Hugs & kisses guaranteed

Published 3:44 pm Wednesday, April 24, 2013

By Jennifer Levisen

In my house, the statement, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” is true regardless of age. Whether he is 31 years old or 19 months — if it’s food — he is putty in my hands. Better yet, if that food happens to be a homemade sweet treat that’s still warm from the oven.

Photo of raspberry cream cheese tarts by Kelli Lageson.

Photo of raspberry cream cheese tarts by Kelli Lageson.

Before our son was born, my husband and I made the commitment to make our own baby food and to use organic, locally grown products as often as we could. My in-law’s garden and love of canning and freezing makes that very easy, but as our son is getting older we’ve run into a few snags when it comes to dessert. Should he have it, should he not?

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Sweets are inevitable and a fun part of life, whether it is a birthday cupcake, M&Ms from Santa or an ice cream treat on a warm afternoon. We want our son to have a healthy relationship with food and to grow up enjoying all of the things we did as kids. So I make everyone happy by making some desserts at home. I know exactly what ingredients are used, my husband gets to volunteer as taste tester, and our son doesn’t miss out.

The kitchen is the heart of our home and for me, cooking for my family is a wonderful expression of love. This recipe is guaranteed to get any wife, girlfriend, sister, friend, grandma or mama as many kisses and hugs as she can handle!


 Raspberry-cream cheese heart tarts

Makes about 10 tarts


1/2 cup fresh or defrosted frozen raspberries

1/4 cup whipped cream cheese

1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar

1 14-ounce premade pie crust


10 fresh or defrosted frozen raspberries

1 tablespoon milk or water

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


1. Place the raspberries, cream cheese and honey in a bowl. Using the back of a fork, mash the raspberries with the cream cheese, leaving some of the raspberry pieces intact.

2. Roll out the pie crust to 1/4-inch thick and, using a heart-shaped cookie cutter about the size of your fist, cut out about 20 heart shapes.

3. Place one heart on a lightly floured work surface and place 2 teaspoons of the cream cheese mixture in the center, leaving a 1/4-inch border.

4. Lightly dip your index finger into a cup of water and “brush” the border with water. This will allow the two sides of the heart to adhere to each other.

5. Top with another cutout heart. With the tines of a fork, gently press down along the edges to adhere the two sides, making sure not to press so hard that the cream cheese mixture goes beyond the boundary of the pastry heart. With a toothpick, poke some holes in the top of the heart to remove any air pockets.

6. Repeat to make the rest of the heart tarts.

7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

8. Place the tarts on parchment paper or Silpat on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden. Set the tarts aside to cool.

9. While the hearts are baking, make the icing. Place the raspberries in a strainer and press down with the back of a spoon to release the raspberry juice into a bowl. You should have about 2 tablespoons of juice.

10. Whisk in the milk or water and slowly whisk in the powdered sugar.

11. When the tarts are cool, use a spoon to spread the raspberry icing over the hearts to serve.


— Recipe adapted from Catherine McCord’s Weelicious cookbook. For more information go to