Monday, February 15, 2010

A Valentine's Day Memory...

I'm late in posting this most special recipe that I will share with all of you. I could make the excuse that I'm still getting over jet lag, but I've chosen to take a stand of "why should just one day be devoted to love!" After all, lyricists write, "Love is a Many Splendor Thing," "All You Need is Love," "All 4 Love," "The Power of Love," "Stop, In the Name of Love," "Because You Loved Me," " I Will Always Love You," "Endless Love..." must I go on? Why can't we have this feeling all year long for the people close to us? So here is a memory from my past that centers around my maternal grandparents, Frank and Gladys Huekels, for Valentine's Day, but heck, why not bake them anytime just to say I Love You?

Each Valentine's Day, my grandparents would make heart-shaped cookies for all the grandchildren. My grandfather would mix up the dough, by hand, and my grandmother would trace around a pattern with a paring knife, but both of them would icing the confections that we all looked forward to.
I remember when my grandfather had the brilliant idea to create a heart-shaped cookie cutter from a slat of an old Venetian blind they had taken down that would expedite cutting out the shapes. Mostly, I remember the smile on my grandmother's face of how easy and fast this cookie cutter made her task. It was little things like that which showed the love between them.

I love making these cookies and remembering. Mine are a little smaller because I've got to ship them to my children and grandchildren and they're less likely to break in the mail, but the ones my grandparents made were 3 times this size.

Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies

1 lb. (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk
1 T. Pure Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. Almond extract
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

In a mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to cream mixture. Add the egg and egg yolk and mix to combine. Add the extracts.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the bowl and mix together. (Alternatively, you can stir in the dry ingredients if you want to get your workout in!) Divide dough into two disks, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Roll dough to 1/4-inch and cut out desired shapes. If you're making more than one shape, make sure you bake like-shapes together for even baking.
Bake in a preheated 350F-degree oven for 12 minutes or until the edges are a golden brown.
You can icing them with a Royal Icing or do a simple glaze like my grandparents did:
Glaze: 2-3 cups of confectioners' sugar, 4-6 T. hot water, 1 tsp. light Karo Syrup. Beat with a mixer, adding addition hot water to create a spreadable glaze. Enjoy!
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  1. The story you have shared is so sweet, it brings tears to my eyes reminding me so much of my grandparents that I miss dearly. It is in these simple acts of love that we truly remember. I love that you are mailing home baked treats to your family! When we moved I always loved when my mom would send me homemade marshmallows (from Barefoot Contessa) : ) A random thing to send but a favorite of mine that only a mama could make just so : )

  2. I think the one of the greatest things we can do with our blogs is to document our memories so they can be passed on. I'm only sorry I didn't pass on "the apron string" to my daughters; maybe they'll do it for their children.

  3. Thank you for my valentine card! I loved it - it was very beautiful and detailed, and I like to have a paper copy of this beautiful memory and recipe. Thank you.

  4. This is a beautiful memory, Susan, and I am so glad you have shared it! Thank you for the lovely valentine card, and the recipe looks delicious. My eldest daughter can't wait to try it - she was instantly convinced that it will be a good one when she saw almond extract in the list of ingredients!