I didn't get very much done in time for valentines day this year, and I was pretty well snowed in anyway so I guess it's ok. I usually give valentines to all my friends but I figured I wouldn't see most of them until it was too late... and I was worn out from shoveling. I was slightly bummed out though because I had been planning to surprise my (almost all girl) book arts class with a valentine making day instead of the lecture on the schedule. Oh well. I did make chocolate clove cookies dipped in chocolate which I originally intended to pipe pink decorations on... and pink strawberry cupcakes. I pretty much always make myself a bday cake. The cupcakes are kind of an ongoing obsession of mine to make a pink/ strawberry cupcake without artificial flavor and these were ok, but they tasted more like muffins than cupcakes to me. They were based largely on the sprinkles recipe and I just wasn't feeling it. I will keep messing with it. There are strawberries and beet juice which do at least give it a nice color. I made chocolate strawberry swiss buttercream icing which was awesome. I always use Nick Malgeri's base recipe-- it can't be topped in my opinion. The cookies are very slightly adapted from one of Martha's recipes (mostly with the addition of clove and salt which I find key...) and are kind of my go-to roll and cut cookie. They are easy to work with and don't have to be chilled every five seconds like some sugar cookie doughs and brilliantly hold their shape when they cook. And they are chocolate which is even better. Sorry these pictures are atrocious.
Chocolate Clove Cookies
adapted from Martha Stewart
- 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teas. coarse sea salt (I prefer gray salt)
- 1/2 teas. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teas. ground clove
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teas. pure vanilla extract
In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon. Set mixture aside.
Use an electric mixer to cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
Add flour mixture; mix on low speed until thoroughly combined. Divide dough in half; wrap in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes. Transfer to silpat lined baking sheets; refrigerate until firm, 15 minutes. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until crisp but not darkened. Cool on wire racks; decorate with chocolate or icing. (You could alternatively sprinkle sugar on them before they went in the oven)