We say Valentine's Day is about love, a day for sharing your thoughts and romantic feelings with another. But in practice? In the words of French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre: We are the sum total of our actions.
Americans consume millions of pounds of chocolate on Valentine's Day. Add to that the millions of cupcakes in the classroom, the thousands-upon-thousands of brownies at the office and all other untold number of candies virtually everywhere else — and that points to only one thing: Valentine's Day is about sweets.
So, all of you spurned lovers, anti-Valentine's Day sad-sacks and terminally lonely people? Rejoice! For this day is as much about you as it is everyone else.
And it is with that joyful thought in my heart that I share with you this delicious how-to for making cookie pops.
A few years back, eating any type of food on a stick was en vogue. First it was meat (think corn dogs), followed by fruit baskets (colorfully anointed skewers with floral-shaped fruit), followed by cake. Not to be left behind in all the food-stick madness, the humble cookie eventually made its way to the top of a skewer.
While there are special pans one can purchase to accomplish the seemingly fragile task of balancing the crumbly confection upon its vertical host, the truth is, all that's needed is the right recipe to make that cookie stand and stay put. A cookie that is stiff but not too stiff; sweet but not too sweet — the perfect sugar cookie. (Recipe and instructions adapted from sweetapolita.com.)
What you'll need
2 wooden dowels (about ¼ inch in diameter)
A heart-shaped cookie cutter
6 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups (4 sticks) butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
Add each egg one at a time, letting your mixer blend the eggs for a good two minutes before adding the next egg. Add the vanilla.
In parts and on slow speed, add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture until fully combined into dough.
Break the dough into two portions. Flatten each portion into a disk shape about 1-inch thick, wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.
Starting with one disk (leaving the other to chill), break off a portion of the dough and place it between the two dowels, running up and down.
With a rolling pin, roll the dough flat, using the dowels as your thickness guides. Eventually the rolling pin will run along the length of the dowels, keeping the dough at an even 1/4 inch thickness.
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Working one cookie at a time, cut out a heart-shape and move the shaped dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Insert a lollipop stick into the base of the dough, about halfway up into the cookie's center.
Carefully flip the cookie over. If there a crack or split where the stick is, take a small bit of dough and patch the cracked area. Carefully pat the patch until it runs smooth and blends with the rest of the surface of the cookie. Continue with your next cookie, spacing them about 2 inches apart, and about 2 inches from the edge of the pan.
Once the sheet is full, slide the parchment with the cookies onto a cutting board and return them to the fridge. Chill 15 to 20 minutes.
Slide the parchment back onto the baking sheet and bake 12-14 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.
When done, cool the cookies on a wire rack completely, then decorate.
The writer can be reached at email@example.com or @traciAWESOME on Twitter. Read her blog at fresnobeehive.com.