“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” –Fanny Fern
Growing up in Pittsburgh, when there was a special occasion, there was a cookie table. What’s that you ask? It’s a table packed with goodies made by mom, grandma, aunts and sisters. I just assumed everyone enjoyed this tradition, but I was wrong. After reading a great New York Times article my brother sent me, I realized that I had my Pittsburgh/Italian/Eastern European roots to thank for this beloved tradition. Even though I’ve been transplanted to Nashville, in my mind still, celebration=cookies. This is one tradition that I will take with me no matter where I go.
I’m not sure if the origin of this is the cookie table or not but my favorite thing to do around Valentine’s is to make cookies for friends, family, and the boy and his team. My cookie of choice: the sugar cookie. I know, I know, simple right? Yes but isn’t the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” Here’s the thing though…I am a very picky frosting connoisseur. More often then not, whether if it’s on a cake, cookie or cupcake, I scrap it off. I hate the airy, foamy kind but can’t take the rich uber sweet either. So on Valentine’s day, I make my very own.
-Mix together sugar and butter
-Stir in vanilla and milk
-Beat until smooth making sure frosting is of a spreading consistency. If too runny, add a little confectioners sugar, if too stiff, milk
-I then separate this into 3 bowls, keeping one white, and then using red food dye, make red and pink. Then I go to town on dozens of heart shaped cookies of all sizes. On the red and pink cookies, I have started melting white chocolate and drizzling it on the icing. ***One thing to keep in mind: since this is a butter frosting, make sure to let the cookies fully cool before icing.
In my opinion, you can’t beat a good sugar cookie however this year I’m going to add some more delicious treats to the mix courtesy of my girl Giada De Laurentiis in keeping with the Italian cookie table theme. Remember kids, I’m still at the basic end on the culinary scale but Giada helps me mask it so well! So here’s what I’ll be adding to the line up this year:
Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze
One of my friends brings these to parties and ever since I have been craving them and dreaming about them at night. Yeah, they’re that good. I know, you wouldn’t generally think ricotta would go in cookies but the combination is to die for. Let’s hope all my friends and the boy think the same. I’m not sure how my friends are different than Giada’s. I have asked her for the recipe so I will compare and then update the post.
(UPDATE 2/18/10: My friend just sent me the recipe she uses…JACKPOT! Giada’s got nothin’ on her! I can’t wait to make these. I’m salivating at the very thought of them).
The Ricotta Cookies that Started it All:
-1/2 cup butter
-2 cups sugar
-15 oz. whole milk ricotta
-2 teaspoons vanilla
-4 cups flour
-Cream together sugar and butter
-Add ricotta, eggs, vanilla and then flour last
-Spread on icing when warm
-2 cups of confectioners sugar
-2 Tablespoons of melted butter
-2 teaspoons milk
Again, nothing fancy here but isn’t Valentine’s about what you love? For me this has it all, chocolate, toffee and hazelnut. I have never made this one before and I can’t wait to try them. Sometimes I wonder how I don’t end up eating all the batter when baking. I can’t help it if that’s my favorite part. I mean, if it was up to me, I wouldn’t bake cookies at all.
Hopefully this can add to your Valentine’s Day food tradition or maybe inspire you to come up with your own. What’s your favorite thing to make on Valentine’s?