Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Not So Sweethearts

            Valentine’s Day isn't really at the top of my list of favorite holidays. I’ve always felt the real holiday of love is February 15th; the day chocolate goes on sale. For me Valentine’s Day is simply another perfect excuse to bake something delicious.
            I think this year’s Valentine’s treats are pretty self-explanatory! I call them “Not-So-Sweethearts”. They are simple buttery sugar cookies, each iced with the original flavors of the Sweethearts candies. White icing is peppermint. Yellow icing is lemon. Green icing is lime. Purple icing is grape. Pink icing is cherry. Orange icing is of course orange. The biggest differences between these and the candy is that the cookies do not have any flavor notes similar to chalk and what is written on them is quite the update from phrases like “Fax me”.

            I made a replica box in which to deliver these sassy morsels from a standard pastry box. The drawing is just various pink sharpies and I cut the window out with an X-acto knife, then, lined the window with saran wrap.

    

BUTTERY SUGAR COOKIES:
5 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

These are so easy it’s dumb.

1.     Sift together baking powder, salt, and flour. Set aside.
2.     Leave butter out on the counter for one hour before beginning. Cube butter and put in your mixing bowl. Add sugar and mix until just combined.
3.     Adds eggs one at a time to butter and sugar.
4.     Add vanilla to the butter/sugar/egg combo.
5.     Add flour mixture to wet ingredients about a cup at a time.
6.     You want dough that looks kind of crumby and lumpy, but if you pick up a small chunk and roll it in your hand the dough holds together and makes a smooth ball.
7.     Divide the dough in thirds.
8.     Take one third of the dough and roll it between two sheets of wax paper to ¼” to ½” thickness.
9.     Repeat with the other two thirds.
10. Chill the three sheets of dough (still inside the wax paper) overnight or at least a couple hours.
11.  Next day: remove the sheets and cut out your desired shapes with cookie cutters. I made 24, 3” heart shapes from one batch.
12. Bake at 350° on a cool cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 12-15 minutes.

Notes on temperature:
It’s important that if you are doing multiple rounds in the oven that the cookie sheets used are cooled before putting dough on them each time. It’s equally important to chill unused dough while waiting for its turn in the oven. All this chilling insures the cookies retain their shape in the finished product (no misshaped, or unevenly cooked edges).

The icing I used is a standard royal icing, adapted to quantity.

STANDARD ROYAL ICING*:
4 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp meringue powder
1 tsp vanilla
About ½ cup (room-temp) milk or water
1.     Mix powdered sugar and meringue powder.
2.     Add vanilla and food coloring if you desire
3.     Stir constantly (or mix with an electric mixer) adding milk or water one Tbsp at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

PEPPERMINT: for icing 8, 3” diameter cookies:
1 cup powdered sugar
¾ Tbsp meringue powder
1 tsp peppermint extract
About 6 Tbsp milk

GRAPE: for icing 8, 3” diameter cookies
1 cup powdered sugar
¾ Tbsp meringue powder
¼ tsp grape Kool-Aid powder, dissolved in
¼ cup room-temperature water

CHERRY: for icing 8, 3” diameter cookies:
1 cup powdered sugar
¾ Tbsp meringue powder
¼ tsp cherry-flavored Kool-Aid powdered drink mix, dissolved in
¼ cup room-temperature water


ORANGE: for icing 8, 3” diameter cookies:
1 cup powdered sugar
¾ Tbsp meringue powder
¼ cup of fresh squeezed orange juice (half Valencia orange)

LEMON: for icing 8, 3” diameter cookies:
1 cup powdered sugar
¾ Tbsp meringue powder
¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (one lemon)

LIME: for icing 8, 3” diameter cookies:
1 cup powdered sugar
¾ Tbsp meringue powder
¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice (one lime)

*For the piping the letters I made a half batch of the standard royal icing and added red food coloring. I used a #3 round tip.

      Full list of phrases included: NICE BOOBS, NICE ASS, SHORE THING, SEXT ME, HAPPY VD, ENJOY UR VD, LEGAL, MAGNUM LIFE, SUP BOO?, SUP SHAWTY?, SUP MA?, MILF, DILF, KNOCKED UP, BE MY BOO, BE MY SHAWTY, TESTED, SORRY-HEADACHE, U FROM TN?, I F*ING <3 U, SHAKE DAT, BITE ME…HARD, I LIKE UR PEACHES, MY ONE OF MANY, and MMMM…WAFFLES.

I must also add that all the yellow cookies in the pictures are actually GLUTEN-FREE butter cookies. The recipe is from Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts. I received this book as a gift last Christmas. I hope to try out all recipes in her book before providing a full review. But, I must say the butter cookies rocked! Simple to make (although they must be made in extremely small batches), and the finished texture was superb, soft and buttery. If you didn’t know they were gluten-free it would be hard to pick them out of the pack. I obviously cannot post the recipe here for copyright infringement, but I would recommend checking the book out at the library. Whether or not to buy the book… we’ll see in future posts if the rest of the recipes are just as outstanding.

I hope you ENJOY UR VD!



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