There’s a story from years ago in my journal ~ an epiphany to me, of sorts, as you will soon see. Enjoy this peek into my (frightfully~sensitive, continuing to learn that it’s not about me) heart…and then check out the recipe at the end!
My head knows it’s not personal.
We sit chatting ~ a group of women gathered to celebrate an impending birth ~ and the topic circles to our preparations for upcoming Valentine’s Day parties.
I know this! I’ve got it. Two weeks ago I experienced a Valentine’s fiasco while attempting to walk my three young daughters, then 7, 5, and 3, down the card exchange aisle to choose theirs.
I share this experience. Others nod in agreement.
There’s the frustration of type and cost and amount of cards in each box. Boy or girl or gender-neutral? Candy? Sticker? Tattoo? Store meltdown?
“Homemade!” interjects a fun, experienced mom.
Each year, at the beginning of February, she and her children start making cards. It’s their thing, and it’s not stressful if they’ve planned ahead for it.
She describes this year’s cards, and we ooh and ahhh over lollipops dressed as superheroes and ballerina card rockets made from candy rolls.
I know this, too! It’s with cookies. My special, only~on~Valentine’s Day chocolate shortbread dipped hearts. Bakery~beautiful. Made by me!
Two~dozen for each class party, plus extras to give away just because.
I know stressful and last~minute and the desire to start early. I start with the best of intentions each year, thinking I will plan ahead and fill the freezer February 1st. I’m often up late February 13th dipping and drizzling and counting.
I begin to share my homemade cookie experience.
Silence. Murmurs. No one really trusts homemade these days.
But these are my beautiful Valentine cookies! I want to defend them. Explain myself. Fit in!
Something inside of me shrinks and hides. I retreat to the inner place where I can process that it’s not about me.
It’s about not knowing people and their kitchens and gluten and allergies and sanitary conditions.
I get it in my head, but my heart is slowly awakened to the reality that I’m from another mothering era, moving on…baking cookies.
Now here’s the good part, the recipe found in the February/March 2005 Taste of Home magazine…
Valentine Cookie Recipe
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
In a separate bowl combine
2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
Gradually add to the butter/sugar mixture, forming the dough.
Roll out onto lightly floured (I use cocoa) surface and cut with cookie cutters. (I cover my dough with waxed paper and roll it out, hence the wrinkles.)
Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Let cool and remove to wire racks.To decorate,
Melt 1 cup of white chocolate or almond bark or those melty disks and 1 T shortening in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 second increments, stirring after each check until smooth. Dip the edges of cooled cookies into the coating and place on waxed paper.Melt a handful (1/2 cup) of chocolate chips with 1 T of shortening in the same way. Then spoon the mixture into a zipper bag or pastry decorator bag to do the drizzle. My daughter, Shortcut Shani, saved a step by placing them in a zipper quart freezer bag and melting them in the microwave that way. You just have to poke a little hole in the corner afterwards. Drizzle the chocolate over the hearts, like so.Shortcut Shani also makes this recipe Vegan by using shortening in place of the butter.There you have an easy, fun treat to make for your Valentine (but not necessarily for your child’s class unless you are me), if he or she has no dietary restrictions. I make these once a year. They are like buttah.