Melt Your Heart

February easily wins the prize for most horrible, no good month. That is if the vote was taken in New England.  Cold, record amounts of snow, little sunlight and unflattering puffy down coats have taken their toll on my soul.  Although there is very little melting going on in February, it usually does a good job of causing my inevitable “winter meltdown”.  My meltdown is often prompted by an unusually annoying commute home.  This year it was when I chose to take the T on the coldest day of the year instead of the bus.  Why would I wait for the bus OUTSIDE when I could ride the T??? Although it takes a little longer, the warmth was worth it…or so I thought.  Long story short I ended up on a disabled train for 30 minutes, in a tunnel, in a car with about 500 other people – no joke, I was starting to worry we wouldn’t have enough oxygen!!!  By the time I got off the train I was close to tears, too annoyed to even go to the gym and ran home to see what Bryan thought about moving some place warm.

Well, February is almost over, we aren’t moving and I survived.  While February is my least favorite month it does have two redeeming qualities.  The first being the obvious…Valentine’s Day and the second being that James Taylor tickets go on sale!!!  Valentine’s Day is not something Bryan and I make a big deal about.  However, this year it was an oasis of warmth in this barren, frigid, unexciting time of year.  The excuse to bake some heart-shaped cookies, send some snail mail and eat chocolate really is the reason I didn’t have more than one meltdown!!!   As many of you know I am an enormous fan of James Taylor and the minute I get that confirmation email telling me my tickets for the 4th of July concert at Tanglewood have been purchased I am dreaming of summer! What a perfect Valentine’s gift – thank you JT 🙂

James Taylor’s music reminds me of…

– My Dad. My Mom.
– Driving in the car to Grandma Ryan’s on Saturday with my mom and stopping at Harvest Bakery for hard rolls and rye bread.
– Every mix tape (yes tape – I am old) I ever made.
– Sitting in Kailyn’s Jetta at Tobey pond in the rain because we wanted to get paid for a full day of work.
– KK, Kate, Addie, silly T-shirts, “shout outs”, good food, good wine, and the Riiska’s.
– Our wedding.
– Baking goodies in the kitchen.

As I found myself baking Valentine’s Day cookies and listening to James, I couldn’t help but think that maybe February isn’t so bad after all.

I cannot take full credit for these cookies.  The short dough recipe came from culinary school.  The idea for the sandwiches came from my sister, Lindsay, who made them for Christmas.  The cookie recipe is wonderfully easy and there are numerous things you can do with it, from tart shells to cut out cookies it never fails.  I made these as a Valentine’s treat to bring to work and they received rave reviews. You can make any shape you would like anytime of year – they might make it to the concert as our picnic dessert!

1*2*3 Dough

The ratio of this dough is 1,2,3 which makes it easy to double or cut in half. I made a half recipe.

1 lb sugar (2 cups)                                                     1/2 lb of sugar (1 cup)
2 lb unsalted butter (8 sticks)                                  1   lb unsalted butter (4 sticks)
3 lb all-purpose flour (6 cups)                                1.5 lb all-purpose flour (3 cups)
6 oz whole egg (3 large eggs)                                     3 oz whole egg (1.5 eggs – I break the second,
mix with fork and use half)
2 vanilla beans or 3 Tbsp. vanilla extract            1 vanilla bean or 1.5 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp of salt                                                                    pinch of salt

Make sure butter is room temperature.  Preheat oven for 350. Paddle butter till fluffy about 3 minutes. Scrape the bowl and paddle with a rubber spatula and add sugar.
Paddle for another 5 minutes untill light and fluffy.  Add eggs along with the vanilla seeds (or extract), mix till incorporated.  Add flour in 2 additions mixing till the flour is just mixed in.  Do not over mix.  Turn out of the bowl and wrap in plastic wrap (two packets).  If you are using the same day, refrigerate for a 1/2 hour.  If you plan to use later it will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days and should be brought out and left on the counter for a 1/2 hour before you roll it out.

Roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut in shapes.  Sprinkle with sugar if desired.  Bake till just starting to brown around the edge.  Cool on cooling rack.
To sandwich, melt semi sweet chocolate chips in microwave.  I do this in 30 second increments stirring in between till melted.  Spoon a tablespoon of melted chocolate on one cookie and sandwich.  Let cool. 

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  1. Kate

     /  February 23, 2011

    I’m so proud to have made the post! Yeah for JT getting you out of the February slump! xoxo

  2. Brie

     /  February 23, 2011

    I love you so much! This post made me so happy. And thank you for my sweet Valentine. 🙂 xoxo

  3. Emily Durki

     /  February 23, 2011

    What a great post – I read it twice. And your pictures are all amazing! This one in particular needs to be submitted in a contest. xoxo


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