February 10, 2016 Leave your thoughts
Cookies! Shaped like hearts! Valentine’s Day! Much pep!
I don’t get why people hate Valentine’s Day so much. Me personally, I love a holiday devoted exclusively to love. Yes, I think that love should be woven into each and every day in as many ways as you possibly can, but in my opinion, it’s lovely that there’s a holiday dedicated to telling other people how much you care about them. We so often walk through the world with our hearts closed, fearing that others will judge us for how we feel or sifting through our own business so intensely that we isolate ourselves…so it’s nice to have a little push on the calendar reminding us to show some compassion.
I think the real problem lies in all of the unnecessary pressure we place upon ONE day. You know the drill: you’ve gotta express romantic love, and for some reason romantic love means buying flowers and going out for overpriced dinners and physically manifesting that your love is real, somehow. Are flowers and dinners nice? Yes, of course, but that is in no way how you have to express your care for another person.
One of my favorite things about humanity as a whole is the plethora of ways in which we can all love each other. We frequently get frustrated that someone else isn’t loving us in the way we’d like, which I think is often more of misunderstanding. Instead of getting caught in the quibbles (this is my new favorite phrase, other than fartbag, which is a different story), I believe that it’s far more beneficial to meet those we love halfway, recognizing that while some of us are big on public, dramatic expressions of passion, others are more subdued and prefer little notes and quiet moments. Neither form of love is “wrong”…they’re just different for different people, and the intention behind both can be equally as strong.
Always love others for where they are, unconditionally. Empathize and learn how to understand. That’s my philosophy. Also hugs. Hugs are my favorite thing in the universe. Always hugs.
At the same time, though, you don’t need to be in a romantic relationship in order to be loved and feel love. First of all, platonic love is freaking awesome, and it isn’t expressed enough, in my opinion. Write passionate love letters to your friends. Get them flowers and presents. Give them kisses and cuddles. I mean, if that’s not your style, I get it, but why on earth is it a “bad” thing to show your friends how much you love them?! Gosh, society.
But as I fervently expressed in my last post, you don’t even need another person to feel love at a particular moment in time: you, yes you, can love yourself. And that’s not selfish: it’s freaking awesome! It’s something I am proud to practice, and I encourage you to practice it, too.
Last Saturday night, I wanted to get out of the house, but all of my friends were either in a theater production or attending a dance. So I decided, hey, why not take myself on a date?
So, I burned myself a cheesy mix CD featuring my favorite love songs, and drove the half an hour to my favorite pizza place. I asked for a table for one, opened up a book of poetry I brought, and just sat in the middle of a crowded restaurant, by myself yet perfectly content reading Walt Whitman and chowing down on those delicious layers of cheese and tomato sauce. Afterwards, I went to Carvel and got my favorite guilty pleasure: a vanilla and chocolate swirl soft serve cone, dipped in chocolate and covered with rainbow sprinkles. As I sat in my car, making a complete mess of myself while singing along to Ed Sheeran, I thought about how much fun I was having just being me, doing my own thing.
Love others with all of your heart and all you’ve got, but darnit, love yourself, too. Dating someone is fun, but dating yourself is fun, too.
OKAY PHILOSOPHICAL TALK IS OVER FOR THE DAY. It’s time for cookies. FREAKING AMAZING COOKIES!!!
My mom’s favorite cookies are Linzer Hearts, so these go out to her especially. They’re really lovely: raspberry jam sandwiched between two soft, slightly crumbly, slightly crunchy, slightly chewy cookies, dusted in a little powdered sugar. Yes, they’re a decent amount of work with all of the rolling and such, but they are SO worth it!
Make these for someone you love this Valentine’s Day. Or make these for yourself, because you love yourself too, right?! 🙂
Yield 12-15 sandwiched cookies
FOR THE COOKIES:
1 cup of oat flour
1 cup of whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup of blanched almond flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of organic palm shortening OR softened refined coconut oil
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder + 2 tablespoons of water
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of almond extract
FOR THE RASPBERRY JAM:
1 12-ounce bag of frozen raspberries, slightly thawed
1/2 cup-2/3 cup of organic cane sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
1 tablespoon of arrowroot powder + 3 tablespoons of water
Pinch of salt
Squeeze of lemon juice
FOR THE COOKIES:
In a medium bowl, sift together the three flours and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the palm shortening with the sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides, and add the arrowroot/water mixture and extracts. Turn the mixer on low, then crank up to high and beat until everything is well-combined, about two minutes longer.
Add half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low just until no clumps remain. Add the remaining half of the dry ingredients and do the same. The dough should hold together pretty well in a firm-ish ball. If it feels too wet, add another tablespoon or two of whole wheat pastry flour.
Squish the dough together and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Pop in the fridge for at least two hours or overnight to firm up.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Liberally flour a clean rolling pin and counter space with flour. Cut the dough ball in half and roll one of the two halves out until it’s about 1/4-inch thick (approximately). (Put the other half in the fridge while you roll out the first one.) Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter lightly dipped in flour, cut out as many cookies as you can. Then, using a small circular cookie cutter (I actually used an apple corer), cut out a little circle in half of the cookies you cut. This will be so you can see the jam in the center once the cookies are assembled!
Place the cut cookies on the prepared baking sheets, squish the scraps together, and repeat the same process described above with the dough scraps and other half of dough.
Bake the cookies in the preheated oven for 9 minutes, or until just beginning to brown around the edges. Let cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks to arrive at room temperature.
FOR THE FILLING:
Option one: you are a lazy potato and use store-bought raspberries preserves. I only judge you slightly.
Option two: YOU DO IT THE ABBY WAY.
Put the frozen raspberries in a saucepan with the sugar, pinch of salt, and lemon juice. Heat over medium and, using a spoon, smash those raspberries like they were somebody you detest. Once the raspberries have mostly broken down and released their juices, whisk together the arrowroot and water and drizzle the mixture into the raspberries. Whisk it quickly and reduce the heat down to low. Stir constantly until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.
Remove from the heat and put in the fridge to cool completely.
Take a cookie that DOES NOT have a circle cut out in the center and spread about a tablespoon or two of the raspberry filling all over. Carefully place a cookie that DOES have a circle cut out in the center on top. Repeat until you have no cookies left.
Put the cookies in an tight container and let them hang out overnight, or at least 3-4 hours if you’re impatient. Eat within 3 days.
(Thanks for listening to me chatter. I’ve been writing a lot, lately. 🙂 )
Much love to all! <3