Heart shaped sugar cookies

Is it just me, or is Valentine’s Day on steroids this year?  I may not be in the West, but nearly every email from a retailer for these past two weeks has been ALL about St Valentine’s.  Now, I’m not particularly a big fan of Valentine’s Day.  Many, many moons ago when the Domestic Prince and I were in the early stages of our relationship, it held more meaning, and we would make more of a big deal about February 14th than we do now.  Don’t get me wrong, we still acknowledge the day with a card or small token (we don’t have hearts of stone!), but it’s all quite understated.  I’m now of the same thinking as the Prince that it just feels too commercial and more than a little bit contrived, and having a slightly rebellious streak, I don’t want to be told when to show the one I love, how much I love them.  And since finally getting married, we now have our very own day to celebrate our relationship.

Judy Garland quote

Honestly, I’m not bah-humbug, I promise.  I pretty much embrace any and all holidays/festivals; Valentine’s is just not my thing.  So, when the gorgeous Alice and I were having a long overdue Skype catch-up, she asked what was going on the blog on Friday, and I told her….(obviously it wasn’t love themed), she was surprised and said that I should do something to mark the day.  Alice currently lives in the US, where V-day is suped-up and then some, so her lovely little minis are completely enthused about today – they’ve written secret cards for people in their class!  As a result, Al is having a Valentine’s dinner and making all things V-day themed and has kindly shared one of her recipes with us today.  Perfect for making with any of your little ones.

photo 3

Photo credit: Alice Ray Photography

Heart shaped sugar cookies (makes approximately 24 cookies)

Ingredients

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2tsp  almond extract
  • 1 1/2tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 60ml sour cream
  • 3tbsp cornflour
  • 340g plain flour

To decorate

  • 400g icing sugar
  • 3-4tbsp water
  • 2-3 drops of food colouring per colour
  • Sprinkles if you fancy

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 – 180C.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy.
  3. Add the egg, vanilla extract, almond extract, baking powder and a pinch of salt and mix until it’s well combined.
  4. With either your stand or hand mixer on the lowest speed, add half the sour cream, then the cornstarch, followed by half the flour.  Add the remaining sour cream and flour, mixing until just incorporated.
  5. If pressing into cookie moulds, roll the mixture into small balls and then press into each mould, making sure the mixture gets into all the creases of the mould.  If rolling and using a cookie cutter, divide the mixture into 2 and then cover each ball in plastic and put in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  6. Put the cookies onto a baking tray and bake for 8-10mins, or until set, but not browned.  Cool for 5 mins and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  7. Once the cookies have cooled, it’s time to make the icing.  Sift the icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir in enough water to create a smooth mixture.  Divide between separate bowls if you’re using a different colours and stir in the food colouring.
  8. Decorate and enjoy!

Alice’s tips

  1. In humid/rainy weather add 2tbsp extra flour.
  2. If you’re not keen on almond flavouring (DP, I can’t stand the stuff), then swap the almond extract for an additional 1/2tsp of vanilla extract.
  3. Don’t be tempted to make the cookies too thick – 1/4 to 1/2″ is perfect.
  4. If you have a food blender, give your icing sugar a quick whizz to get any lumps out.
  5. This cookie dough freezes really well, so you could make a double batch, and pop half in the freezer for a future day.

Are you like me and not really fussed when it comes to V-day, or do you embrace it with full gusto?

With big Valentine’s love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Triple chocolate cookies

In my opinion, chocolate chip cookies are one of the USA’s greatest inventions!  The British have invented some pretty delicious offerings in the biscuit arena, especially ones that are perfect for dunking (McVitie Chocolate Digestives, I’m talking about you!).  However, there is something delicious about breaking into a soft chewy chocolate chip cookie.  The chocolate chip cookie was invented by chance, when Ruth Wakefield from the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, came up with the superb idea of adding chocolate to her butter cookies some time during the 1930s.  Bravo Ruth!  The cookies that you buy from supermarkets that come in packets are poor examples of what a cookie should taste and look like.  And don’t start me on the texture!  Americans do quite a few things bigger and better than us Brits and I’ve got to say, chocolate chip cookies are definitely one of them!  I had some white and dark chocolate open, so decided to make triple chocolate chip cookies, instead of the straight dark / milk chocolate versions.  These cookies have a crunchy exterior, which then yields to a soft chewy centre.  Simply divine….oh and be warned, they’re very moreish!  One is most definitely not enough.

 

 

Makes 18 cookies

Ingredients

  • 120g of unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g of light soft brown sugar
  • 50g of demerara sugar
  • 1tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 120g of plain flour
  • 120g of strong white bread flour
  • 1/4tsp of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2tsp of salt
  • 70g of dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
  • 70g of milk chocolate, chopped into chunks
  • 70g of white chocolate, chopped into chunks

Method

  1. Cream together the softened unsalted butter with the light soft brown and demerara sugars.  I use my KitchenAid for this.
  2. Mix in the vanilla extract and beaten eggs.
  3. Sift together the plain flour, strong white bread flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt, and mix it into the butter mixture.  It should form a stiff dough.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
  5. Wrap the dough in cling film and pop in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  6. When ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 170C.
  7. Line two trays with baking parchment and put golf-sized pieces on the baking parchment, making sure they are well spaced.
  8. Bake for around 11 to 13 minutes.  They should be golden in colour but not brown.
  9. Allow to cool for a few minutes, before transferring to a cooling rack.  I prefer to eat mine when they’re still slightly warm.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. Don’t be tempted to use chocolate chips, roughly cut chunks from a bar work much better.
  2. The demerara and soft brown sugars lend a caramel flavour to the cookies, so I would strongly recommend sticking with these sugars and not substituting for white. The demerara gives the outside of cookies a nice crunch, which you wouldn’t get if you used caster sugar.
  3. If you want a treacle flavour to your cookies, then use dark soft brown sugar, instead of the light brown.
  4. Only use chocolate that you would be happy to eat on its own as a bar.
  5. If you want to make these just chocolate chip cookies, instead of triple-chocolate, replace the milk and white chocolate with all dark.
  6. Using strong white bread flour means your cookies won’t spread as much, resulting in a puffier and chewier cookie.
  7. Chilling the dough helps produce a drier, firmer cookie.  I only chilled mine for 2 hours and the results were fabulous, so I can only imagine how much better they could be if I had chilled the dough for 24 to 36 hours.

Do you love soft chewy cookies?  Or do you prefer your biscuit to be thin and crispy?
With much love

The Domestic Princess

xoxo

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