I really love Valentine's Day.
There's no rhyme or reason.

Even though my history with V-Day hasn't even been particularly note-worthy or positive.

My tissue-wrapped Valentine box in 3rd grade wasn't honored as the true piece of art it was.

Eugene Six gave me a plastic ring when I was in 1st grade and I ran straight to my room and put it in a spot of honor in my jewelry box...... and never saw it again.

I never had secret admirers sending me carnations or homemade poetry.
When we were contemplating divorce, my ex gave me a V-day card covered in neon smiley faces and took great pains to not use the word "love" in his salutation.

 Still, somewhere along the way, Cupid snagged me.

If I'm being honest, I probably just like an excuse to string paper heart garlands up everywhere.

And yes, sometimes I feel like I'm one short breath away from becoming the old lady who strings plastic toys from her fruit trees.

This stuff has cheered me up over thirteen days in February alone and that's not nothing.

But I sit and take stock now and then and decide all over again that I'll take my new kind of nuts. It leaves me sort of exhausted and soul-bruised sometimes, but this is my life right now, but probably not forever, because if there's one thing I know for sure it's that as soon as things start to seem normal, a shake-down happens.

Sometimes it's even good, so I'm fine with that. It lends a certain air of adventure to life. Even if it does interfere with my seasonal decor of smooshed garlands from Valentines of yesteryear.

Here's to tired eyes and waxy hearts, circa 2002.

Here's to days that are easily blown away and the sheer, magical gift of being.

Also adding to this year's excitement, there's another snowstorm brewing and no plans to go anywhere all day tomorrow. I'll do my pajama pants-wearing thing. I'll make a pot of soup. and heart shaped cookies. and it will never be more timely.

Old Man Winter pffft!!! you've got some nerve doing this again. Lucky for you, I'll be too covered in frosting, sprinkles, and paper hearts to pay you any mind. Here's to hot dates scheduled for the weekend.

Here's to a full night's sleep. (Please, God.)

Life sure can be swoony, when it wants to be.

Even if I do have the early-makings of another cold.

Even if......

I hope to high heaven that every last one of you takes the time to slap some hearts across your kitchen window. I promise, it will cure what ills you. Or at least part of it. At least for today.

It can help you forget that you just went through the worst few weeks of your life. six doctor's appointments in one week? But a distant memory. The worst dinner you've ever made in the history of your culinary life? Fuggetaboutit.

String 'em up. Tell me I'm wrong.

if nothing else, the love inside will split your heart at the seams.

just sayin'.

chocolate hazelnut linzer hearts

1 cup whole hazelnuts toasted
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread

Add the nuts to the bowl of a small food processor fitted with a blade and pulse until finely ground (it should look like meal and be powdery). Set aside.
Tip: Don't overprocess the nuts or they will become hazelnut butter!
Combine the ground hazelnuts, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until aerated and any lumps are broken up.

Combine the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle and mix on medium speed until airy and light, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix until well combined.
Turn off mixer, scrape down the sides, and add the flour mixture. Mix on low until just combined. Divide the dough in two pieces, place each in a square of plastic wrap or parchment, pat into a square that's 1-inch thick, and wrap tightly. Place in the refrigerator to chill, at least 1 hour.

Tip: The dough can be made up to 1 month in advance and stored in an airtight plastic bag or container in the freezer.
When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350°F and arrange racks in the upper and lower thirds. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let warm up until easy to roll and pliable, at least 10 minutes.
Place half the dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment or wax paper, and, using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2-inch heart shaped cookie cutter, stamp out cookies. Using a second smaller cookie cutter, stamp out the centers of half of the cookies.
Arrange cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze briefly, at least 5 minutes, before baking. Gather dough scraps into a ball and refrigerate until ready to use.

Bake 2 sheets of cookies at a time until the undersides are golden and the tops are set, switching the sheets halfway through baking, about 12 to 15 minutes total. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack then repeat with remaining dough to bake off all the cookies.

To assemble, spread 1 teaspoon of the chocolate-hazelnut spread on the solid cookie then top it with heart-shaped cookie. Repeat to assemble all the linzer cookie sandwiches.


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