Thursday, 14 February 2013

Valentine's Day

I know that there are loads of people out there that hate this holiday.  I however am not one of them, I love it.  Not because of the cheesy roses that are marked up triple for what you can buy them for in January and not for the expensive dinners in restaurants or unreasonable expectations put on couples to have an especially loving day showered with diamonds.  No, I love this day because after all the dreary letdown of January that follows Christmas, I love that there is a day where we can once again feast our eyes on beautiful colour and have a reason to make very special cookies.  This is the day that I make these, Jimmy's Pink Cookies. Now, don't ask me who Jimmy is, I have no idea.  But he is someone that one of my favorite authors knows and I got this recipe from her book.  I guess I could just call them pink cookies or more predictably, Valentine's cookies, but it just doesn't sound the same coming out of my 5 year old's mouth.  She kept asking how many more sleeps until we make Jimmy's Pink Cookies.  So there you have it, Jimmy lives in our hearts on this very special day and we celebrate with these unbelievably lovely, buttery, creamy cookies.  Did I mention butter?  Yes, loads of it which is why these are special occasion cookies.  Although I would and could gladly eat these everyday with my afternoon tea, but then they wouldn't be quite the same.

I am going to give you the recipe, but before I do, for those of you out there still cringing at this commercial holiday and gagging at another thing dedicated to it, I wanted to share my conversation with my daughter in the car this morning on the way to school.  We were on our way when she said "you know mummy, we have an invisible string that connects us all. So even when I am at school we are still connected in our hearts." My husband asked "how long is that string? What if I got on a plane?" She said, "It goes everywhere, even to Vancouver all the way to Grandma."  She said that she learned about this at school this week and I have to say it made me rather teary.  So on this day of love and hearts and good cookies, I hope you too feel connected to the ones you love and everyday after that.

Jimmy's Pink Cookies
Adapted from A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg

For the cookies:

3 sticks of unsalted butter, room teperature
1 cup of icing sugar, sifted
3 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

For the icing:

1 block of cream cheese at room temperature
6 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 cups of icing sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons of kirsch
red food colouring

To make the cookies, beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl, start slow and then increase until the mixture is light and fluffy.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt and whisk well or sift.  Add the flour mixture slowly to the butter mixture, I say slow otherwise you will have a cloud of flour everywhere.  Beat just until the flour and butter come together and then add the vanilla.  Make the mixture into a ball, press into a large thick disk, wrap in saran and put in the fridge for an hour.  

Once the hour is up, take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out onto a floured surface.  Use your favorite cutters, I use hearts, but you can use whatever you like.  Place on a lined baking sheet and cook for 18 minutes.  The key here is to make sure that they are getting golden on the edges, but not browning. So if 18 minutes is too much, pull them out sooner or not enough?  Leave them in a little longer, but keep your eye on them.  Also, unless you have a convection oven, cook one sheet at a time.  Cool on a wire rack and ice with lovely pink frosting.

For the icing, combine the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and mix until smooth.  Add the icing sugar slowly until combined.  Now add your kirsch and a few drops of food colouring.  If you prefer to avoid red dye #5 as I do the other 364 days of the year you can just leave these white or colour with an alternative food colouring.  These cookies are meant to be slathered with the icing, so don't hold back here.  Like I said, this is a special occasion cookie, so you might as well make it count.  

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

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