Having children makes me want to create traditions. Many of these are based on childhood experiences, some are based on my husband's upbringing and the rest are kind of made up. Years ago when my husband and I started going out I bought each of us these rather twee little books of romantic poetry accompanied by romantic music on CD. I believe we have never used the CDs, but I was fascinated by the love letters between historical figures, and one of the books contained romantic recipes. I made these delicious cookies frequently when flatting in Dunedin. I had a real desire to make them with my daughter this year for Valentine's Day but couldn't find the books. I was sure that I hadn't thrown them out (after all, what kind of relationship symbol would that be) and was glad when both were located.
The books were purchased in my favourite Christchurch central city bookstore - a perennially 'going out of business' store that did, in fact, go out of business. I believe it turned into a music store, then something else. After the second Christchurch earthquake the other day I no longer know if it is standing. It is about half a kilometre from the area of greatest devastation.
These are yummy cookies but I did come across a problem in the humidity of this summer: these biscuits are frustrating to make when the room temperature is wicked hot, or there is high humidity. I put the heat pump on to cool down the room, but I found that I had to re-chill the dough all the time. So some of the charm was lost in making the biscuits this time, but I'm sure if made on a cool day it would be a pleasure!
Because they need to be chilled sometimes I make it the night before. The next day I let my daughter into my massive collection of cookie cutters and go nuts!
Heart Shaped Sugar Cookies, adapted from 'A Token of Love.'
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 TBSP milk or cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Raspberry jelly crystals
Combine ingredients in above order. Chill dough. Roll out very thin, about 1/4 of an inch (I roll between sheets of baking paper to prevent sticking to the rolling pin). Cut into heart shapes with a cookie cutter (If it gets sticky re-chill the dough), sprinkle with the jelly crystals and bake at 180 degrees on baking sheets until very lightly browned - about 8-10minutes. One recipe makes about 60 small cookies.