Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chocolate Dipped Heart Cookies



Valentine's day is right around the corner. Are you celebrating someone special in your life? It could be your sweetheart, your secret crush, a family member or even just a friend. Whoever it is you'll be celebrating on Valentine's day, these cookies are a perfect way to say, "I love you!" I love giving food gifts because it says that the person you present the gift to is worth your time and effort. If you can help it, skip the bakery-bought cookies and make these yourself (from scratch). Your cookies will taste better than the store-bought ones. You want to know why? Because you put in the most special ingredient of all when you cook these yourself-LOVE!  Here's the recipe...


Serving Size: Makes around 2 1/2 dozen cookies or more (depending on the size of your cookie cutter).


Equipment:

-2 large baking sheets covered in parchment paper.

-Heart-shaped cooking cutters.

-Electric mixer.

-1 large mixing bowl.

-1 small microwave-safe or heat-safe bowl.

-A rubber spatula or  wooden spoon.

-Wax paper.

-Parchment paper.

-Cooling racks.

-Thin spatula (to transfer the cookies from the baking sheets to the cooling racks).


Ingredients:

-3 cups all-purpose flour.

-1 3Oz. package cream cheese at room temperature (softened).

-3/4 cup granulated sugar.

-1 egg, at room temperature.

-1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 ounces).

-2 tablespoons shortening ( I used Crisco butter-flavored shortening).


Instructions:

-In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugar, cream cheese, egg and vanilla in a large bowl; combine well with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. 

-Add the flour and beat until well mixed. Scrape the bowl often as you mix to combine all the ingredients into the mixture.


-Divide the dough in half; wrap each half in plastic foil and Refregerate for at least 2 hours or until firm.


-Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celcius).


-While one disc of dough is in the refrigerator, roll the other disc out to 1/4 of an inch in thickness on a lightly floured surface. Dip your cookie cutter in a bowl of flour and cut the shapes out of the dough. Dip your cutter in some dough each time before you cut out a cookie. This will prevent the cutouts from sticking to the cookie cutter.


-Lightly dust off any excess flour from the cutouts with a pastry brush or your fingers.


-Place the cutouts 1-inch apart on the prepared baking sheets; Bake for 7-10 minutes until the edges are very lightly browned. Using a thin spatula, transfer the. Cooked cookies immediately to cooling racks and allow to cool completely before dipping in chocolate. If you are using one cookie sheet to bake your cookies, allow the cookie sheet to completely cook before you put other cutouts on it for baking, or the heat from a warm baking sheet will cause the cutouts to spread out prematurely.


-In the small bowl, place the chocolate chips and shortening. Heat the shortening/chocolate mixture in the microwave in 30-second spurts, for 1 minute. Use a spoon to stir well after every 30 seconds until the mixture is completely melted and well combined. It should look glossy. If you do not stir the mixture after every 30 seconds, your chocolate will burn. If you don't have a microwave, place the chocolate/shortening mixture in a heat-proof bowl and sit the bowl over a smaller saucepan with about 1 inch of water over medium heat. Make sure the bottom of the heat-proof bowl is not touching the surface if the hot water, or your chocolate will burn. Keep stirring this mixture until the chocolate/ shortening has completely melted and is glossy (3-4 minutes). Then remove from the heat and set aside.


-Once your cookies are completely cooled, Carefuly dip half of each heart cookie into the melted chocolate. You want to work quickly as the chocolate will start to cool down. The chocolate coats better while it's warm. If your chocolate starts to thicken, reheat it in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir, then use it again. If you don't have a microwave, use the hot water method just like you did to melt the chocolate/ shortening mixture the first time. Do this only until the mixture is fluid again. Remember to stir the mixture as you reheat it.


-Use wax paper to line the same baking sheets you used to bake the cookies (once the baking sheets are completely cool) to place your coated cookies. 


Refregerate the coated cookies for about 10 minutes or until the chocolate is firm. Your cookies are ready to gift or enjoy!

Store the cookies between sheets of wax paper in a tightly covered container.