Tag Archives: Valentines Day

Sweets for the Sweet: Homemade Hearts

If your house is anything like mine, your floor is littered with hearts and stickers, confetti and sparkles, the uncontainable detritus of the month-long operation that consumes our home at this time every year: making Valentines.  The glue!  The glitter!  The little girls cutting hearts and hearts and hearts and hearts, and the thousands of tiny scraps of paper that float to every corner of the floor!  The never-ending sweeping….

I mostly try to just smile and nod, enjoying the spectacle and vaguely hoping that we’ll manage to reclaim the table in time for dinner each night.  As you probably know, I prefer to make my own messes in the kitchen.

With Valentines Day coming up this week, if you’re like me, you might like to know that you don’t have to settle for crumbly, flavorless conversation hearts with pre-printed messages.  Since I’m rarely organized to make holiday treats before the day itself, I’ll refer you back to a post from last year: Make your own easy DIY conversation hearts and express your true feelings instead!emmycooks Conversation HeartsIf that’s too extreme for you, though, you should probably at least make your Valentine a plate of cookies.Plate of Sugar CookiesHope your homes are full of sweetness this week!


A Child’s Sugar Cookie

Valentines Day didn’t go exactly as planned this year.  So we put off making our usual heart-shaped cookies until everyone was well enough to be allowed back into the kitchen.  It’s never the wrong day to celebrate with pink heart cookies, I say.

I love this recipe for two reasons.  First, the dough is extremely easy to work with.  Kids can roll it, cut it, move the cookies, re-roll the scraps, and start again.  It isn’t fussy at all.  Second, the recipe came to me from my mom’s good friend, who got it from her “Mumsy” decades ago, and you know those recipes are always the best.  The recipe came labeled: “A Child’s Cookie: stands up to rough handling by kids.”  And indeed it does.

Sugar Cookies: Cream 1/2 c. butter with 1 c. sugar.  Stir in 2 beaten eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla.  Add 2 1/2 c. flour mixed with 2 tsp. baking powder and mix well.  Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour or up to several days.  Roll out to 1/8-1/4″ thick, using a little more flour if the dough is sticky (thicker cookies will be softer, thinner will be crisper).  Cut out shapes and bake at 350 on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Baking time will vary according to thickness, but start checking them after 6 minutes and remove from oven before they start to brown.  Cool on a wire rack.  We decorated ours with colored sugar and sprinkles before baking, but of course you can frost these and decorate them once they’re baked.   Or leave them plain–you can never go wrong turning plain thin cookies into Nutella Sandwich Cookies.

Say What You Mean With Homemade Conversation Hearts

I have to start with a few confessions here.  One: This may be the farthest thing from “real food” that will ever grace these pages.  Two: Making homemade conversation hearts is about ten times more cutesy than I am in real life.  Three: Even though I’m trying to play it cool, I secretly had so much fun making these with my three year old.

There are, I suppose, a few good reasons to make your own Valentines Day conversation hearts, especially if you happen to have time to kill and an enormous quantity of powdered sugar on your hands.  The boxed kind have no fewer than five unrecognizable ingredients.  They taste awful.  And they say things like “text me” these days.  Wouldn’t you rather personalize yours with a message like “Marry Me” or “I think we should just be friends”?Conversation Heart Cutouts emmycooks.comEasy peasy.  Enter homemade conversation hearts.  I have quite a fondness for the CakeSpy cookbook Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life, which inspired this wacky project.  And it was easier than I thought it would be.

Please note that if you are going to get crazy and make these, you should start ASAP.  The hearts need to dry for 24 hours before you can write on them.

DIY Conversation Hearts start with a small bowl, in which you combine 1/2 c. water, 2 tsp. light corn syrup, and 1/4 oz. powdered gelatin.  Whisk well, microwave for 30 seconds, then whisk well again.  Dump mixture into the bowl of your mixer with 1 c. powdered sugar (in case you’re shopping, I used almost 2 1/2 lbs. powdered sugar in all).  Turn mixer on low and slowly incorporate 2 lbs. powdered sugar, scraping the bowl down occasionally.  Turn your sticky dough out onto a surface heavily dusted with MORE powdered sugar and knead like bread dough, adding more powdered sugar as you go, until the dough is satiny rather than sticky.

Divide the dough into as many colors as you want, and knead a few drops each of food coloring and flavoring (I used almond extract) into each ball.  This step is messy; I lined my counter with parchment paper to avoid staining.  I also added more powdered sugar as I worked in the liquid color and flavor.

Roll the dough out 1/8-1/4 inch thick.  Use heart -shaped cutters (I used a set of fondant cutters) to make tiny or almost-tiny hearts.  (Smaller = more realistic. Bigger = easier to write on.)  Pinch the scraps back together and re-roll.  The original recipe said it would make 100 hearts, but it actually made a gazillion.  Really.  More than 500.

Let the hearts dry on parchment paper for 24 hours, then use food coloring markers (like Gourmet Writer Food Pens) to ink the hearts with Valentines messages that express your own true self.  If that means writing “text me,” so be it–at least the recipient will know that you really mean it.

Conversation Heart Scraps emmycooks.com