Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Hearts

I love shortbread and have made these little shortbread hearts several times before. I usually make shortbread each Christmas with different dried fruit and nuts, but these are fun for Valentine's Day. This is a Martha Stewart recipe and the shortbread itself is very easy to make.  I chilled it overnight and then let the dough come to room temperature the next day.  I used this fun fluted edge heart cutter that I liked more than the straight edge hearts.

I like to make the cookies nice and thick.  This way they aren't thin and crispy and are nice and soft.  The trick is to roll out the dough to a consistent thickness so they bake evenly.

For the chocolate dipping sauce, you just mix some bittersweet chocolate and canola oil together and melt in a double boiler.  I just dredge the edge of the cookie in the chocolate and let them dry on parchment. 

I didn't even let them dry before I grabbed one to have with a cup of coffee this afternoon. YUM.

Conversation Heart Cookies

I've needed a reason to bake lately and have been rather void of any creative ideas for fun baking projects.  When it came to signing up for a treat for my daughter's pre-school class, I would have picked cupcakes, but that was already taken, so I went for cookies.  I instantly knew what I wanted to make when I saw their classroom door. We wouldn't just make heart-shaped cookies, but conversation heart cookies.

Here was my inspiration:

We made our sugar cookie dough a day ahead to refrigerate and let it come to room temperature before rolling out.  We made some royal icing and picked lavender, yellow, orange, pink and green to frost our cookies.

They looked really pretty just like this, but we I simply had to make them conversation hearts.

  It's been done several times before so there was plenty cookies ideas to review out there.  There were lots of fun little sayings you can put on the cookies and we did a few, but primarily used their names for each cookie.  We made all sizes of hearts and used the smaller ones for the kids and the larger ones for the teachers. We did take a few shortcuts in making these, but they turned out just fine (especially for 2-year-olds). We did not line the edges when frosting the cookies. We also did not use the royal icing for piping the names. I had a red gel handy and decided to use that.  It was a little gooey to work with and hard to write with the tube, but it worked.

I bet the girls will be thrilled to give these to all their friends at their Valentine's Day party tomorrow!