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, milk and vanilla extract.

With mixer, beat in pudding mix. Fold in whipped topping.

Spoon into pie crusts. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Garnish as desired. Refrigerate leftovers.

Brownie Raspberry Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 20 minutes

Chilling Time: 1 hour

Makes 36 to 48 bars

1 cup (6 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup margarine or butter

2 cups biscuit baking mix

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk (NOT evaporated milk)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped nuts

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

1/2 cup red raspberry preserves

Red food coloring, optional

Chocolate Drizzle

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In small saucepan, over low heat, melt chips with margarine.

In large mixer bowl, combine melted chips, biscuit mix, sweetened condensed milk, egg and vanilla; mix well. Stir in nuts. Turn into well-greased 15x10-inch baking pan.

Bake 20 minutes or until center is set. Cool thoroughly. In small mixer bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, preserves and food coloring, if desired, until smooth; spread over brownies. Garnish with Chocolate Drizzle. Chill. Cut into bars. Store covered in refrigerator.

Chocolate Drizzle: Melt 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon shortening. Immediately drizzle over bars.


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