Thinking about Valentine's Day

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Have you started thinking yet about Valentine's Day?

I have, but that is because it is one of my favorite holidays. I know some people loath Valentine's Day because it is either depressing if you aren't in love or too high pressure if you are. Au contraire - it's about chocolate! And any holiday about chocolate is a good holiday indeed! All joking aside (and I'm only half joking about this one) I really like Valentine's Day. For me, it's about being sweet to the people you love, pretty flowers, all things red and pink, and of course, chocolate and treats. What's not to love? When I was a little kid it was about a special note in my lunch from my mom, my own vase of red roses in my room (one for every Valentine's Day I had lived) and chocolates and treats throughout the day. So if you haven't yet, start thinking about making cards, sending flowers, giving chocolates or blowing kisses to the people you love this Valentine's Day. And if you really love someone this year and want them to know it, bake them something special, like these Milk Chocolate Sandwich Cookies.

To start the month off I thought I would share a recipe for some very scrumptious cookies that would be perfect to make for your sweetheart on Valentine's Day. I made these cookies at Christmas time and though these indulgent and addicting cookies can be made for yourself or whomever else you like anytime of year, they seem very appropriate to make for the upcoming holiday, especially if you use a heart shape cookie cutter instead of a round one. I know if someone made me these cookies for me on Valentine's Day I would promise to be their Valentine.

Milk Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Makes 2 dozen cookies

These cookies are crisp, buttery, chocolatey and decadent. They save well in a tin or glass jar for a couple of days. This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart Living magazine.

1 cup flour, plus more for rolling
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
6 ounces milk chocolate, chopped

In a food processor combine the flour, sugar and salt and pulse 3-4 times. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbles. While pulsing, pour in the 1/4 cup of heavy cream and the vanilla until the dough just comes together. Pour the dough out on a clean work surface and roll into two disks. Refrigerate for 30-40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured work surface use a well-floured rolling pin to roll out 1 of the disks of dough until 1/16 inch thick. Use a 2 1/2-inch fluted cookie cutter to cut out rounds. Place rounds on the prepared cookie sheet. Use flour as needed. Gather the remaining scraps and reroll and cut out the dough until all is used. Repeat with the second disk of dough. Place cookie sheets with the dough in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the egg yolk and remaining tablespoon of cream. Use a pastry brush to coat the top of each of the cookies with the yolk/cream mixture. Bake until light golden brown, rotating half way through baking, about 15-20 minutes total. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.

While the cookies cool melt the milk chocolate in a bain-maire, while stirring (place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl over a pan of simmering water), or carefully in the microwave.

Take one cookie in hand and scoop a generous teaspoon of chocolate onto the inside (bottom) of the cookie. Top the chocolate with a second cookie and press together until the chocolate reaches the outside rim of the cookie. Repeat this process with all of the cookies and refrigerate the cookies until set, about 15 minutes. These cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


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