Valentine’s Day Double Chocolate Cookies

valentines-day-cookies-2

Ingredients

1/2 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
Sprinkles, for decoration

Directions
Preheat oven to 325°F.
In a mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter, sugars, egg, and vanilla extract on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
Add flour, baking powder, and cocoa powder and mix until just blended. Stir in dark chocolate chunks.
Scoop approx. 1 1/2 tablespoonfuls of dough and roll into a circle. Roll cookies in sprinkles and place on ungreased non-stick baking sheets. If you’d like heart shaped-cookies, press tops of cookies to flatten slightly and with a toothpick, create an indent in the middle of the top to form the middle of top of the heart. With your fingers, shape bottom of cookie into a “V” shape. Cookies will expand a bit as they bake so you may wish to over exaggerate the heart shape so cookies will be clearly shaped once they are done baking.
Bake 13-15 minutes, or until edges have crisped and tops are fairly firm to the touch when pressed. Let cool on baking sheets for a few minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutella Raspberry Hearts

Nutella-Raspberry-Hearts-768x1419

Ingredients

Frozen Puffed Pastry

Nutella

Raspberries

Directions

Defrost the puffed pastry dough. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Unroll the puffed pastry and use a heart cookie cutter to cut out heart shapes. Place the hearts on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Add ½ teaspoon of Nutella to each cookie. Cut a raspberry in half and press into the Nutella. Bake for 15 minutes until crisp.

Date Bar Cookies

dateBars_cookie 

Ingredients

For the filling

3 cups coarsely chopped dates

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups water

For the crust and topping

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) very cold butter, cut into small cubes
Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a nonreactive medium saucepan over low heat, combine dates, granulated sugar, and water. Cook stirring constantly, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Cool completely.

In a large bowl or bowl of an electric mixer, place brown sugar, flour, baking soda, salt, and oats. Mix on low speed until combined. While mixer is running, add butter, 1 piece or 2 at a time. Mix until crumb like, with some lumps of butter no larger than pea size. Using your hands, press and flatten half of crumb mixture into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Spread cooled filling over crust. Cover with remaining crumb mixture, patting lightly.

Bake until lightly browned, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into bars while still in the pan. Gently remove cut bars from pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. Date bars, stored in an airtight container, refrigerate and freeze well.

Linzer Cookies

Linzer Valentine Cookies

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

8 oz strawberry or raspberry jam, seedless if preferred (preferably freezer jam)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder, set aside. In a food processor, pulse almonds with brown sugar until finely ground, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together butter and powdered sugar on low speed until combined, then increase to medium-high and whip until creamy, about 1 minute. Mix in egg, and then blend in vanilla and almond extract. Mix in almond mixture, then with mixer set on low speed, slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined. Form mixture into a ball and drop onto a sheet of plastic wrap, then flatten into a 6-inch round disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dust work surface with flour, cut disk in half and then evenly roll out each portion into 1/8 to 1/6-inch thickness. Cut into heart shapes using a cookie cutter, then using a smaller heart shape cookie cutter, cut smaller hearts into the centers of half of the hearts. Carefully transfer to Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets (you can run a sharp knife or pastry scraper under cookies to help lift them if needed. Also, chill dough that’s not currently being rolled or baked, the hearts hold their shape better when cold), spacing cookies 1-inch apart. Bake in preheated oven 10 – 12 minutes until edges are lightly golden. Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Spread strawberry jam over whole hearts, dust cookies with heart cut centers with powdered sugar then place those cookies over tops. Store in an airtight container.

Turtle Candy

Turtle Candy

Ingredients

1 pound pecan halves, toasted 

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

3/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 pound milk chocolate candy coating, chopped

Directions

On waxed paper-lined baking sheets, arrange pecans in small clusters of four to five pecans each. 

 For caramel, in a small saucepan, combine the milk, corn syrup and sugars. Cook and stir over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 238° (soft-ball stage). Remove from the heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. Working quickly, spoon caramel onto pecan clusters. Let stand until set. 

 In a microwave, melt candy coating; stir until smooth. Spoon over caramel. Chill for 10 minutes or until set. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 4 dozen.

ANGEL MERINGUE CAKE

angelmeringuecake

Ingredients

6 egg whites, at room temperature

Large pinch of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 1/2 cups superfine sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup heavy (whipping) cream

Lemon Curd Mousse (recipe follows)

Fresh raspberries and edible blossoms such as pansies or small candy hearts for garnishing.

Directions

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Set aside a parchment-lined baking sheet. Draw two 8-inch circles on the parchment, leaving at least 1 inch between them. (You may need to use two baking sheets.)

TO MAKE THE MERINGUES: In the clean bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk, on medium-low speed, beat the egg whites until frothy, about 1 1/2 minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high, add the salt and the vinegar, and slowly add the sugar, whisking until thick, about 2 1/2 minutes. Increase the speed to high and whisk until stiff and glossy, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle the cornstarch over the whites during the last minute of beating. Divide the meringue between the parchment circles and gently spread out evenly within each circle.

Reduce heat to 300 degrees F. Bake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues inside, with the door shut, until completely cool, about 4 hours. The meringue will be almond in color.

WHEN YOU ARE READY TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: Whisk the heavy cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold in the lemon curd. To assemble, place a dollop of the mousse on the cake platter. (This will help keep the meringue stable.) Place one of the meringues on the platter, pressing lightly. Spread half the mousse on top of the bottom layer. Add the second meringue and top it with the remaining mousse. Garnish the cake and platter with raspberries and blossoms.

LEMON CURD MOUSSE Makes about 1 1/2 cups 6 egg yolks 1/2 cup granulated sugar juice and minced or grated zest of 2 lemons 1/2 cup unsalted butter In a bowl with an electric mixer, on medium speed, beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add the juice, zest, and butter. Transfer to a saucepan. The mixture may appear curdy. Cook over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes smooth and thickens, about 10 minutes. Do not overcook or it will separate. Remove from heat. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble.

Cherry Meringue Dessert

Cherry Meringue Dessert 

Ingredients

3 egg whites

1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese softened

1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp cream of tartar

1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

1 can (21 ounces) cherry pie filling

Directions

Place egg whites in a small bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Add cream of tartar; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved.

Spoon meringue onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Using the back of a spoon, form meringue into a 9-in. heart shape, building up edges slightly.

Bake at 275° for 1-1/2 hours. Turn oven off and do not open door; leave meringue in oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven; cool completely.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla until smooth. Fold in whipped cream until mixture is well blended. To serve, place heart on a serving platter; fill with cream cheese mixture and top with pie filling.

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Ingredients

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 Tbsp milk or buttermilk

1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla

2 tsp lemon juice

5 tsp red food coloring

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup powdered sugar

Directions

In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt for 30 seconds, set aside. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy. Mix in eggs 1 at a time, blending until combined after each addition. Mix in milk, vanilla bean paste, lemon juice and red food coloring. With mixer set on low speed, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in white chocolate chips. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill 2 hours or until firm enough to shape into balls.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour powdered sugar into a bowl. Remove dough from refrigerator, scoop dough out and with buttered hands, and shape into medium balls (about 2 1/2 Tbsp each). Roll cookie dough balls into powdered sugar and evenly coat. Transfer to Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets and flatten slightly, then bake in preheated oven 13 – 14 minutes. Allow to rest on cookie sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

*If you want them a little more chocolate you can replace 2 – 3 Tbsp of the flour with 2 – 3 additional Tbsp of cocoa powder.

Linzer Cookies for Valentines Day

Linzer Valentine Cookies

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp almond extract

8 oz strawberry or raspberry jam, seedless if preferred (preferably freezer jam)

Directions

In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder, set aside. In a food processor, pulse almonds with brown sugar until finely ground, set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together butter and powdered sugar on low speed until combined, then increase to medium-high and whip until creamy, about 1 minute. Mix in egg, and then blend in vanilla and almond extract. Mix in almond mixture, then with mixer set on low speed, slowly add in flour mixture and mix until combined. Form mixture into a ball and drop onto a sheet of plastic wrap, then flatten into a 6-inch round disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dust work surface with flour, cut disk in half and then evenly roll out each portion into 1/8 to 1/6-inch thickness. Cut into heart shapes using a cookie cutter, then using a smaller heart shape cookie cutter, cut smaller hearts into the centers of half of the hearts. Carefully transfer to Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets (you can run a sharp knife or pastry scraper under cookies to help lift them if needed. Also, chill dough that’s not currently being rolled or baked, the hearts hold their shape better when cold), spacing cookies 1-inch apart. Bake in preheated oven 10 – 12 minutes until edges are lightly golden. Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Spread strawberry jam over whole hearts, dust cookies with heart cut centers with powdered sugar then place those cookies over tops. Store in an airtight container.

Meringue Hearts

meringuehearts

Ingredients

4 large egg whites, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 cup superfine white sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Strawberry Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon granulated white sugar

1/2 cup lightly sweetened strawberry puree (can use strawberry or raspberry jam)

Fresh Berries

Directions

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F and place racks in upper and lower third of your oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Using a 4 inch heart-shaped cookie cutter as your guide, draw 6 hearts (12 total) on each piece of parchment paper.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the whisk attachment beat the egg whites on low-medium speed until foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat the whites until they hold soft peaks.  Add the sugar, a little at a time, and continue to beat until the meringue holds stiff peaks.  (The meringue is done when it holds stiff peaks and when you rub a little between your thumb and index finger it does not feel gritty.  If it feels gritty the sugar has not fully dissolved so keep beating until it feels smooth between your fingers.)  Transfer the meringue to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2 inch plain tip.

Place a small spot of meringue at each corner of the pan to attach the parchment paper to the baking sheets.  Pipe the meringue within the perimeters of the 12 heart shapes you have drawn on the parchment paper.  Smooth with an offset spatula.

Bake in preheated oven for about 60 to 70 minutes, alternating the baking sheets, top to bottom and front to back, about halfway through baking. (The time does depend on how humid or dry a day it is.)  The meringues are done when they release easily from the parchment paper. When the meringues are baked, turn off the oven, open the oven door slightly, and leave the meringues in the turned off oven for about another half hour.

For the strawberry whipped cream:  In a large mixing bowl combine the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar.  Cover and chill the bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. When chilled, beat the mixture until soft peaks form. Then add the sweetened strawberry puree, a little at a time, beating just until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised. Taste and fold in more sugar or puree, if needed.

To assemble dessert:  With a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, pipe, or else spoon the whipped cream on top of the meringues and serve with berries and extra strawberry puree, if desired.