Don't be that guy (or girl) who settles for any of these unforgivable last-minute Walgreens candies (or, worse, a teddy bear holding a heart.) If you're reading this blog, chances are you have particular culinary taste -- and probably so does your valentine.
If your date appreciates a sugar fix and you haven't yet figured out how to sate that, no worries. You'll score double brownie points (horrible pun intended) when you present your lucky recipient with these goodies, which are all the products of independent local businesses.
Anybody can get one of those franchise "bouquets" of dry sugar cookies crusted in royal icing, but you can support a family business and charity with a gift from a new business, Cookie Couture. The baked goods businesses is run by Ana Toledo and daughters Jael and Cindy, who hand-make buttery cookies to order and sandwich them with your choice of creamy filling -- Nutella, guava, dulce de leche, and more.
The feel-good twist? Jael is a behaviorist for children with autism and other challenges, and commercial cookie orders fund the other side of the organization, which donates catering to charity events for nonprofits like Miami Children's Hospital. You can order a signature box, a mini box, or just a single cookie, and online orders will be fulfilled within 48 hours -- so if you click now, there's still time! Visit cookie-couture.com or call 305-763-7020.
Cupcakes are good any time -- and for V-day, really, any moist morsel of cake will do -- but a couple of Short Order favorites have released some limited-edition flavors available just until the holiday.
Sweetness Bakeshop in Kendall (9549 Sunset Drive, Miami) has created four limited-edition flavors. Highlights are two fruity selections: "PASSIONately in Love" (double-chocolate cake filled with passion fruit curd and topped with passion fruit buttercream) the "Chocolate-Covered Strawberry" (chocolate cake filled with strawberry and topped with strawberry swiss meringue buttercream).
Sweetness does brisk business so pre-orders are recommended, but though it's usually closed on Monday, it will be open on V-Day in case you didn't exactly get around to picking up the phone in advance. Visit sweetnessbakeshop.net or call 305-271-7791.
Meanwhile, 2 Girls and a Cupcake start off their weekend retail hours at their Hialeah Gardens space (9805 NW 80th Ave., R-13) this weekend in honor of the day of love. (Or in honor of anti-love -- check out this screw-V-Day custom order they just made.) Click here for the full list of special flavors, whose highlights include the "First Date" (spiced chocolate cupcake, rose water-infused frosting topped with caramelized rose petals) and the "Queen of Hearts" (rum-raisin cupcake topped with cinnamon buttercream).
You can place a custom order until 10:58 p.m. this Friday, February 12. Meanwhile the storefront will be open from noon to 4 p.m. this Saturday, February 12, and from 4 to 8 p.m. this Sunday, February 13, and the first 14 people to show up each day get a free 2GC-themed truffle. Visit 2girlsandacupcake.info or call 786-287-8587.
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The Valentine's classic! Why bother relying Godiva or (eek) Russell Stover when there are more unique confections to be had? The recent Chocolate Festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden served as a Valentine's day pre-show, with a number of local chocolatiers displaying their wares.
A personal favorite is past New Times Best Of Miami winner Romanicos, but any of these others will satisfy tastes from mild to daring -- check out this spread of chocolate photos from the festival, which includes contact information for confectioners from South Miami- Dade to Broward.