Sunday, February 20, 2011

Love is still in the air!

Here's a recipe you can look forward to for Valentine's Day next year, or just use different cookie cutters and food coloring and who cares what day you're celebrating!

These are a family Valentine's Day tradition.  My grandma used to make them for her Sunday school children, and my mother made them for us kids' classmates for Valentine's Day (6 kids x 25 classmates . . .  a LOT of cookies on our dining room table, granted not all 6 kids were in elementary school at the same time, but still!).  She would even go so far as to write each child's name on their cookie.  My mom is the Original Martha! 

I have very fond memories of Valentine's Day and want to continue that tradition in my house.  Since I can't and shouldn't eat an entire batch by myself and I don't have any kids I decided to make them for my co-workers, and skipped the elegant bordering and writing, which they didn't miss at all.  They devoured them and came back for more.  I did the fancy frosting for my husband and myself, though.  Although, the cookies unfrosted were surprisingly great. 

This recipe is based off my mom's recipe, but I've tweaked it a bit to make them more soft and added some almond flavoring because I love that subtle flavor in sugar cookies.  Please try this, I promise you'll love them and get tons of compliments!  Please email me or comment below if you have any questions about the recipe.

Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies or Conversation Heart Cookies

1/2 cup Crisco
1/2 cup margarine (room temp)
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
Cream until fluffy

4 1/2 cups flour (measure by spooning into measuring cup, then level off top)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoon baking powder
mix with wire wisk, pour slowly into creamed mixture

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons milk
Add before all the flour has been added.

Chill dough to make easier to work with.  Roll out 1/4 inches thick.  Cut 3 inch hearts, and transfer to cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat liner.  Bake at 375 degrees for nine minutes or until no longer shiny and edges are just barely turning light brown.  Cool slightly on cookie sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

1 pound of powdered sugar
1 cube margarine (cold)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
red food coloring
4 tablespoons milk (or less)

Put powdered sugar and margarine in food processor, blend well, add vanilla and almond extracts then a few drops of red food coloring.  Add milk to get desired consistency.  Make one batch of pink frosting, and one batch of white frosting for the borders and names.  Frost cooled cookies and allow frosting to set and harden a bit.  Do one think layer of pink frosting all over, then using pastry bag with star tip, outline edge of heart with white frosting.  Use a small round tip to write names on inside with white frosting.  Be careful when transporting, as frosting will get smashed relatively easily.

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