In recent years, the love of red velvet has blossomed beyond its traditional Southern roots into a popular dessert with mass appeal. In fact, last Valentine's Day, enough Red Food Color was sold – more than 550,000 ounces – to make enough red velvet cupcakes to circle the Earth 23 times. That's why the McCormick Kitchens turned to red velvet to inspire new Valentine's Day recipes this year.

"Amid a sea of pink holiday confections, red velvet stands alone with its vibrant hue and rich taste. It has a unique flavor that is not quite vanilla and not quite chocolate," says Mary Beth Harrington of the McCormick Kitchens. "Red velvet is also surprisingly versatile, inspiring a range of creative presentations, from creamy hot chocolate to decadent breakfast pancakes to cream-filled cupcakes. Simply said, people love it."

For treats that will turn your Valentine's Day into a celebration kids of all ages will enjoy, try these six fresh takes on red velvet, featuring McCormick Red Food Color and extracts:

Red Velvet Brownie Conversation Hearts: These heart-shaped delights are a perfect project for the whole family. Vary the drops of Red Food Color for icing in every shade, from puppy-love pink to ravishing rose, adding the final embellishment with edible words of love. For a simplified version, glaze the brownie hearts and decorate with red and pink sprinkles.

Red Velvet Mousse with Vanilla Whipped Cream: Your darling will be struck with love at first bite with this smooth-as-silk, whipped treat. Embellish to your heart's desire.

Red Velvet Cream-Filled Cupcakes: Fall in love with Red Velvet Cupcakes all over again with this crush-worthy cream-filled version of the classic.

Red Velvet Hot Chocolate: This rich twist on kid-favorite hot chocolate makes the perfect addition to a cozy family night. Top with marshmallows or whipped cream for an extra-sweet finish.

Red Velvet Pancakes: Start the Valentine's Day celebration early with a sizzling stack of these sweet and colorful breakfast favorites, perfect for a surprise breakfast in bed.

Red Velvet Raspberry Truffles: This decadent collision of rich Raspberry Extract and Red Velvet is the perfect way to brighten someone's Valentine's Day.