I wasn’t sure about posting this recipe or not because it seems that crust pastry (or butter) cookies are so popular, I think everyone must already have a go-to recipe. Unfortunately, I don’t personally have a “magic” family recipe. But I so love baking with my daughters, that with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I wanted to make some of these fun and festive cookies. I found the recipe on one of my favorite Italian cooking website , translated it (using Imperial system), and made a few edits, according to my personal experience… and here it is, ready to share with all of you! We made these simple, cute, and yummy Heart Shaped Pastry Cookies more that one time, since they are absolutely irresistible! I love this recipe because, not only does it require no special ingredients, but you need not even dirty the mixer! It’s also so versatile… you can give the cookies any shape you prefer, based on the occasion or holiday; the taste and cooking time won’t change. Do keep in mind, in regards to preparation time, that the butter and egg must be at room temperature (so you’ll want to take them out of the fridge at least half an hour before use) and also that the dough needs to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. Baking time is between 7 to 10 minutes (depending on how thin you rolled the pastry, and how your oven works).
INGREDIENTS FOR ABOUT 20 COOKIES
14 oz. or 1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (250 gr.)
4 oz. or 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 gr.)
9 Tbs. butter (125 g.) at room temperature, cut into cubes
1 egg at room temperature
1 tsp. baking powder (7 gr.)
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
1 lemon zest
Any variety of fruit preserves (my favorite is strawberry)
or Nutella or melted chocolate
and some powdered sugar for dusting
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients together. I start with flour, sugar and baking powder on the bottom, and then the butter cubes, the egg, the lemon zest, and the vanilla extract on top. Knead using your hands for a few minutes (I would say at least five minutes) to get a ball smooth and homogeneous like the one shown in the picture. Be aware that at first it will seem the dough is too crumbly. You may be tempted to add another egg to make it stick together better, but don’t do it! Keep kneading, and in few more minutes you will obtain the perfect pastry dough.
Cover the ball with plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes (otherwise it will be impossible to shape it). Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut it with heart shaped cookie cutters. Remember, to assemble the cookies, you will need a full heart as a base, and a “holed” heart as a cover. Don’t throw away the little hearts out of the center. Just put them in the oven too, and they will be delicious- even without any cream or jelly on top!
While shaping the dough, preheat the oven to 350 F, so it will be properly warm at the time you will bake the cookies. Transfer to a baking pan lined with parchment paper, and bake for about 7-10 minutes. Watch very carefully, and be sure to take the cookies out as soon as they start to appear lightly golden around the edges; if they get darker, they will taste burnt! While the cookies are still warm, spread the “whole” hearts with the filling of your choice (preserves or Nutella or melted chocolate- they may be good even with peanut butter), and then place the “holed” heart on top.
LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVED IT!
TIPS: – The original recipe suggests a 15-20 minutes cooking time at 180 C. (350 F). Honestly with such a long baking, my first attempt at these cookies was a bit disappointing. (Yes- it happens, even to me, that sometimes a recipe does not work out!) 😉
– You can even decide to prepare the dough in advance, let it rest in the refrigerator up to a week, and shape and bake the cookies whenever you have a free moment. In this case, don’t freak out if at first the dough will tend to crumble, just knead it for a few minutes and it will be ready to be rolled out!
– You can really use your creativity to make this Valentine’s Snack even more fun for your children.. maybe making heart sandwiches, or using weird heart shapes…. – These pastry cookies (if properly stored in an hermetic container) can last even ten days out of the refrigerator… but good luck with that! They are so terribly delicious, I doubt you can resist them for so long!
– If you are concerned about the quantity of butter this recipe requires (which, I agree with you, seems out of proportion with the flour!) please don’t try to make them with less. If they are called “BUTTER COOKIES,” there is for sure a reason. Perhaps, to control fats and calories, maybe it could be a better idea to just reduce the servings to one cookie a day. 😉
– For a “chocolate” version of this butter cookies, use this recipe, and fill the hearts with an apricot preserve… they are fantastic as well!
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