Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Who's Your Valentine?

On this Valentine's Day...

I am celebrating with my very own Valentine, the love of my life for 27 years and the man I said "I do" to on one  beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon in September of 1990.

Our special Valentine's date won't take place until this coming weekend. Having both worked in the restaurant industry for many, many years and having stood witness on countless February 14th evenings watching numerous love birds reaching across their prospective tables for two, whispering sweet nothings into each other's ears, we try and avoid THE actual day like the plague...

Don't get me wrong - I don't dislike the popular 'Hallmark Holiday' - by all means, I am the first to go out and buy cinnamon heart candies or a red foil wrapped Purdy's chocolate heart for my honey. You WILL find me in the card aisle perusing rows of red and white greetings, finding the perfect words that resonate, which I can share with my sweetheart over a glass of sparkling wine or Champagne.

We won't be spending our retirement money on a snazzy dinner at one of hundreds of fancy (and outrageously expensive) restaurants in Vancouver this weekend - no - we will go for a different kind of Valentine's Evening - a couple of drinks, a few appetizers and a show at the local movie theatre. I love any excuse to spend an evening with my Hubby - for a chance to get out and have a good uninterrupted chat over a cocktail, glass of wine or beer.

For those of you who are preparing a special Valentine's Dinner for your significant other - kudos - its a week-night and times can be busy. Maybe you are also waiting for the weekend to celebrate, or perhaps you skip the day altogether. Maybe you give gifts to your loved ones, either store bought or home made.

I wanted to share these 'Queen Of Hearts' Linzer cookies with you so that you can either indulge after your special meal, or maybe wrap them up as a special treat for someone else. These rich, European inspired cookies are cut into heart shapes and then filled with raspberry jam and dusted with icing sugar...Yummy!

Whatever your plans are for Valentine's Day, make it a lovely, loving, love bug kind of day!

Queen Of Hearts Linzer Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup organic or unrefined sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups ground pecans
2 cups unbleached flour

Powdered sugar for dusting
About 1/4 cup raspberry jam

In large bowl of electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until creamy; beat in vanilla. Gradually add pecans and flour, blending thoroughly. cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until easy to handle (1-2 hours) or for up to 3 days.

On a floured board, roll out the dough to a 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out with a 2" heart shaped cookie cutter and transfer to a parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet, spacing about 1" apart. Cut a hole in centre of half of the cookies, using a tiny heart shape or round cookie cutter (1/2" in diameter).
Bake in a 350F oven for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to racks and let cool completely.

Sift powdered sugar over tops of cookies with holes; then spread bottom sides of cookies with jam. Place sugar topped cookie on each jam half to form a sandwich. Store in airtight container - can also be frozen.
Makes about 3 dozen.