Valentine's Day Cookies Recipe
Make these adorable cut-out cookies for someone you love.
The secret ingredient in these Valentine’s Day cut-out cookies is, of course, love, but the not-so-secret ingredients? Well, they have their own secret. The common baking spices used in these cookies have all, at one time or another, been considered aphrodisiacs.
With a history of use as a mild painkiller and antidepressant in the Middle East, nutmeg also improves blood circulation and was often used in Arab and Indian cultures to improve libido. A 2003 study in India showed its alleged effects on sex-drive proved true in mice, but this has not yet been proven in human subjects.
Used in early Asian cultures to warm the body, cinnamon is used in aromatherapy to improve focus, reduce irritability and frequent headaches. Promoting warmth and well-being, it’s no wonder this popular spice has been associated with romance.
The connection between vanilla and libido dates back to the time of the Mayans. The intoxicating bean was prescribed as a cure for “disinterest” soon after Thomas Jefferson introduced the bean to the United States in the late 1700s. Its value as an aphrodisiac is debated, but the soothing effects of the scent cannot be denied.
Chocolate has long been associated with love and there is even science to support the claim. In the 1980s, studies suggested that the chemical phenylethylamine, found in chocolate, releases hormones and dopamine in the brain that cause feelings of joy and euphoria similar to those felt when falling in love.
Is it any wonder these spices are all staples of holiday baking? While we make no claims of the therapeutic value in these Valentine’s Day cookies, nothing says love like baking up a sweet treat for your sweetheart. Fun to make, these two-tone cookies are not only delicious, they are downright adorable.
Valentine Cut-out Cookies
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- Combine flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar together in a stand mixer.
- Add egg, vanilla and dry mix and mix to fully combine (dough will be firm).
- Remove half of dough and press into a flat disk.
- Add cocoa to remaining dough and mix until color is even.
- Press chocolate dough into a flat disk.
- Roll each disk to a 1/4” thickness on a lightly floured surface.
- Using a 3 1/2” heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut cookies into heart shapes.
- Using a 1 3/4” heart shaped-cutter, cut a smaller heart into the center of each cookie, retaining the cut out.
- Arrange large cookies on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
- Using the alternate doughs, fill cutouts with opposing color (chocolate in plain, plain in chocolate).
- Sprinkle with demerara sugar.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 14 minutes.
- Transfer to wire racks to cool.
Yield: 2 dozen cookies.