If you don't want to overindulge this Valentine's Day, there are two adorable treats you can add to your plate. Edible chocolate and strawberry ladybugs are a healthy (and easy) Valentine's Day dessert, and edible tomato and olive ladybugs make a great low-sugar Valentine's Day appetizer or snack for the kids.
So many Valentine's Day recipes seem to be on sugar overload. These two versions of adorable (and edible) ladybugs provide both sweet and savory treats that are so delightful you won't even notice that they're actually healthy.
Yields 10 of each
For tomato bugs
For strawberry bugs
Assemble your ingredients. If you are making both sets of bugs, I suggest making the strawberries first so the chocolate can harden while you make the tomato bugs.
Heat the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute. Stir. Heat an additional 30 – 45 seconds, and stir until smooth. Spoon 1/3 of the chocolate into a frosting bag fitted with a #3 piping tip (you can also use a sandwich bag with a corner snipped off). Pipe 10 pairs of antennae onto a plate lined with waxed paper. Place the plate in the freezer for at least 5 minutes.
Remove the leaves from the strawberries, and dip their tips into the melted chocolate remaining in the bowl. Press 2 candy eyes into the chocolate on each strawberry. I recommend placing your strawberries directly onto the plate or platter you will be serving them on, as they may stick once they harden.
Use your frosting bag of chocolate to pipe a line down the center of each strawberry and 5 or 6 dots on each side of the line.
Remove the antennae from the freezer, and peel them off. Press 1 pair into the chocolate, right above the eyes of each bug. You can use a little extra chocolate from your frosting bag if you need to. Place the strawberry bugs in the fridge to firm the chocolate.
Once the chocolate has hardened, fill a small bowl with hot water. Dip a knife into the water, wipe it dry, and use it to press the dots flat. Repeat until all the dots are flattened.
Now let's start on treat number two — assembling the tomato ladybugs. Start by slicing the tomatoes into quarters. If your tomatoes are slightly oblong like mine, make sure to slice them lengthwise. I find that a serrated knife (like a bread knife) gives the cleanest cut.
Slice 1/3 off the ends of your olives — make sure it's the end with the big hole. You can use those ends for something else.
Place 2 tomato quarters and 1 olive together to form the wings and head of the ladybug.
Place 2 (1-inch) pieces of parsley stem into the "X" on each olive to form your ladybugs' antennae.
Mix some black food coloring into the cream cheese, and add water about 1/4 teaspoon at a time until the cream cheese is smooth and easy to mix. Spoon the cream cheese into a frosting bag fitted with a #3 tip (again, you could use a sandwich bag with a corner snipped off). Pipe spots onto each tomato segment.
Now share your sweet strawberry and savory tomato ladybugs with your valentine.
Updated by Bethany Ramos on 1/18/16
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