Valentine’s season is one of my favorite times of year to make decorated cookies (second only to Christmas). One thing I like about Valentine’s cookies is that you can get away with just a simple shape (a heart) and three colors (red, white, and pink) and still make some really special cookies.
For Valentine’s cookies I often set aside my “regular” sugar cookie recipe and make some delicious Chocolate rolled cookies. In fact, this recipe is so delicious I should really pull it out more often! This recipe is a slight variation of a recipe a friend gave me several years ago.
Chocolate Rolled Cookies
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 all purpose 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.
2..) With an electric mixer cream together the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until fully incorporated and fluffy.
2.) Beat in egg, coffee or liqueur, and vanilla.
3.) 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).
4.) 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).
5.) 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 parchment paper on top of the dough, and then roll on top of the parchment. 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 parchment).
6.) Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters and place on a baking sheet.
7.) Place the baking sheet (with cookies on it) in the freezer about 5 minutes (this helps the dough keep it’s shape when baked).
8.) Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes (depending on size) in a 350*F oven.
9.) Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet a few minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack.
10.) Decorate as desired.
Recipe Source- Glorious Treats
HERE is my royal icing recipe as well as lots of decorating tips to get you started.
HERE is a decorating tutorial from Karen’s Cookies that shows several of the same decorating techniques I used for these Valentine’s cookies.
Last week my next door neighbor dropped of my yearly delivery of oranges (from their tree). It’s a special treat I look forward to each year (usually just after Christmas). I can see their giant orange tree from my yard, but can’t quite reach it, so it’s sweet that they bring me a big bag of oranges when they ripen each year. I usually just make juice or smoothies with the oranges, but since I am a baker through and through I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to work up a recipe using the delicious fruit.
I had a bag of dried cranberries left over from some Christmas baking, so I thought some cranberry orange muffins could be a nice treat. As I usually do when I have a recipe idea, I searched through my cookbooks and the internet for recipe ideas. I found a few that sounded good… read up on all the reviews and notes in each recipe, and added a few ideas of my own to create the final recipe. I often have to make (and adjust) a recipe several times before I’m happy with it, but these were wonderful the first time! Of course you are welcome to adjust it to your tastes… substituting some of the flour with whole wheat flour would add some health benefits, or you could go the other way and and top them with a glaze made with some powdered sugar, a bit of butter and orange juice.
1 cup dried (sweetened) cranberries
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Tablespoon fresh orange zest (the zest of one whole orange)
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
2 Tablespoons oil (vegetable, canola or olive)
1/2 cup milk (any fat content)
1.) Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a muffin/cupcake pan with paper liners.
2.) Zest one whole orange (making about 1 Tablespoon of zest) and set aside.
Squeeze the juice from that one orange (about 1/3 cup).
3.) Put the orange juice (if needed, add some prepared orange juice to the fresh juice to make 1/3 cup) and the cranberries in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer about 5 minutes, stirring as needed. Turn off heat and set aside.
4.) In a large bowl add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger, and set aside.
5.) In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, orange zest and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
6.) Scrape down the side of the bowl, then add in the eggs (one at a time), vanilla, orange extract, and oil. Blend until well combined.
7.) Add the flour mixture, alternating with the milk (add about half of the flour mixture, then some milk,then the rest of the flour, and the rest of the milk). Fold in the cranberries. Do not over mix.
8.) Scoop batter into prepared muffin/cupcake pan.
Bake muffins about 20 minutes (test with a toothpick, there should be moist crumbs, but not wet).
9.) Cool muffins on a wire cooling rack.
Enjoy the muffins while still warm, or when cool. They are best the day they are made, but are still very good the next day.
Yields about 8 large or 12 medium (standard) muffins.
Recipe Source ~ Glorious Treats
~ Shopping note ~
The muffin liners I used are called Panettone liners (or molds). I bought mine at Sur la table (and they sell them for the best price I’ve found). They are free standing (you don’t need to use a muffin pan, just set them on a baking sheet), and the ones I used are about 50% larger than a standard muffin/cupcake.
(Click on the title, not the photo to view the post)
Did you see your favorite in the bunch?
I’d love to hear what your favorite posts are. Are they… Fancy desserts? Simple treats? Cute crafts? Cupcakes? Cookies? Parties?
I’m planning a new year with a little of each of those and I hope you’ll come along, and invite your friends!
Wishing you a Glorious New Year!