Yes it’s St Valentine’s Day! I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of this Hallmark holiday (growing up in Australia, it definitely did not have the hype it does in North America), although I love baking sweet treats for my friends, colleagues and Mr Neil. But it doesn’t need to be St Valentine’s Day for that, right?
This St Valentine’s Day, I participated in the first (and hopefully not last!) French Fridays with Dorie cookie exchange, organised by the indefatigable Alice (who also organised the holiday card exchange whereby I received something like 30 holidays cards from “Doristas” all over the world – including Dorie!). We received the name of a fellow Dorista and our name was given to another so we just baked and received one batch.
Last week, I was so excited to receive this gorgeous package and sweet note from Kendra (and it made me hope to goodness that Cher does not post what I sent MY cookie care package in – certainly not nearly as pretty as this one!)
OMG, did she say Beurre & Sel jammers? Yes, she did! I tried to contain my excitement in the staffroom as I opened these on the eve of the big snowstorm last week and we were all in need of a little something sweet. Yes, I ended up sharing with the lucky few who happened to be around. And Googling and emailing the recipe to those who were lucky enough to share them with me within 2 bites of the cookie!
(I did save some for Mr Neil. Because I am nice like that.)
Thanks Kendra – what a lovely Dorie-Valentine thought…
Meanwhile, I was so excited to discover I was baking for Cher. We’ve become fast friends over the past couple of years through French Fridays and Tuesdays with Dorie, and though we’ve never met, it feels like we have.
I wondered about making macarons because Cher always admires mine… But wasn’t sure about sending them in such humid conditions without decent packaging. I figured I’ll need to take a trip to visit Cher one of these days and show her how to make them myself anyway…
I finally settled on a family favourite – Melting Moments…
- FOR THE COOKIES
- 125g butter, at room temperature
- zest from one large lemon
- ½ cup icing sugar
- ½ cup custard powder
- approx ¾ cup self raising flour
- FOR THE FILLING
- 30g butter, room temperature
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- MAKE THE COOKIES
- Preheat oven to 350F and prepare cookie trays with parchment paper.
- Using a stand mixer and the whisk attachment or electric hand beaters, cream the butter and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the icing sugar and continue to beat until creamy.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in the custard powder and then gradually add the flour until the mixture has come together enough to make small balls of dough. Don’t add all the flour at once – depending on the weather, you might need less than ¾ cup – the mixture should not be too crumbly otherwise you won’t be able to form the cookie shapes.
- Roll into small, teaspoon sized balls, press with a fork to flatten the cookies slightly.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until cookies are golden. They will still be a little soft as you take them out of the oven.
- Remove cookies from trays with a large spatula and place on cooling rack until completely cool.
- MAKE THE FILLING
- Cream the butter with electric hand beaters until light and fluffy.
- Add the icing sugar and continue to beat (at first on low speed so the icing sugar doesn't go flying everywhere) until the icing sugar is almost completely absorbed into the butter.
- Add the milk and vanilla and beat until the mixture is thick and creamy - think Nutella-type consistency that you can pipe into the cookies.
- TO FILL
- Fill a piping bag (14") with the filling.
- Turn 8 of the cooled cookie halves upside down and pipe about a tablespoon of the filling on each half.
- Carefully using a circular motion, join matching cookie halves making sure not to press too hard as the cookies will still be a little soft.
- Store in an airtight container.
These were a great batch of cookies, if I do say so myself. Mr Neil tested 2 of them before we sent them to Cher as well. Because, well, you know, quality control and all that… I am pretty sure she enjoyed them. Not sure she shared though
Happy Thursday folks! And if you celebrate St Valentine’s Day, I hope it’s a sweet one!