I love love. I recognize that Valentine’s Day is not a “real” holiday to many people, but I don’t care. It’s my second favorite holiday, (after Christmas, another holiday one could argue is also about love). Every year I get excited to see the pink and red heart shaped items in the stores. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a heart print! But I am also excited to celebrate a day dedicated to showing the people you love how much you care about them.
I’m married now, but I loved Valentine’s Day even when I was single. As a child, I loved handing out cards to my classmates and friends. As a teen, I enjoyed celebrating “galentines” day with friends. And I will always remember the little treats my mom would leave for us on the breakfast table on Valentine’s Day morning (thanks Mom!).
Now as an adult, I have lots of fun creating homemade treats to celebrate Valentine’s Day with everyone I love. I always enjoy making homemade gifts, and I’ll take any excuse to make things heart-shaped and pink!
These sugar cookie style sandwiches are ideal for giving as gifts — fancy looking, but easy to make. They are also sturdy enough to be transported without breaking. They’ll definitely make anyone you care about feel special this Valentine’s Day!
I made these using 2 gel food colors, fuchsia and rose. Gel colors are thicker and more concentrated than liquid ones. They work better here since they don’t introduce too much moisture into your dough. Always start with just a little gel color, slowly adding more, to get the color you want.
I made these with both a vanilla and chocolate filling. My husband loves vanilla, but I prefer chocolate, so I decided we needed both! The recipes below make enough to fill one batch of cookies. You can choose just one flavor filling or make both and save the leftovers in the fridge.
Heart Shaped Sandwich Cookies
Adapted from a recipe from Martha Stewart
Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp coarse salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Red and/or pink gel-paste food coloring
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Reduce the speed to low, and gradually add in the flour mixture, beating until incorporated. The mixture will be a little dry and crumbly at this point.
Dump the mixture from the bowl on to a silicone mat or large piece of parchment paper. Knead a few times until it comes together into a smooth dough. If you want more than one color cookie, divide the dough into 2, 3, or 4 equal pieces, depending on how many shades you want to make. Add the gel food coloring to each piece, working 1 drop at a time and kneading to combine the color until there are no streaks. Flatten each piece of colored dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for least 1 hour, or up to overnight. Let sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes before rolling.
Preheat oven to 325 and position racks in the upper and lower thirds. Working with one disc at a time, roll out the dough on a silicone mat or large piece of lightly floured parchment paper until about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out into small heart shapes (I used cutters about 1 1/2 and 2 inches in size), making sure to have an even number of hearts in each size and color.
Line baking sheets with a nonstick liner (like Silpat) or parchment paper. Place cookies 1 inch apart on sheets. Bake until barely golden brown around edges, about 10-12 minutes (depending on cookie size). Switch and rotate the pans halfway through the baking time so the cookies bake evenly.
Let cookies cool completely on baking sheets set on wire racks. Spread the filling of your choice onto half the cookies, and sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing gently. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons whole milk or heavy cream
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually add sugars until thoroughly combined. Beat in vanilla. Mix in milk or cream, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until filling is smooth and spreadable. Add additional liquid or confectioners sugar as needed to achieve the right consistency.
- 5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of steaming water (do not let the bowl touch the water) and stir until chocolate is melted. Add the milk, butter and vanilla and stir to combined and smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before using.