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I make cookies at the slightest provocation – Christmas, Easter, assorted birthdays.  But of all the cookie seasons in the year, it’s Valentine’s Day I love the best.  It’s an excuse for my daughter and me to spend a day playing with icing – dotting, stippling, marbling and brushing gingerbread hearts into edible works of art.

The only problem is making up our minds to eat them.

Click here to read Valentine Hearts That Are Meant to Be Be Broken at NPR’s Kitchen Window.  Or, if you like, browse all my Kitchen Window stories for NPR.

The gingerbread cookie recipe from Cooks’ Illustrated‘s The New Best Recipe is featured in this story.  You can read more about this book – and over 250+ cookbooks worth giving this holiday! – on my cookbook-rating app, Cookbook Finder.  Available for both  iPhone/iPad and Android devices and updated regularly.


valentines cookies 1

Gingerbread hugs and fond wishes to all our friends and acquaintances, single or paired.  May we all be lucky in love this year!

valentines cookies 2This year’s batch of cookies is brought to you courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated’s The New Best Recipe (“Thin, Crisp Gingerbread Cookies”).  I also used a tried-and-true royal icing recipe from Julia Usher’s Cookie Swap. (Another terrific source for old-fashioned, charming decorated cookies is Nancy Baggett’s Simply Sensational Cookies.)

I decided to just go for top-coating and marbling this year – you use icing with the same consistency for both.  As always, the marbling effects work best when the icing’s fresh, and as always, drawing little hearts in the icing never works as well as expected.  Still, there are few things I like better than dragging a toothpick through stripes and spirals and dots of wet icing.  Feels like a trip, but it’s all good clean fun…

Also in the plan were piping (firmer icing) and beadwork (looser icing), but after waking up after last night’s décor marathon with a sugar headache and chills, I decided that dragées and luster dust would have to suffice.  Till next year anyway!

Now cooking

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