I hope I don't sound like a boob for saying this.... but there was a time when I thought Valentine's day was a just a painful reminder that I'm still single.
The irony maybe in admitting that, is now that I'm married, I forget it all together. (I’m kidding, but I swear every year this holiday creeps up on me and I turn to John and I’m like, “Crap! It’s Valentines Day! What do you want to do?! Eat pasta and stay home? Okay cool, I’ll make us dinner.”)
I have fallen on both sides of the spectrum: loving the day and loving to hate the day, and I can tell you the one thing that all of us, regardless of relationship status have in common: We all need a treat. Especially on Valentine's Day.
I learned this early on when I was going through university and without a boyfriend. For the record, I never had a boyfriend going through college therefore I was never swept up on some fun romantic Valentine's date. (Dinner reservations for a party of one? No thanks.) So, I made it a tradition every Valentine's Day to visit a chocolate shop all by my lonesome. While others were no doubt waiting in line to buy chocolate for loved ones, I was waiting in line buying chocolate for myself. And to eat them all by myself to be exact. That was the re-occurring theme actually, "all by myself".
Bridget Jone's rendition of "All By Myself" was my theme song and nothing hit home more than watching that movie (Bridget Jone's Diary) accompanied by handfuls of chocolate hearts. In fact, on the same blessed day I decided to make treating myself with chocolate a tradition, my mom serendipitously sent me a 2 pound heart-shaped box of chocolates.
Amen and hallelujah.
With dozens of different flavored filled chocolates at my disposal, empty fanned chocolate-cups scattered about the floor and Bridget in the background, I honestly didn't know if life would, er, could get better than this.
Since then, I've made a new tradition of spreading treats to those I love dearly.
And I spread that love chocolate-free and full of hot pink: Behold the simple sugar cookie.
This sugar cookie recipe is the best I've come across. They hold their shape. They're buttery. They're addicting, not sickeningly-sweet and really therapeutic to decorate. And they're hot pink. I mean, really.
It's been a while since my college days, but some traditions never die. Those chocolate hearts are in my candy bowl as we speak (though I don't wait in line anymore on V-day to buy them) and Bridget still graces my screen this time of year. Even though I used to watch it relating to her lack of a love life, it still holds a special place in my heart because, well, bring out the cheese sauce, she got her happy ending and well, I got mine.
But even if you haven't had your happy ending yet, or are hating love all together, let me shower you in sugar cookies (we can break the hearts in half) and we’ll sing hateful or hopeful love songs, your choice.
And may I join you in eating that 2 pound box of chocolate?
Happy Valentine's Day my friends. Love to you.
ps. If you'd like to show some love to some amazing kids around the world, check out the ebook I had the opportunity to contribute to: Made From Scratch 2016. When you purchase the ebook, every single dollar is donated to an amazing foundation called Pencils of Promise, which sends underprivileged kids to school for a year. So far we've raised $6,500, sending over 260 kids to school but we'd love to send more. You can donate as little or as much as you like to the cause and you receive this amazing gluten free, dairy free e-cookbook in exchange (not to mention the warm fuzzies that come from knowing you did a little good in the world today). If you're interested act now, the book is only available for a short period of time. xo
the best classic sugar cookie ❤
makes 15-18 2 ½ inch cookies
adapted from baked
I don't know if it's the sugar cookie or the fact that they're hot pink, but these always bring a smile to people's faces. There's something about a cookie being boldly pink that brings out the kid in all of us. Yeah? It's sugar simplicity at its funnest. If you know someone who's single, or not to keen on Valentines Day, this just might be the cookie to convert them. And if it's some girlfriend you really love, why not watch Bridget Jones while you eat them huh? ;)
note: I think these are best just slightly underdone. And they certainly don't need frosting if you don't feel like making it. Or if you'd like to make the frosting without any dye, these are precious left all white. I dare say they're also awesome dipped in melted chocolate.
1 ¾ cup / 245g all-purpose flour, preferably organic
¼ teaspoon of medium grain kosher salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminum free
¾ cups (1 ½ sticks) / 170g unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons butter or shortening, (Shorting does change the texture in a great way just slightly, but butter is usually my go-to. I use all vegetable, organic and trans-fat free shorting sometimes.)
⅔ cup / 133g sugar, regular white granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature, preferably organic
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
for the royal icing:
2 cups / 240g confectioners' sugar, sifted (powdered sugar)*
2 large egg whites, I always use super fresh and organic, especially when making this. Do NOT skimp on the quality of your eggs. The eggs can be cold for this.
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, a little more or a little less depending on the dryness of the day... I used a little more here, and I think it was just a little too runny.
food coloring, I use high quality food coloring paste from Sur La Table, there's some good plant-based food dye out there too that I'd love to get my hands on, but I haven't tried it out yet.
Preheat oven to 325° F / 170° C. Prepare an un-greased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Measure and whisk together all dry ingredients (except the sugar) in a separate bowl.
In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment mix together the softened butter, extra butter (or shortening), and sugar until light and fluffy. About 5 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until just combined.
Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until combined. Be careful not to over mix.
Wrap the dough in parchment paper and plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours OR 15 minutes in the freezer, like me.
Unwrap the dough, lift it from its parchment paper, and flour the entire surface.
Roll out the dough on your floured parchment paper until the dough is about ¼ inch thick.
Cut into heart shape with a cookie cutter (or any shape you desire) and place on lined cookie sheet.
Pop 'em in the oven for about 12 minutes. Do not over bake. They will not be golden brown when done, but a milky dough color. This is perfect. Unless you want a crunchy sugar cookie then let them brown a little but watch them, as they can brown too quickly.
Let the cookies cool for 15-20 minutes before icing.
Let the icing dry on the cookies before storing. (I usually let mine dry over night, then immediately wrap them up in the morning but if you live in a dry area, don't leave them out that long - 4 hours tops.)
Store in an airtight container for about 3-4 days - making sure you separate the cookies with parchment to prevent sticking.
for the royal icing:
Makes enough for one batch/recipe of sugar cookies - with a little extra to spare.
*If you don't want to sift the confectioners' sugar before hand, you don't have to, but be prepared to whisk aggressively as you add the liquid to take away any lumps.
Sift the powdered sugar in a bowl and slowly add your egg whites.
Then add lemon juice.
The mixture should have the texture of a thick glaze. Be careful not to over liquify-it.
Separate the frosting into several bowls to make different colored icings. Remember a little goes a long way.
I spread my icing on with a spoon, but the experts over at baked advise using a pastry bag. I suppose if you want detailed sugar cookies, this is the better way to go... but for me, a spoon will do.
Just an FYI: the glaze doesn't taste lemony at all.
❤ and SPREAD THE LOVE. ❤
why is this good for me?
Baking for other people is one of the greatest joys in life, and I think close to it is decorating a sugar cookie. So, I hope you make these and love every minute of it. xo