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Cupid understands that it's the people we care about every day--and those who care about us--who are our valentines. Best friends, running buddies, office mates, parents and children touch our hearts on a daily basis.

Why not say "you mean the world to me" this Valentine's Day by stirring up something special for those you cherish? Start with these sweet ideas made for sharing and fun activities for the family. A multitude of bright, festive ideas--invitations, gift tags and more to download--that will fire your creative spirit can be found at BrightIdeas.com.

Gather the gang

Have the family get together to make sweet favors--perfect for school or the office--and make Lovepops: Bake heart-shaped sugar cookies on a stick, frost with red or pink icing and decorate with M&M's.

Heart-felt parties

Make your sweet holiday celebration fun, unforgettable and full of spice.

--Host a "Couples Dinner Party," and have everyone attend in cocktail attire or black tie. Right before you serve dessert, have the men at the table switch seats--it's a great way to mix and mingle with your guests!

--Masquerade Parties are great for all ages--try hosting a Venetian Masquerade for adults and a fun and festive "make your own mask" party for kids.

--For a quick and inexpensive romantic touch to your dinner for two--scatter rose petals across your tabletop. To set a really sweet mood, scatter Valentine's M&M's with rose petals.

--Create lively conversation by printing a famous love quote underneath each guest's name; place a Dove Rich Dark Chocolate Heart next to each card.

Create the perfect date night

Valentine's Day should be celebrated with that special someone. To plan the perfect date night, check out indulgent and romantic ideas at http://www.brightideas.com/valentines/date.

Bright ideas for every season

Don't miss out on creative fun designed especially for every season. Sign up for seasonal newsletters, special recipes just for you, entertaining party ideas complete with invitations and party favors. All entertaining, all the time. Visit www.BrightIdeas.com for tastefully sweet ideas for every year round celebrations.

Mocha Delight


4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 22.5 ounce box brownie mix


3 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee


1 bag Dove Rich Dark Chocolate Hearts
1 cup whipped cream or topping

Heat oven to 350 F. Line bottom of 9-inch springform pan with waxed paper; grease. Add melted butter to graham cracker crumbs and press into bottom of pan. Prepare brownie mix according to package directions; spread over crumbs. Bake until firm, approximately 35 to 50 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven to a wire rack; cool completely and remove cake from pan. Meanwhile, prepare frosting: Whisk egg whites and sugar together over simmering water until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; using electric mixer, beat until cooled. Add butter one nugget at a time while continuing to beat. Dissolve espresso in 2 tablespoons warm water. Beat espresso into frosting. Frost top and sides of cake. Snip small corner of a resealable plastic bag; place whipped cream inside. Pipe 8 rosettes around outside edges of cake. Place a chocolate heart atop each rosette. To serve, place 8 chocolate hearts in a small, resealable plastic bag. Microwave until melted, about 15 seconds. Cut a corner of bag; randomly drizzle chocolate on dessert plates. Place a cake wedge on each plate. Makes 16 slices.

Tunnel of Love


1 bag Dove Rich Dark Chocolate Hearts
3 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream


1 bag Dove Rich Dark Chocolate Hearts
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan, set aside. Combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt in mixing bowl, set aside. In separate bowl, microwave 1 bag chocolate hearts until melted (about 1 1/2 minutes), stopping to stir occasionally; set aside. In large bowl, beat shortening, sugar and orange zest until fluffy; add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In another bowl, combine milk and sour cream. With electric mixer on low, alternately add flour and milk mixtures into shortening mixture, beating until smooth. Stir 1 cup cake batter into cooled melted chocolate; set aside. Spoon half of plain batter into bottom of prepared pan; cover with all the chocolate batter; top with remaining plain batter. Bake 55 to 60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven to wire rack; cool completely. For glaze: From 1 bag chocolate hearts, set aside 8. In microwave-safe bowl, combine remaining chocolate hearts, corn syrup and heavy cream. Heat 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently until smooth. Cool slightly. Remove cake from pan to wire rack set over sheet pan covered with waxed paper. Spoon glaze over cake, allowing excess to drip. Decorate with reserved chocolate hearts. Makes 24 servings.

Date: 1/29/07

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