What I’m Cooking: Valentine’s Day

My love of Valentine’s Day goes easily back to elementary school days. I remember making containers to hold candy for my family, and sneaking them into their rooms at night. The first year, my friend and I were taking sewing classes, and I remember sewing a heart-shaped pillow with a pocket for candy on it. One year, I took sponges and cut small heart shapes out of them, and sponged pink and red hearts on plain white paper. I cut the paper into strips and wove baskets out of them.

It’s been many years since I’ve been that creative, but I still really enjoy baking for my friends and family. And for the last four or five years, the employees club at work (of which I’m on the board) has done a Valentine’s-themed bake sale.

So tonight, while I am busily baking for tomorrow’s bake sale, I thought I’d post some of my favorites here in case you, too, are in need of last-minute inspiration. I will update this post with pictures soon, and will probably post some of these recipes on their own. But for now, this is a good starting point!

Jam Filled Heart Cookies – these have become a year-round favorite of almost everyone who has tried them.  Several changes from the original recipe – use the whole egg, and roll all the dough out as one, rolling until relatively thin. Use your hands to “mush” it into a rectangle if needed. I use a homemade jam with seeds, and have never had a problem, so feel free to use either. Spread a thin layer across the dough – resist the urge to add more, as it will just ooze out. Roll up as directed, and then refrigerate or freeze until pretty firm, otherwise it won’t cut well.

Candy Corn Macadamia Nut Blondies – While I first found them and started making them for Halloween, they are such a favorite that I also make them for Valentine’s Day, using Valentine’s-colored candy corn. I’m going to make the original recipe this year, in all its fudge-like glory.

Conversation Heart Sandwich Cookies – These are such a festive way to use the ubiquitous conversation hearts. I like to crush them up into the cookie, almost like a Valentine’s version of funfetti, and I use a cooked flour frosting to sandwich the cookies together.

In previous years, I have also made these:

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies – always a favorite in their bright red glory

Flourless Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies – intensely chocolatey and naturally gluten free, these are a hit with all chocolate lovers

There are some other ideas on my Valentine’s Day Pinterest board

What are you making for Valentine’s Day?

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