We don’t do Valentines day with the chocolates and flowers type thing. We do go out for dinner. Any excuse to have a night out, just us, someone else doing the cooking and cleaning the kitchen. Why wouldn’t you.
I’d been reading through a biscuit and slice cook book Mark and I got when I first moved in with him. It was a long time ago. I saw a sandwich cookie that I was taken with and had planned to make it.
With Valentines coming up I decided I would make a few changes, pretty much everything, and give these a little touch of cupid’s kiss.
They’re still sandwich cookies, they still have the sides covered, but it’s not the chocolate cookie with chocolate hail (Jimmys for those American’s who might happen across this blog post) plastered on the side. Instead we have a vanilla cookie with a vanilla icing, tinted pink, with red sanding sugar sides.
Of course they’re not all decorated like that. I got a bit bored with having to be so particular with the icing on the sides. It was worse than paint by numbers
I’ve made sugar cookies for Christmas but I wanted something a little more biscuit-like, something that you could eat on its own and not purely as a platform for decorative icing.
These cookies are Mr Fussy’s cookies for work this week. Talking of Mr Fussy. I asked him the other day if it bothered him me calling him Mr Fussy on my blog. With a bit of thought he replied that he did have exquisite taste, after all he picked me. Now all say awww. And puke if you need. A post with a Valentine flavour surely makes it ok to mention the conversation.
The recipe I picked has a couple of tablespoons of sour cream. The dough needs to rest for an hour. That doesn’t bother me when I’m on a baking streak. There’s plenty of other things happening in the kitchen that putting the dough aside for an hour isn’t an inconvenience.
We ate one of the small hearts sans icing and they were nice. Mr Fussy thought they were a bit like shortbread. They’re not like the shortbread I made for Christmas, but I can see where he’s coming from. The cookie is light, with a little crunch, not quite soft. It has a nice vanilla flavour and is sweet enough on its own to not need any further decoration. But they are designed for embellishment.
Cut-Out Vanilla Sugar Cookies by Chickettes, slightly adapted
- Cookie dough
- 1 cup of butter, softened
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp of sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 2 cups of standard flour
- 1 cup of high grade flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 126 gm butter, softened
- 1 cup icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pink gel colouring
- 1 tsp milk, if required
- Red sanding sugar
- Sift together the flours, baking powder and salt.
- In a mixer beat the butter, sour cream and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg and continue to beat until the egg is incorporated.
- Add the vanilla bean paste and beat until combined.
- Add all of the dry ingredients and very slowly mix until just combined.
- Place waxed paper on the bench and tip the cookie dough out.
- Divide the dough into two and press each into a disc.
- Wrap each disc in Gladwrap and place in the fridge for an hour to chill.
- After an hour heat the oven to 190 deg Celsius
- Place one disc between two sheets of waxed paper and roll the dough until it’s 5mm thick.
- Use cookie cutters to make shapes.
- Place the shapes onto a baking tray lined with parchment or a Silpat.
- Place the baking sheet into the fridge until the oven comes up to temperature.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating the tray after 4-5 minutes to ensure even baking.
- Leave the cookies on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Place the butter into a bowl of a mixer and whip for 4-6 minutes until it’s light and fluffy, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Add gel paste a littler at a time until the desired colour is reached. Be sparing, you can’t take the colour out but you can add more.
- Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and slowly mix until fully combined. Increase the speed and beat until fluffy.
- If you find the consistency too stiff add a teaspoon of milk until you’ve reached the right consistency.
- Pour sanding sugar into a small bowl.
- Spoon the frosting into a smaller bowl.
- Place a thin layer of icing on the underside of a cookie and sandwich together with another cookie.
- Spread icing around the outside edge of the sandwiched cookies.
- Roll the edge of the cookies in the sanding sugar.
- Place the cookie on waxed paper until the frosting has set a bit.
- The frosting is different to the frosting used in Chickette’s recipe for the cookies. I wanted a stiffer icing more reminiscent of the type of icings I’ve usually used in my baking of years past.
- I didn’t need to add any milk to make a thinner consistency frosting.
- I used a really small rubber spatula for spreading the frosting. The smaller size makes it easier to control. The spatula is designed specifically for decorating.
- Even though the cookies had no discernable spreading during baking, they didn’t exactly match up perfectly. Perhaps in sliding the cookies from the bench to the baking tray the shape shifted slightly.
- The smaller hearts only needed 6 minutes of baking, the larger hearts (at their widest point 5.5cm wide) took 10 minutes, but possibly could have been removed at 9.
- Because I rolled the dough out between two sheets of waxed paper I didn’t incorporate any extra flour. I gathered the scraps and formed another (smaller) ball. Wrap the small ball back up in the same piece of Gladwrap and put it back into the fridge to use to make the smaller hearts.
- The other half of cookie dough can be frozen for up to 2 months, or left in the fridge for 3 days before using.
- If using the dough from frozen, place the dough in the fridge overnight before using.
- The frosting was way more than I needed for the cookies I made. I’ve put that in the freezer, along with the baked cookies that I didn’t use today. Drag them out when you want. They’ll remain in the freezer happily for several months.
So that’s my nod to Valentines Day. Nothing flashy, nothing complicated. Nothing chocolate or resembling Red Velvet Cake. But we do have hearts, fluffy frosting and red sanding sugar. Enough for a day that gets way more hype in New Zealand than needed for what many of us “older folk” see as an American holiday theme. However the younger generation have embraced this American tradition so I don’t see it losing its following anytime soon.
As they say, if you can’t beat them, join them.