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Thursday, February 11,2010

Chocolate Conversation Heart Sugar Cookies

By Danette Randall

I promise this won’t be a Valentine’s Day column full of lovey-dovey shizz.

Of course, I personally don’t mind much, but everywhere I look there are anti-Valentine’s Day dinners, parties, happy hours, etc. It makes me laugh. I don’t know why, it just gets me every time.

This week it’s Chocolate Conversation Heart Sugar Cookies. Yes, they will be in the shape of a heart, but by all means, use any cookie cutter you want if the “anti” Valentine is the way you are rolling this year. These are sugar cookies with just a little twist — they are chocolate. We will be topping them with a butter frosting in all the pretty pastel colors you would expect.

I want you to dig down to your inner cupid and come up with something deep and meaningful, like “I heart you,” or “You rock.” Remember how fun it was when you were little and received a box of conversation hearts with your Valentine? Even though they are chalky and not-sotasty, that was such a score.

Now, I’m thinking if you are “anti” this year, what fun you could have with these cookies. How about frosting them with black icing and then coming up with your own unique little saying. Maybe a “You suck,” “Love stinks,” or how about, “You don’t complete me” — the options are endless. You could have an Anti- Valentine’s Day Cookie Party. The more the champagne flows, the better (or worse) the sayings become.

Ahh, love. I know I will be doing happy, happy, joy, joy cookies, but I’m sure a snippy one might just slip in there. Not for my husband of course, he will be getting a lovey one, and he deserves it. So decide which cookie you will be doing, lovey-love or antilove. Either way, they will taste delicious, and you might realize a whole new creative side of you in the process. Here’s one to get you started: “Is that a rolling pin in your apron, or are you just happy to see me?” Now, follow the directions, put some love into it, and invite me over when it’s done.

Chocolate Conversation Heart Sugar Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
Buttercream Frosting
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1-2 tablespoons milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1-2 drops of food coloring (your
choice of color, I prefer the gel-type
food coloring)

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and beat until well-combined.

Add the flour mixture and beat until you have smooth dough. You might need to form with your hands. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured (heart-shaped) cookie cutter and transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all dough has been baked.

Bake cookies for about 9–11 minutes (depending on size) or until they are firm around the edges. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack or parchment paper to finish cooling.

When ready to frost, beat powdered sugar and butter until smooth. Slowly add milk, one tablespoon at a time; you may need more or less, depending on spreading consistency. Add vanilla and beat well. Separate your frosting into little bowls if you want to do multiple colors. Add food coloring one drop at a time until it is the desired color.

Frost cookies and use a decorating gel pen to write little love notes or comments on your cookie. Enjoy!

Note: If you don’t want to write anything, you can use chocolate or colored sprinkles.

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