Valentine's Day cookies
We're only a few weeks away from Valentine's Day and I thought it might be nice to feature a few valentine cookies from my favourite cookie-ista, glorious treats.
1 cup butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons chocolate liqueur or extra strong coffee (this can be made with about 1 teaspoon of instant espresso dissolved into 2 tablespoons warm water)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Sift together (or gently stir with a whisk) the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. With an electric mixer cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until fully incorporated and fluffy.
3. Beat in egg, coffee or liqueur, and vanilla.
4. Add in flour/cocoa mixture about 1 cup at a time. Blend until fully incorporated. (If you are using a hand mixer you may need to add the last cup of flour by hand).
5. Divide dough into two or three large balls, place in a plastic bag and chill in the refrigerator 1-2 hours (if you’re in a hurry, you can chill the dough for about 20 minutes in the freezer).
6. Once chilled, work with one ball of dough at a time, and roll onto a lightly floured surface. I find it works best to place a sheet of wax paper on top of the dough, and then roll on top of the wax paper. This prevents the dough from sticking to your rolling pin, and you also don’t need to add as much extra flour (as you would without the wax paper).
7. Roll out dough and cut with a small heart cutter and place on a baking sheet.
8. Place the baking sheet (with cookies on it) in the freezer about 5 minutes (this helps the dough keep it’s shape when baked).
9. Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes (depending on size) in a 180°C oven.
10. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet a few minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
For the filling:
1 cup butter (salted, or unsalted)
1/4 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
4 cups icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream, half and half or milk
*Optional: I like a cream cheese version of this filling best. The cream cheese adds to the creamy texture, and cuts down on the sweetness just a bit. If desired, for a very light cream cheese flavour add 1/2 block cream cheese, leaving the other ingredients - as listed above - the same.
Flavouring: Any flavouring option can be added in addition to, or instead of the vanilla. For chocolate buttercream, add 1/2 cup (good quality) unsweetened cocoa powder.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, beat butter (on medium speed) until completely smooth (30 seconds to a minute). (If you are adding cream cheese, add it now, then beat until smooth). Add salt if needed.
One cup at time, add 2 cups of powdered sugar, beating after each addition. Add vanilla, or other flavourings and beat to combine.
Add about 1 tbls of cream, and continue beating.Add the remaining 2 cups powdered sugar, one at a time.
Add an additional 1-2 tbls cream until desired consistency is reached. The filling needs to be on the thick side, or it will just squeeze out and make a mess. Be sure to add only a limited amount of liquid to whichever frosting you use, or add an additional cup of icing sugar. Additionally, keeping the frosting very cool will help.
For easy application, fill a large piping bag fitted with a round tip (with a 1/4- 1/2 inch wide opening). Or simply use a large plastic ziplock type bag and snip off the tip. Squeeze frosting onto what was the bottom side of a cookie. Top with another cookie. If desired, immediately sprinkle edges of frosting with sprinkles.