Friday, February 13, 2009

A(nother) Valentine's food post

These little sugar cube hearts were so simple to make, and were inspired by a craft article in a newspaper a while back. Sugar is mixed with a few drops of water and a few drops of food coloring, stirred to resemble damp sand, pressed into a mold, turned over on a index card and left to dry/harden. The mixture will look significantly darker when wet. These would be perfect for a Valentine's tea, or a bridal shower.
Crepes are now a Valentine's breakfast tradition. (We are celebrating today instead of tomorrow.) Someday I will try and improve my food photo styling skills, but in the present life stage and therefore in the interest of time, what you see is what you get! (Oh to have the photography and photo editing skills of Livy at A Field Journal. Always so pretty!!!)

Ever-so-elegant on the orange plastic IKEA plate...ahem. These are whole wheat, filled with peaches, raspberries, and whipped topping.

And we have been making these cookies for about 5 years now. I've been making them up a week or so head of time and freezing them until decorating day. It spreads out the work a bit. This year we just used a basic buttercream frosting flavored with almond extract.

Warning: They are terribly addictive. Only make them if you have lots of people to share them with! Cut-out cookies are not my favorites. So many of them are boring or tasteless, and they are so much work. But this chocolate version...

It barely survived being photographed. But here is the recipe, so you can expand your waistline along with me. (I don't usually follow the "sandwich" part of the instructions.)

From Pillsbury The Complete Book of Baking, p. 78, Yield: 4 dozen sandwich cookies
1 c sugar
1 c margarine or butter, softened
¼ c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
23/4 c all purpose flour
½ c unsweetened cocoa
¾ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
2 c powdered sugar
½ c margarine or butter, softened
Red food color
2 to 3 Tbs maraschino cherry liquid or milk
In large bowl, beat sugar and 1 c margarine until light and fluffy. Add milk, vanilla and egg; blend well. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda; mix well. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour for easier handling.
Heat oven to 350F. On floured surface, roll out 1/3 of dough at a time to 1/8” thickness. Keep remaining dough refrigerated. Cut with floured 2 ½” heart-shaped cookie cutter. Place half of the hearts 1” apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Cut a 1” heart-shape from the centers of remaining heart. Place cut-out hearts on cookies sheets. Return small hearts to remaining dough for rerolling.
Bake at 350F for 9 to 11 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheets; cool completely.
In small bowl, combine all frosting ingredients, adding enough cherry liquid for desired spreading consistency; blend until smooth. Frost bottom side of whole cookies. Place cut-out cookies over frosting.

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