Recipes, memories and random thoughts from my kitchen
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Valentine baking: cut-out cookies
Today I thought it would be fun to share a few recipes for Valentine cookies. Of course, almost any cut-out cookie could be made into a Valentine cookie by simply using heart-shaped cookie cutters and then trimming with pink or white icing and Valentine sprinkles or red or pink sugar. The ones my mother used to make for our school Valentine parties years ago were just heart-shaped sugar cookies frosted with pink icing. So, in that spirit, here are links to some of my cut-out cookie recipes. Frost and decorate as you please!
There are several cut-out cookie recipes here in this post at my Christmas kitchen blog: Cut-out Cookies . Any of them would make a nice Valentine cookie. For a chocolate cut-out cookie, this one is my favorite: Cocoa-Molasses Cookies. But this one, from Cook & Tell, is a close second:
CHOCOLATE JUMBOS 1 egg 1 cup sugar 1 cup molasses 1 cup unsweetened baking cocoa 1 cup melted shortening (for example, one Crisco® stick, melted) 2 tsp. baking soda 1/2 cup warm water or coffee 1 tsp. vanilla 4 cups flour 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional) 1/4 tsp. cloves (optional) 1/4 tsp. salt
Beat the egg; add sugar and molasses and beat 1 minute more. Dissolve the cocoa in the melted shortening, cool slightly; then add to batter and beat again. Dissolve the soda in the warm water or coffee and vanilla. Sift together the flour, salt, and spices if using. Add soda mixture to the batter alternately with the sifted dry ingredients, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Chill dough for 1 hour before using.
Roll out dough 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface; cut into shapes. Bake about 8 minutes at 350º; do not overbake; you want them to be fudgy, so watch carefully. Remove to racks to cool.
When cool, frost generously with a vanilla butter frosting. If you need a recipe, try this: 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, 2 Tblsp. softened butter, 1 tsp. vanilla, and up to 5 Tblsp. milk -- start with half that amount and stir in more milk as needed until smooth and spreadable.
Makes a good amount of cookies! (Leave out the spices if you prefer your chocolate flavor unadulterated.) If you want to get really fancy with your cut-out cookies, look back to this January post with the chocolate sandwich cookies and the raspberry lemon ones: Fancy Cut-out Cookies. Or, even more special for Valentine's Day, try these:
1 cup butter, softened 1 cup sugar 1/4 tsp. salt 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla 2 eggs 1/2 tsp. nutmeg 3 cups flour 2/3 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries, drained and dried well on paper towels Glaze: 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar 3 to 4 Tblsp. cherry juice (from jar of maraschino cherries) Topping: About 30 maraschino cherries, halved, blotten well on paper towels Filling: About 1/2 cup cherry or raspberry jam
Beat the butter, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Sift together the nutmeg and flour and beat about half of it into the mixture; add the remaining flour to the dough and beat well. Form dough into a ball; wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
On a well-floured surface, roll the dough into a circle, about 1/8-inch thickness. Cut the cookies with a 2-1/2-inch scalloped cutter (hearts would be pretty, too) and place on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake for 13-16 minutes at 350º. Remove and cool on racks.
For glaze, combine confectioners’ sugar and cherry juice to make a thick glaze. Place waxed paper under cooling rack. Pour the glaze carefully over half of the cookies to within a half inch of edges. Let stand 4 to 5 minutes, then place a cherry half (rounded side up) in center of each glazed cookie. Let glaze set completely.
Sandwich together with remaining, unglazed cookies with a thin layer of jam between. Store these cookies airtight at room temperature. Makes about 5 dozen sandwich cookies.
I have only made these a couple of times, but they are picture-perfect for Valentine's Day -- like something you would see in a child's picture book. Have fun with these! Later today (or possibly tomorrow) I will share some ideas for simpler, molded or pressed Valentine cookies.
I live in scenic northern New England with my handsome husband. We're empty-nesters with a bunch of adorable grandchildren. We love (tent) camping and traveling, but don't get away as often as we'd like to.