Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! I feel like 2016 is already running away from me!
I’m not a big Valentine’s nut, but when I thought of these cookies I knew they would be the perfect Valentine’s gift for your sweetie (or yourself, no judgement!).
I made the Jam-Filled Vanilla Almond ones first, and they were amazing. Like eat-the-whole-batch-in-one-sitting amazing! But for some reason I couldn’t stop thinking of chocolate oranges. Do you remember those? I haven’t seen one in years, but I used to love them. I would get them around Valentine’s Day and then graciously dole out pieces to my friends And yes, I made sure they all knew how kind I was for sharing. What can I say, I was an only child!
Back on point! I couldn’t stop thinking about those chocolate oranges, so I adapted the cookies to make a Nutella Orange version. The Hubs loved those best, I think.
The Jams are still my favorite, but I wouldn’t turn down the Nutella Orange ones. Not ever. Which is why I sent the hubs out with plates of cookies to the neighbors. They weren’t safe in my house, nor was my “diet”. Can you call it a diet if you still eat whatever you want? Yes? Good, I’m glad we agree.
Added bonus? With the help of the royal icing, these cookies are perfect for a decorating party with friends or children! Can’t beat that. And don’t be afraid of royal icing lovelies! This was my first time using it (sad, I know) and it went really well. My decorations are not particularly innovative or breath-taking, but they were fun and adorable.
I hope you’ll try one or both of these tasty cookies. If you do, please snap a photo and hashtag it #messycountersfp. I’d love to see what you make!
Stick around after the recipe for some step-by-step photos!
Vanilla Almond Jam Love Cookies
With variations for Orange Nutella in parenthesis
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract (use orange or Fiori di Sicilia extract and the zest of one orange)
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Fruit Jam or Nutella for Filling
Cream butter and sugar. Add extracts and egg, and beat until fluffy. Add flour and baking soda and mix until a dough forms that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and gently knead just until fully combined and shape into a ball. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.
Roll out to 1/8” thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut out desired shapes (making sure to have an even number), layering cutouts on a plate with wax paper between layers.Re-roll any leftover and cut out more shapes, continuing until all dough has been used.
Chill shapes in freezer 5 minutes before cutting out the center shapes of half of the cookies. Lay on a parchment paper or Silpat covered sheet pan 1 inch apart and bake at 350° for 9-11 minutes. The sides will be lightly golden brown.
Cool completely, and then use royal icing to pipe a border onto the bottom cookies. Allow to harden about 15 minutes. Fill border with jam or Nutella, and top with the cutout cookies. Decorate as desired.
2 tbsp meringue powder
¼ water (or orange juice)
2 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
Beat the meringue powder and water (or orange juice if making the Orange Nutella cookies) until it peaks. Add the sifted powdered sugar and extract. Beat to desired consistency.
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