I know that I’ve said I’m the anti-Valentine in previous posts, but I can’t help but be drawn towards heart-shaped things. I’m a sucker for the twee; floral tea sets, polka dots, pastel coloured foods, I can’t help myself! I spent much of my childhood being a tomboy, slicking my long blonde hair back into a bun, wearing shorts and t-shirts, copying my older brother. It wasn’t until I was about 15 that I realised that I actually liked “girly” things. I refused to wear makeup until about 16 and didnt realise that I loved patterned fabrics until about 17. Looking back, I wonder how I survived without them. I sometimes feel like I’m making up for those drab, boyish years now, cramming in as many tea parties and patterned dresses as I can!
So I would legitimately make these lovelies on any day of the year. In fact, I’m least likely to make them on Valentine’s Day because the Boy whinges about the forcedness of the whole day. They’re kind of like a homemade wagon wheel – biscuity and a little bit gooey, and covered in chocolate. There’s a delectable mingling of textures and flavours and it’s all smothered in chocolate. They’re not made to be neat little mouthfuls – they’re big, chunky, unapologetic creations, which will leave your fingers a little bit sticky, and undoubtedly leave the corners of your mouth a little crumby.
What will you be doing on Valentine’s Day? Do you go all out, or do you prefer to celebrate your loved one(s) another day?
Vanilla heart cookies
- 170g butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla (I used vanilla bean paste)
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2cups plain flour
- 1/4 cup icing sugar
- 80g butter
- 4 cups icing sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 120g strawberries, roughly chopped
- 500g milk chocolate
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
Cream together butter and sugar until pale, then add in vanilla and egg, mixing until combined. Sift in the flour and icing sugar, mixing as you go. Scoop the dough into a ball, cover in cling wrap and pop into the fridge for 20 minutes.
While the biscuit dough is chilling, start on your strawberry filling. Cream together the butter and one cup of your icing sugar, followed by the vanilla.
Toss in your chopped strawberries and mix together on a high speed until you’ve got no large strawberry chunks left. Add in the rest of the icing sugar, one cup at a time until you’ve got a smooth, runny mixture. Line a medium size tupperware container with glad wrap and pour the mixture into it. Pop in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
Take the biscuit dough out of the fridge and roll out to 1/2 cm thickness on a well-floured surface. Cut as many hearts out of your mixture as you can – it helps to do every second heart upside down to get the most hearts out of your dough, then re-roll and repeat until you end up with 32 individual hearts.
Pop these hearts on a baking tray lined with baking paper and into the fridge for 10 minutes to chill.
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Put your biscuits in the oven for 12-14 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for two minutes before transferring onto a cooling rack. Keep the cooling rack out, you’ll need this later.
When your biscuits are completely cooled, grab the strawberry mixture from the fridge and scoop about a heaped tablespoon , spreading it around the biscuit as best you can. Grab another heart and press it onto the strawberry mixture to create a sandwich. Try to get the strawberry mixture flush with the edge of the biscuit – if it squishes out the edges, run your spoon around the edge of the sandwich, scooping up the excess. Repeat until you’ve completed all 16 sandwiches. If your strawberry mixture becomes too runny, return it to the freezer for ten minutes.
Pop your completed sandwiches onto a baking tray and send to the freezer for at least 15 minutes to firm up before you choc-dip them.
Right before you remove your hearts from the freezer, melt your chocolate and coconut oil together in a heatproof bowl set over simmering water. Pour the chocolate into a Pyrex jug or any cylindrical/beaker-like container that makes dipping/pouring easy. Get your cooling rack out again and set it over a large chopping board/baking tray (this will help you transfer them to the fridge later).
You can do this two ways. Both ways have their pros and cons, but they have a pretty similar outcome:
- Line all of your hearts up and gently pour chocolate over each of them (this means you don’t get a chocolate-covered bottom and that you may end up missing patches)
- Grab a fork and dip each of the hearts in the chocolate mixture individually (this takes slightly longer, but you get a chocolate-covered bottom and end up with chocolatey fingers, which is a plus in my books) then set back on the cooling rack.
I prefer method two, because you get to lick your chocolatey fingers, but you also end up with better coverage. Pop in the fridge until set (at least 30 minutes) and remove when you’re ready to serve. I love the natural strawberry flavouring and colouring that comes through, hidden beneath the layers of soft biscuit and crisp chocolate.
I highly recommend you share these with others, they’re quite moreish, it’s easy to demolish more than one!