How To: Make a Big Red Heart

Mrs. Fields Catalog

If you receive our catalog, you may have already noticed the big red heart featured in our photo shoot. For such a show-stopping piece, we were surprised to learn how easy it is to make! In a collaboration with Megan Bailey of Little Peanut Magazine and photographer Becky Kimball, we’re bringing you several great ideas and how to’s over the coming weeks to create unforgettable Valentine’s Day details and fun parties.

So let’s start with that big red heart, the perfect statement piece for a Valentine party. Behind a table, it sets the stage with eye-catching charm, and it’s made from only a few simple items. Here’s what you’ll need:

The Big Red Heart
designed by Megan Bailey

2×2 wood poles
chicken wire
red paper napkins

Directions
Start with the wood poles, which you can find at any home improvement store, and cut them to size. (Don’t be afraid to go big!) Nail them together to create a frame. Wrap the chicken wire across the frame and secure it in place with a staple gun.

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Finally, open up each napkin and shape it into a V-shaped flare (think badminton shuttlecock), and tuck the point into the chicken wire to secure it. Add as many napkins as necessary to create a full heart shape.

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Start with an outline, then work to fill it all in.

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SLPMrsFields121

And voila! Easy as that, and now you have the perfect frame base for any holiday- just change the shape and color. Think white for weddings, big block letters for a birthday—the sky is the limit!

{All images by Becky Kimball}

Recipe: Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies

Mrs. Fields Secrets Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies

Listen up, valentines. Today’s recipe is love at first bite. It will make your heart skip a beat, send you over the moon, and every other romantic cliché in the book. These are velvety, cakey cookies with bits of chocolate and just the right amount of chew. That’s right, this is a cookie designed for love. Make a batch for someone you love (or someone you hope to love). They are more reliable than cupid’s arrow.

Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon half-and-half
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup regular chocolate chips (for garnish)

Directions
In a medium bowl, stir the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together, then set aside. In a stand mixer, whip the butter on high speed until creamy and light. Add both sugars to the butter and beat until well combined. Add the egg, milk and vanilla (scraping down the sides as needed), then stir in food coloring until well combined. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix on low until a soft dough with a cakey texture is formed. Stir in the mini chocolate chips, then cover and chill dough for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place on a prepared baking sheet, then press the tops gently with your fingers to create a little bit of a flat top. (This will help them spread more evenly.) Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the tops have even cracks across the surface. Remove and gently tap a few regular chocolate chips into the warm surface for garnish. Transfer to a cooling rack. Makes 18-24 cookies, depending on size.

Fine Cookies, Fine Art

Move over, fruit bowl, there’s a new muse for fine art. It’s no secret that we draw inspiration from cookies, but check out these artists who literally draw inspiration from cookies…

Artist: Faith Te

Cookie Art

Artist: Debra Alouise

Artist: Hall Groat II

Artist: Darren Maurer

Artist: Patianne Stevenson

Artist: JJ Galloway

Artist: Angela Moulton

Artist: Faith Te

Artist: Tom Brown

Artist: Marina Petro

The Best Frosting Recipes for Cakes and Cookies

Mrs. Fields Frosted Cookies

Everybody knows that the frosting can make or break your favorite cakes and cookies. Get it wrong and hours of work is lost. Get it right and people are lifting you on their shoulders and naming streets in your honor. (Or so we hear.) Make your frosting always hit the mark by using our handy guide for finding the best match for your cakes and cookies.

For Cakes

Old-Fashioned Vanilla Frosting – This light, fluffy frosting can be colored (or left a soft off-white). You can also substitute the vanilla with almond flavoring.
Use it on: chocolate cake, red velvet cake, cupcakes

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting – This silky frosting has great texture and deep flavor, perfect for piping or spreading. Use real cream for best results and keep it refrigerated.
Use it on: chocolate cake, yellow cakes, berry cakes, cupcakes

Quick Chocolate Frosting – This lighter-than-air quick frosting takes only a few ingredients and a few minutes to prepare. It’s a great recipe to keep on hand.
Use it on: chocolate cakes, yellow cakes, cupcakes

Cream Cheese Frosting – The perfect balance of flavor and texture, this frosting is not too sweet, not too tangy, and has a sturdy texture perfect for piping and frosting.
Use it on: carrot cake, red velvet cake, spice cake, cupcakes

Chocolate Ganache – For serious chocolate lovers, it doesn’t get better than ganache. This recipe is decadent and perfect for glazing your favorite cake.
Use it on: chocolate cakes, cupcakes, and even brownies

For Cookies

Royal Icing – This shiny, highly versatile frosting is the favorite of sugar cookie decorators. This recipe is solid, simple (and there’s a video tutorial to help).
Use it on: cut-out sugar cookies

Chocolate Royal Icing – The chocolate alternative that, in our opinion, is severely underused. Yum.
Use it on: cut out sugar cookies

Buttercream Frosting – Fluffy, spreadable, color-able and loves sprinkles. Perfect for spreading or piping.
Use it on: drop sugar cookies

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting – Sometimes cream cheese frosting can overpower a cookie, but a little cinnamon balances everything out.
Use it on: pumpkin cookies, spice cookies, gingerbread cookies

Do you have a favorite go-to frosting? Tell us about it!

Recipe: Chocolate Hazelnut Brioche Star

Mrs. Fields Hazlenut Brioche Star

Today’s recipe is a show stopper in every possible way, except for the fact that it’s super simple to create! (Don’t worry, we won’t tell.) If you can use a rolling pin, you can make this delectable dish. It’s perfect for a dessert or brunch, the soft sweet bread is broken up by thin layers of Nutella. It’s perfect with coffee, hot cocoa, or even a scoop of ice cream.

Chocolate Hazelnut Brioche Star

3-4 cups bread flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of one lemon
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
3 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
3/4 cups warm milk
3/4 cup chocolate hazelnut spread (such as Nutella)

{for glaze}
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

Directions
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, salt, sugar, lemon zest and yeast. Add in eggs, butter, and warm milk and knead until dough is soft and springy to the touch (about 5-10 minutes). Transfer to a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to sit in a warm area for 1-2 hours or until double in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Punch down dough and shape into an even ball, then divide into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then roll the first ball flat into a 10-inch circle. Transfer the circle to a prepared baking sheet. Spread 1/4 cup of hazelnut spread over the first layer, leaving about 1/2-inch perimeter around the edge. Repeat with the next two layers, adding them to the top of the last. Finally, roll the fourth and final ball of dough and add it to the top. Place a 10-inch plate on top and trim around the edges so that you have a perfect circle. Remove plate, then place a round glass in the center of the circle that has a 3-inch diameter. Rest it there, then cut sixteen equal stripes out from the center circle. Next, take two adjacent strips and turn them in toward each other 2 1/2 times, then pinch the ends together to form a point. Continue with the remaining strips.

Mix the egg white and water to make a thin glaze, then brush a thin layer over the entire brioche. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Does Warm Milk Help You Sleep? And Other Food Myths

Warm Milk

Does warm milk really help when you can’t sleep? We’re tackling ten food myths to see if they are fact or fiction.

Myth #1: Warm Milk Helps You Sleep
Verdict: Fact, but it’s not exactly biology that makes it so, it’s more psychology. A warm glass of milk is comforting like a teddy bear or favorite blanket, calming nerves and summoning peaceful memories.

Myth #2: An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
Verdict: Fact-ish. While there’s nothing magical about an apple, the idea of daily fruits and vegetables as part of a balanced diet is one of the most important ways to stay healthy.

Myth #3: Eating Carrots Improves Eyesight
Verdict: Fact, but specifically your sight at night. Carrots will not be able to replace your reading glasses, but the Vitamin A in carrots does help your eyes adjust to dim light. If you have trouble with night vision, try eating more carrots.

Myth #4: Fresh Produce Is Always Better Than Frozen
Verdict: Fiction. It’s true that few things are as delicious as a fresh ear of corn, but when it comes to nutrition, the frozen substitute is often better unless you picked the corn yourself from the stalk. The flash-freezing process happens within hours of picking and preserves nearly all of the nutrients, much more than produce that has to travel for days by truck to reach your store.

Myth #5: Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever
Verdict: Fiction. Good nutrition is always important, and especially when you are sick. Fevers burn extra calories, sometimes an excessive amount, so restricting calories could be dangerous. Colds and fevers both deserve that bowl of chicken soup!

Myth #6: Dark Bread is Healthier Than Light Bread
Verdict: Fiction. The key for determining a healthier bread is less about color and more about one simple word: multi-grain. The more grains in a bread, the more nutrients and fiber.

Myth #7: Fish is Brain Food
Verdict: Fact. The unsaturated fatty oils in fish known as omega-3s are not only good for your heart (reducing risk of heart disease and stroke), but especially your brain. Daily servings of fish reduce your chances of dementia by up to 60%!

Myth #8: Spicy Foods Cause Ulcers
Verdict: Fiction. Ulcers are caused by a very specific bacteria in the stomach that has nothing to do with spicy food.

Myth #9: Chocolate Causes Pimples
Verdict: Fiction. (Phew!) Some very old and very poorly designed studies from the 1930s linked chocolate consumption with pimples, but that research does not hold up.

Myth #10: A Cookie Makes Everything Better
Verdict: Fact. We are the experts on this one, and even a great day is made better with a cookie. Case closed.

Valentine’s Day Preview

Love is in the air and it smells like freshly baked Mrs. Fields goodies. With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, we’ve put together our favorite gift ideas from our Valentine’s Day collection. Whether you need to treat your kids, your BFF, your fiancé or your spouse of 30 years, we’ve got something for everyone. Check out a few of our favorites…

Valentine’s Day Frosted Cookie Tin

Buttery rich frosted cookies in heart shapes are a decadent treat for anybody on your list, and when they arrive in a heart-shaped Mrs. Fields tin, they’ll know you sent the very best.

Love Tote

Our felt Love Tote has adorable details and handfuls of our favorite Nibblers bite-sized cookies in an assortment of our most popular flavors.

Mad for Plaid Box

Looking for a more masculine gift? Our Mad for Plaid will please any fella, especially the delicious assortment of bite-sized cookies and brownies, and our signature frosted cookies.

Photo Heart Personalized Tin

Your favorite photo uploaded right onto our Personalized Tin makes your Valentine gift for your sweetheart more than just a decadent treat, it’s a keepsake.

Big Cookie Cake

How do you show love in a big way? With a Big Cookie Cake, of course! Our famous chocolate chip cookie is baked into a heart shape and decorated with decadent frosting expressing any personalized message (up to 20 characters).

Love Puppy

It’s more than just puppy love for our Love Puppy. This ultra soft plush toy arrives with paw-fuls of our gourmet best. What better way to treat your crush?

Love Letter Box

Cookies are our love letter to the world, and our Love Letter Box is a perfect way for you to express your love to someone special. (Plus, the decorative box can collect real love letters too.)

Shop our entire Valentine’s Day collection online and this weekend only, save 20% site wide with code SITEWIDE20 at checkout. And did you know? You can shop now and have your gift delivered right on Valentine’s Day! Just select your preferred delivery date in checkout.

Recipe: Snowball Popcorn Balls

Snowball Popcorn Balls

While some people are not too keen on snow (especially as January drags on), pretty much everybody is keen on popcorn balls! Our favorite fist-sized treat from childhood is the perfect dish to make on a cold, snowy January day. And this recipe is dressed up with shredded coconut to give it a snowy look that tastes like heaven. Try them out with a mug of something warm.

Snowball Popcorn Balls
via Season of Sweets

7 quarts popcorn, popped and cooled*
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
¼ cup water
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 package shredded coconut

Directions
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Prepare another baking sheet with an even layer of shredded coconut. Place popcorn in an oversized bowl. In a saucepan, stir sugar, corn syrup, water and salt together, then cook over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 235 degrees or “soft ball” stage. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla until melted and completely combined. Pour the syrup evenly over the popcorn, then stir with a wooden spoon until you have an even coating. Allow the mixture to cool for a few minutes, then form popcorn into baseball-sized balls and roll in the coconut for an even coating, then place to cool completely on the parchment-lined sheet. Serve immediately or wrap each snowball in plastic wrap for best results.

*Two tablespoons of unpopped popcorn equals about 1 quart popped.

5 Easy Homemade Dog Treats

Mrs. Fields Secrets Doggie Treats
If you’ve got a four-legged friend in the house, we’ve got just the way to make their day! Homemade dog treats are a fun, healthy, affordable way to shower love on man’s best friend. There are many advantages to making your own dog treats, including customizing the portion size and incorporating your dog’s favorite flavors. We’ve gathered five fun, easy recipes (including a no-bake option) to help you get started. Try them out, customize them and make them your own. Your dog will love you (even more) for it! Follow links for the original recipes.

1. Peanut Butter Doggy Pretzels
2. Bacon Flavored Dog Treats
3. No-Bake Dog Treats
4. Peanut Butter Paw Print Biscuits
5. Healthy Morning Poochidatis

Tips for Keeping Your Cookies Fresh

There’s nothing quite like a batch of cookies fresh from the oven, so soft, chewy and moist. But how do you keep that first-day freshness until the last cookie? We’ve got some brilliant tips to help you do just that!

  • Always allow cookies to cool completely before storing. Placing still-warm cookies in a container will cause them to get soggy from steam.
  • The more butter, the longer the cookie will stay fresh. The natural fats from butter help retain moisture and softness. If you need a recipe you can make ahead of time, our blue-ribbon chocolate chip is ideal.
  • Air-tight containers are key for freshness, but pay attention to size. Use the smallest container you can, which will ensure the least amount of air inside.
  • Never store cookies in the refrigerator, which dries them out. For long-term storage, opt for the freezer in a freezer-safe, air-tight container. Frozen cookies can stay fresh up to three months.
  • Place a slice of sandwich bread inside the cookie jar or container. The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread to remain moist. Replace the bread every 1-2 days.
  • Wrapping each individual cookie in plastic wrap is a great way to keep air out and moisture locked in. Plus, cookies are ready to go at any time into a lunch bag, purse or pocket.
  • When using a container, separate layers of cookies with pieces of wax or parchment paper. They will retain better shape and more even moisture.
  • Never combine soft and crispy cookies in the same container.
  • Buttery cookies like shortbreads and sugar cookies will stay fresher longer with liners. Use cupcake liners around each cookie in a container for best results.
  • Unless freezing for long-term storage, room temperature is best for cookies.
  • Cookie jars are cute, but make sure they have an airtight seal around the rim for best results.
  • To give a cookie a fresh-from-the-oven taste, wrap it in a barely wet paper towel and microwave it for 5 second increments until warm and soft.

Do you have a favorite trick for keeping cookies fresh? Share it with us!

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