"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

My heart on a plate: Sorta shortbread valentine cookies with jam

by Julie Tilsner on February 14, 2008

in Sugar and Spite, Sweet!

I didn’t sign up for this housewife stuff.

Self-employment when you’re also a mother is often confused with being a SAHM (that’s “stay-at-home-mom,” for all of you not in the parenting universe, if any. It’s the more politically correct term for the outdated “housewife.”)

I’m not a housewife. Take one look at my house and you won’t disagree. Besides. I’m just not worthy of the title. A woman who can manage home and hearth, cook, clean, budget, schedule and raise  kids is worth far more than rubies, as the saying goes. I’d say more like somewhere in the high six-figures.

I can’t do any of that. Or certainly not well. But that doesn’t keep me from trying sometimes.

My friend Lynn (worth $350K a year plus bonus if she can learn to pronounce several important Pokemon names), was making these Valentine’s Day cookies the other day. “It’s so Martha,” she shrugged apologetically as she cut perfect heart shapes out of a perfect dough. “I can’t stand her really, but she’s got a lot of good ideas. My husband and the kids love these.”

I avoid direct contact with Martha Stewart media, much like I avoid staring directly into the sun. But I agree that her ideas are often clever, when they’re not totally over the top. And because I’m always looking for new ways to prove to my kids that their mother loves them, even though she can’t cook or bake, I scribbled down the recipe from Lynne’s photocopy and brought it home to try myself.

Here it is, in abbreviated form.

Shortbread Raspberry heart sandwich cookies

1 cup softened unsalted butter (that’s two sticks. I find that kind of detail useful)
3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, plus some for dusting
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
seedless raspberry jam for filling

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in vanilla. Beat in flour and salt a little at a time.
Form the resulting dough into discs, wrap them in wax paper, and chill them for at least three hours.
Preheat the oven to 300. Roll out the dough and cut out your hearts, half with an additional heart (or whatever you have) window in the middle. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before moving to a cookie rack. Warm the jam, and spread on the whole cookie. Place the cookie with the cutout window on top, for a little sandwich with the jam showing.

Or something like that. My hearts were uneven and sloppy. I think I let the dough get too warm, or I handled it too much, or I didn’t roll it out right. Pick your reason. It would seem I need one of those newfangled  silicone baking sheets. After a lot of effort and the best intentions, the final product just wasn’t what it could have been.

But the kids didn’t much care.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Elfini February 15, 2008 at 9:02 am

You are my hero!
Hmmm, I’m tempted to delete that and declare that you are the wind beneath my wings but I don’t want to appear too over the top.


Seraphine February 18, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Anything you have to ‘roll out’ is too much work. Drop cookies are easier. If nobody eats them, drop them in the garbage.
For Valentine’s, I bought chocolates from Sees. No mess, no garbage to take out. Bonus- I feel good because I can recycle the box.


JulieR February 19, 2008 at 2:11 am

They look great …and they have butterfly cut outs – much better than hearts!
( I think this was the first recipe I ever tried to make. I was six or so. I don’t know what prompted me – the picture, prbably. My mom found me in the dark kitchen with flour all over the place, crying my eyes out because it was so hard! I have shied away from baking ever since…)


lizzy February 19, 2008 at 9:10 am

I love heart shaped cookies.
One of my favorites are the anatomical heart shaped cookies with aortas painted on them from SoHo NYC.


jeff paul portal December 30, 2008 at 9:35 pm

I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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