Happy Valentine's Day, everybody! Whether you're single, attached, in love, cynical, or a busy florist or restaurateur charging exorbitant prices, I hope you have a great day!
For me, Valentine's Day is an excuse to get stuck into some good ol' fashioned heart-shaped baking. I briefly considered making Smitten Kitchen's fabulicious white and dark hearted brownies (OMG CUTE!), but then I found baking inspiration in the most unlikely of places: a Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies magazine (see the bottom of this post for some pics and a description).
The cookies I made were Martha's Double-Chocolate Chunk Cookies. (Recipe here!) In the magazine they have Christmas shapes stenciled on them; I clearly went for hearts. They were very quick and easy to make - I went out to buy ingredients around 10:45pm, started baking as soon as I got back, and we were tucking into freshly baked cookies at midnight. (Yes, this is what I do on a Saturday night!)
I love how dark and glossy the mixture is.
Once the cookies are baked, it's a simple matter of dusting over icing sugar through a baking-paper stencil (and indeed, you could use any cookie recipe you like). It's easy if you choose a simple shape like a heart, but if you are more dexterous and imaginative than I am, I suppose the sky is the limit!
The cookies had a light crunch around the edges, but were soft and melting on the inside.
If you're going all the way with the heart motif, then you could serve these adorable little heart-shaped sugar cubes with your accompanying tea or coffee.
These cookies were delicious! Nice and crunchy and not too sweet, with a deep, rich chocolate taste, thanks to generous amounts of cocoa and dark chocolate. Rather an adult taste, I must say. Ordinarily I find American baking recipes too sweet, but I didn't adjust any of the quantities while baking - Martha strikes me as someone whose recipes you must follow to the letter. And they turned out perfect, so I'm glad I didn't adjust anything. We packed up the leftover cookies in an airtight container with baking paper in between each layer, and took them to share with some friends the next day. I was also pleased that the icing-sugar hearts stayed in place.
Next, I'd like to try the dark-chocolate espresso cookies, which are the cover recipe (see pic below), and pretty similar to the double-chocolate chunk cookies. They have the same ingredients with an extra tablespoon of espresso powder and a slightly different method. I think the coffee would really complement the dark chocolate taste.
And as I promised, here are some pics from the Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies magazine. I've never found Martha particularly appealing - she seems so anal-retentive and perfectionist - so I was surprised by how much I loved the magazine! I saw it in the local newsagent, had a quick flick through it, and just had to buy it. Lovely photography and styling, and fabulous recipes that were (surprisingly) relevant and topical! I know Martha's not too big in Australia, but perhaps a little look-see inside the magazine will persuade you?
|Mag cover - Zimtsterne and Dark Chocolate-Espresso Cookies|
|Pepita Spice Cookies, Indian-Spiced Cashew-Lime Cookies; Gingersnap Ice-Cream Sandwiches; Slice-and-Bake Bull's-Eye and Spiral Cookies|
|Almond macarons, Biscotti|
|Chocolate-Caramel Sandwich Cookies; Mice Cookies|
Happy Valentine's Day everybody!