Valentine’s Day Cookies: You Decide

posted in: Ruminations | 27

There’s nothing that represents true love on Valentine’s Day better than two heart-shaped cookies joined in sticky matrimony with a sugary concoction between them. Even us singles can still look forward to this: stacks of heart-shaped, icinged, chocolate-dipped, powdered sugar-dusted, and daintily decorated cooookies.

All week I’ve been seeing some fascinating cookie-making take place. The photo above comes to us from my photographer friend Jeannie, who snapped shots of the San Francisco bakery Batter. In the blogosphere, Deb has given the heart-shaped sandwich cookie a smack of toasted coconut. At the Chili Takedown I was smitten to receive a sneak sampler of Blondie & Brownie‘s soon to be posted heart-shaped peanut butter jamwiches. Erin Cooks outdid her more classic heart cookies of last year with some heart-shaped peppermint patties. And I’m sure there’s tons more cookies being cut, baked and blogged about as we speak. It appears that everyone stole my idea, folks. I had the crushingly original notion of making heart-shaped cookies this week. But as I waited around for someone to lend me a cookie cutter and dreamt of how they would taste, many have beaten me to the chase, and with such flying colors.

Aw, sugar. But I’m not giving up. In fact, to make the perfect cookie for my Valentine this year (you, dear readers, are officially my Valentine this year), I’m tossing out a handful of ideas for you to choose from. I’ll make them and post the recipe on Saturday, the big day, depending on what you decide, so please choose wisely.

Before I go on with the nominee confections, I wanted to bring up another conundrum of this day we name after Saint Valentine. It’s the real meal. What, exactly, is the perfect romantic meal, or “date meal”? One of the chapters in my upcoming book will concern the little-known phenomenon of the date meal. Little-known not in that it isn’t a term we see tossed around quite a bit, but because its characteristics and limitations are so rarely defined. What makes a meal steamy? Just in terms of food, that is, and that doesn’t include chocolate body paint or some other edible salve. (Did I just say that? Wait, I’ve never heard of that stuff. What? No… )

So I’d love to hear your thoughts on that, too. I’m guessing it wouldn’t be chili. Seafood doesn’t smell right for this category either. To cook at home, I rather think a juicy pan-seared steak is just the type of luxurious but easy to prepare dish that lends itself to optimum leisure time — and risotto seems sexier than mashed potatoes to go with that. But what do I know, I’m just guessing in the dark.

And back to dessert. Here are those heart-shaped cookie ideas, in no particular order. Place your vote, Valentine, and they will soon “be mine.”

1. Vanilla heart cookie sandwiches with lime frosting
2. Butterscotch-drizzled sour cream heart cookies
3. Deep, dark chocolate and chili-spiced heart cookies
4. Toasted sesame seed-topped fresh gingersnap heart cookies
5. Green tea heart cookie sandwiches with red bean paste filling
6. Red velvet cookie sandwiches with cream cheese frosting

27 Responses

  1. Jordan

    I vote for number 6. Yum.

  2. Melissa

    My vote is for number 1. I love lime and vanilla that sounds delicious. I’m doing the traditional thing myself and going with the linzer, i’m a sucker for raspberry jam.

  3. Jenna

    I have to say you are right on the mark w/ the steak-risotto dinner combo. Somehow, mushrooms really appeal to me, w/ their earthy and rustic flavors that seem so primal. (I guess the simple act of cooking a slab of raw meat over a heating element [referencing the steak here] is another primal technique.) Mussels are another meal I’d pick for a cook at home date, because of their simple preparation and the festive feel that comes from pulling the meat our of the shells.

    In both the at home dinner and the date out, I really love a cheese course that lets you linger at dinner and cultivate conversation about the food and wine.

    I’m going to vote for #5, the green tea and red bean combo.

  4. T.

    Number 5!!!

  5. Erin

    Hmm…probably either the gingersnaps or the red velvet cookies. By the way, thank you for linking to my heart-shaped cookies and peppermint patties. They were both a lot of fun to make.

  6. J.

    #5 sounds sooo unique and delicious!

  7. TJ

    #4, imo.

    I agree with your seafood thoughts, though folks still buy in to the whole oyster myth. Jenna may be right about the mussels, but I’ve never done those at home; they are a lot of fun to open.

    For now, here’s what I’ll say about date cooking – I try to make things with a savory sauce, or are (generally) juicy. I try to make something you could take your time eating; above all, I want something that really engages the palate – makes you aware of the smell, taste, and feel of the food. So I try to make part of the meal very different from what came before – I usually make the difference a tactile one (e.g., something soft after something crunchy). The “pace” of what you’re eating helps with conversation and eye contact.

  8. Ellen

    Number 4. I’m a sucker for both sesame & gingersnaps.

  9. Jeannie

    #5 all the way. It’s like taking 2 amazing asian ice cream flavors and jamming them in to a cookie. What’s not to like? (cue gong.)

  10. Anonymous

    Mom Blogs – Blogs for Moms…

  11. Jeannie

    P.S. re: date meal: It’s imperative that you carefully choose dishes and ingredients based on their likelihood of producing gaseous effects from the rear, and even worse, a foul-smelling belch mid-makeout…especially if this is the 1st-5th date. 🙂

  12. [email protected]

    I’m way out of my element when it comes to baking advice, but when it comes to the meal…

    There’s an unsettling truth behind the fact that dudes like an old-style-like-Mom-used-to-make tri-component meal: a filet, a starch, and a vegetable. Without bringing up any latent Freudian issues, I think that formula *can be sexed up a bit (am I really saying this?) For the cube-steak role, I’d do something like a tofu- or tempeh-steak with a sauce. Go with the risotto; the texture speaks for itself. Something like a sauteed green- al dente, bright and toothy- would tie it all together.

    Of course, I’m the last one to be dishing out deal-sealing meal advice… Good luck and god speed, sistah-friend.

  13. Karol

    #6 please!!!!

  14. S.

    #3 please b/c it sounds yummy and perfect for the occasion!

  15. Blondie


  16. Sarah

    #4 all the way!

  17. te

    #5 is my vote.

  18. Jill

    #6 Please!

  19. hal

    Please make cookies #2 or 3.

    As a date meal goes, I try to look for things that I know I can cook well. One year I was dating a health nut and I went for some nice salmon and polenta. It was perfect and well received. That is what makes a date meal perfect, the reaction of the person who is eating it.

  20. Marianne

    #6! I’m a sucker for anything with cream cheese frosting.

  21. KatieJ


  22. H


  23. Paula Maack

    I’ll have 2, 3 and 6, please!!! Yummy!!

    As for the perfect romantic meal for V-Day, I just blogged about an aphrodisiac infused Valentines Day picnic at home here, should you be interested.

    Happy Valentines Day!!

    ~ Paula

  24. Larry S

    I’m hoping to find some great online dating sites – any suggestions?


    This post just reminded me that Valentine is around the cornor! Thanks for this post, I enjoyed reading it

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