I've been away from the blog for the past few weeks because I've gone back to work. To say that the transition has been tough is an understatement. Ultimately, from the moment I wake up and go to work, and the moment I get home from work and go to bed, my thoughts and time are totally consumed with caring for, and playing with, my little girl.
But as the weeks pass, I'm slowly finding a balance again between work, parenting and personal pursuits. Which means that it was time for me to pull out the spatulas and mixing bowls again, and get baking... and what better way to pair my love of sweet treats than with the holiday of love - Valentine's Day!
I've been meaning to try out the Chocolate Cookie Cutouts recipe of Martha Stewart's for some time. For some reason, when it comes to cutout cookies, I only think vanilla sugar cookies, and have never considered chocolate. But chocolate and Valentine's Day are pretty much synonymous, so I opted for chocolate this time, and was not disappointed. This is the easiest cutout dough I've ever worked with! You don't need to wait for the dough to set (although I did, and it was probably easier to work with because of that) and the scraps can be rolled and re-rolled many times without causing the dough to toughen up. And it tastes awesome. The addition of cinnamon definitely intensifies the chocolate flavour.
I baked large, heart-shaped cookies with some of the dough, and made smaller heart cookies to use as cookie pops. Making cookie pops is another baking to-do that I've had on my list for awhile, and it is super-easy! Just cut out your dough, gently insert a paper candy stick into the bottom of the shape until it's halfway through the cookie, and then place on a baking sheet and bake as you would with the other cookies.
To decorate, I used a royal icing that I tinted pink, using Wilton gel colouring, and then dotted the wet icing with edible silver candy balls.
After the icing had set, I packaged them in small, clear bags and tied the ends with a twist-tie. Those adorable gift tags you see in the second photo were found at Janna Wilson Design - I simply printed them off, glued the two sides together, cut the shape out, punched holes in either end and slid the tag over the stick of the wrapped cookie pop.
Voila! Instant Valentine. Well, not instant. Quite a bit of work, actually. But totally worth it! If you don't get a chance to try making cookie pops for Valentine's Day, there's always St. Patrick's Day in a few weeks!
Happy Valentine's Day!