Recipe Inspiration

Red Velvet Bubble Heart Cut-Out Cookies

I know what I am having for dessert tonight…

SDB Red Velvet Cut-Out Cookies_red velvet bubble heart cookie beauty

What does red velvet taste like to you? For me its like “chocolate light”… and the color, for me, increases the deliciousness because I absolutely love red.

SDB Red Velvet Cut-Out Cookies_flat beauty bubble hearts

Hearts have become a signature of my work which is especially meaningful to me… “do what you love, love what you do.” Of course you can use any heart cutter for this recipe but our new bubble heart cookie cutter is a re-design of a vintage cutter I have been using for years. This heart has become an all year ’round cookie for me. Its an easy shape that is perfectly sized (not too big, not too small). Is there anything sweeter than presenting your bestie, valentine, husband, wife, host or hostess with a plate of hearts?

Here’s the recipe for our

Red Velvet Bubble Heart Cut-Out Cookies…

2 Sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
2 Cups granulated sugar
1/4 Cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Eggs
2 to 3 tsp vanilla*
1 tsp almond or orange extract*
1 tsp red gel paste food coloring- I used Americolor Holiday Red
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 C all purpose flour + 1 tbsp

Pre-heat oven to 350. Cream butter, sugar, salt. Add eggs, vanilla, extracts if using (see notes below), food coloring… Mix until combined. Add flour and cocoa and beat until combined. Dough should be sticky but balling up on your paddle as its turning. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Roll shapes to 1/4 inch thickness and chill again before baking for 10-12 minutes.

Baking Notes:

Dough color will deepen a bit as you roll and re use but the color seems to bake the same.

* My favorite version was with the vanilla extract only, so I used 3 teaspoons of vanilla. If you’d like to try to mix in the other extract flavors use 2 tspns vanilla then 1 of almond or orange. Keep in mind that these are a stronger extracts so 1 tspn is really the maximum needed… even 1/2 would be fine.

Wow! These even look pretty and delish un-iced!

Wow! These even look pretty and delish un-iced!

The white and pink cookies are iced with our usual royal icing. To keep the pink in the same color family as the cookie, I mixed a lighter version of Holiday Red instead of using pink gel (which sometimes can take on a cooler tone). The chocolate cookies are iced with Chocolate Ganache and are so yum!

Easy Chocolate Ganache

1 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

In a small saucepan heat chocolate chips and cream over medium heat stirring constantly. Lower heat if melting too quickly. Ganache is ready when color turns to same color as chips. Pour into bowl and let cools a bit. For easy icing, pour warm ganache into Sweet Dani B thick tip icing bottle and outline and fill as you normally would. Use spatula to spread, give the cookie a shake to even, and sprinkle with non-pareils or tiny heart sprinkles (these are my new fave! how do they do it?).

Ganache Notes:

You can substitute dark chocolate chips… color will be a bit darker, and ganache will be less sweet.

You can use a double boiler to melt chocolate if you prefer but I always tend to make a mess that way.

Store Ganache in an airtight container in the fridge for a week. Re-melt and use as hot fudge sauce or whip with your hand mixer into the most glorious frosting!

One other option is to bake smaller Red Velvet Hearts and fill with Ganache (YUM) OR Cream Cheese Frosting (which is most traditional to Red Velvet). We love Martha Stewart’s recipe for Cream Cheese frosting… get it here.

SDB Red Velvet Cut-Out Cookies_red velvet sandwich heart cookies filling

I dipped the edges in some of my non-pareils. It looks a sweet and homespun. These are delish!

I dipped the edges in some of my non-pareils. It looks a sweet and homespun. These are delish!

With Valentine’s Day just a week away, this is the perfect week to give red velvet cut-out cookies a try! Happy heart baking and icing! Xo Dani

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An Icebox Birthday Cake: Thanks for the Memories

This weekend I had the pleasure of creating a dessert buffet for one of my favorite people, the Mom of one of my best childhood friends, Susan Intile. As a lover of chocolate, and more specifically, chocolate pudding, I got to work baking a “tower of chocolate” that featured one of my favorite vintage desserts- Icebox Cake!

My pudding got a little lumpy due to too high heat- either on the burner or in the air (this weekend was a scorcher!). Luckily, icebox cake, is very forgiving!

My pudding got a little lumpy due to too high heat- either on the burner or in the air (this weekend was a scorcher!)… Luckily, icebox cake, is very forgiving!

You might remember I made individual servings of the icebox cake for Amanda’s birthday last year. Since this was meant to be a birthday cake, I doubled the recipe layered the deliciousness together in a trifle dish.

The actual tower never happened due to counter heigh vs. pot and pan rack, but, this happy birthday candle blowout was amazing anyway!

The actual tower never happened due to counter heigh vs. pot and pan rack, but, this happy birthday candle blowout was amazing anyway! Happy birthday Mrs. Intile!

Icebox birthday cake was accompanied by a delicious batch of Rocky Ledge Bars, Triple Chocolate Chunk cookies (which went alarmingly fast!), Amanda’s amazing salted brownies and marshmallow confetti bars for the kiddos, and anyone else who might not like chocolate (who?!).

When we packing up to leave , a sweet woman told me that she and her husband never eat sweets, but when they saw the icebox cake they remembered having it years ago so they had to try it. I told them it was my favorite dessert on Christmas Eve at my Grandmother’s and that when I started baking it was one of the recipes I was determined to perfect. (Even though its a very easy recipe, there are some tricks to getting it to taste like Grandmas… IE: heavy cream). Then her husband said the sweetest thing to me; “It was delicious. Thanks for the memories”. Biting my lip and smiling was all I could do to not start blubbering right there.

Isn’t it all so amazing this life, where a little thing like an old fashioned pudding pie can trigger the deepest emotion, or bring you back, or pay homage, or make you look around and say in that moment “How did I get so lucky?”

Jaime and I have been friends since we were tweenagers so we are really more like family! Here I am with Danielle, Mrs. Intile and Jaime who never stops talking long enoiugh to take a photo!

Jaime and I have been friends since we were tweenagers so we are really more like family! Here I am with her sister, Danielle, Mrs. Intile (I find it weird to call her by her first name, Susan!) and Jaime, who never stops talking long enough to take a photo!

I hope this inspires you to try icebox cake- it’s actually super delicious in the summer especially if you serve it chilled! Then, spread the love and pass this easy-to-make recipe on!

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Intile! All good things! Xo Dani

 

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