And Happy “2 Days Until Valentine’s Day” Day!
I am in love with Valentine’s Day because it is one day that is dedicated to showing my friends and family how much I love them. Which I do. A lot.
To me, nothing shows someone how much you care than a homemade treat. And no one does this better than my mom! When we (E and myself) went to college, my mom sent us a large Valentine’s Day care package stuffed with candy, red clothing, and amazing chocolate ganache-dipped sugar cookie hearts. Those cookies became the anticipated treat every Valentine’s Day, our roommates eagerly watching for the mailman with us. Because those cookies were not only delicious, but also a way my mom showed how much she loved us (her own kids and our friends).
I help my mom carry on the tradition today, stuffing a care package to send my sister in her new place. A special way to show someone you care this Valentine’s Day.
This is how you make them!
They start with a dry ingredient base.
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix them together thoroughly and set the bowl aside.
Now onto the wet ingredients.
Toss some butter (2½ sticks… it makes a lot of cookies!) and some sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until the mixture is light and creamy.
Then add in four eggs, one at a time.
And then drizzle in some vanilla extract and some fat-free half-and-half. I have made this successfully with regular ‘ole skim milk, so if you don’t have half-and-half, don’t worry about it! With all the wet ingredients thoroughly combined, turn the mixer onto low speed and add in the dry ingredients. Mix until a soft dough forms.
For easy rolling, I like to dump the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap, flatten into a thick disc, and wrap it up. The dough chills a lot faster, rolls out better, and fits better in my fridge. Win-win.
After the dough chills for at least an hour in the fridge, unwrap the dough disc and place it onto a lightly floured surface and roll it out into a ¼-inch sheet using a rolling pin. Then cut out your desired heart shapes! My mom makes HUGE hearts (yes please!) but you can make them as big or as small as you want.
Pop them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. I use two baking sheets at a time to speed up this process and I make sure to rotate the pans (top pan moves to the bottom, bottom pan moves to the top) halfway through for even baking.
When the cookies are all baked and completely cooled, it’s time for the fun part… the decorating!!
I whipped up an easy dark chocolate ganache to accent my sugar cookies. In the bowl of a double boiler (a glass bowl set over a saucepan containing 1-inch of water and heated over medium-low heat), combine chocolate and half-and-half. Stir frequently to prevent the chocolate from scorching – when the chocolate is completely melted, remove the bowl from the heat.
Then take a cookie and spoon some of the ganache over half of the cookie and then add some festive sprinkles! I love these white-pink-red nonpareil sprinkles, but you can definitely use whatever you have on hand!
Let the cookies dry for 2-3 hours before serving to your loved ones (and be sure to include a glass of milk!).
I hope you enjoy these delicious Valentine’s Day treats.
Your Valentine’s Day lovin’ friend,
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2½ sticks butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoons fat-free half-and-half - milk works here too!
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1¼ cup dark chocolate chips
- ½ cup fat-free half-and-half
- Sprinkles for decorating
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix until thoroughly combined.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar together until combined. Add in eggs one at a time. Wait until the first egg is combined before adding in the next one. Add half-and-half and vanilla to the wet ingredients. Beat until combined.
- Put mixer onto lowest setting and put on bowl guards. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until soft dough forms.
- Place the dough into the fridge for at least one hour before rolling. For easier rolling, I like to dump the finished dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, flatten the dough into a disc, and wrap it up tightly. This helps the dough fit into your fridge better, but it lets you roll the cookies out easier!
- Preheat your oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. While the oven is preheating, unwrap your dough and place onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is a quarter-inch thick. Then using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out your cookies! Place the cut cookies onto the baking sheets, leaving at least an inch on each side - these cookies can spread. Pop the cookies into the oven and bake for 5 minutes and then rotate the pans (top pan goes to the bottom, bottom pan goes to the top) and bake for another 5 minutes until the cookies are just golden brown on the bottom.
- Cool the cookies on a cooling rack until they reach room temperature.
- When the cookies are cooled, prepare the ganache. In the bowl of a double boiler (a glass bowl set over a saucepan containing 1-inch of water and heated over medium-low heat), combine chocolate and half-and-half. Stir frequently to prevent the chocolate from scorching - when the chocolate is completely melted, remove the bowl from the heat.
- To decorate, spoon some chocolate ganache over half of a sugar cookie and decorate with sprinkles! Allow the cookies to dry for about 2-3 hours and then serve to all your loved ones!
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