Back home this day is not a big day, and it has never meant anything special to me. It’s not something I ever celebrated. This has a bright side... I never felt bad for not having a date on February 14th because it was just like any other day. So one less traumatic event form adolescence to worry about!
Now I am surrounded by it and reminded constantly about this big, romantic day! Every pastry shop in Paris is doing cakes to celebrate love as are the chocolate stores... Everything is very very pretty! Gorgeous really. So I decided to give it a go. Plus I happen to have a date for the occasion, so I’m feeling pretty valentiny (yes I just made up the word!).
Because it’s my first time ever baking something to celebrate this day, I have kept it simple! Back to basics really; heart shaped cookies filled with raspberry jam (being pinkish/reddish and everything it seemed kind of perfect!).
They are spectacular. And you can make them in any shape you desire post-valentines. For this occasion I’ve made them into sandwiches, but you could also eat them as they are, they won’t disappoint.
You can make these just in time for Sunday breakfast.
Happy Valentine’s and happy cooking!
Makes 12 medium size filled cookies
For the Cookies
Butter 150 g
Flour 150 g
Almond flour 100 g
Powdered sugar 100 g
Egg yolks 2 u
Salt 5 g
Baking powder 5 g
Lemon 1 (small)
Vanilla Bean ½ u (or vanilla extract)
For the Raspberry Jam
Raspberries 500 g
Raspberry pulp 50 g
Sugar 210 g
Pectin 10 g (if you have any)
For the Finishing Touches
Using a paddle attachment mix the butter (pommade, meaning it should have the consistency of mayonnaise. So if you are not there yet, mix only the butter for a few minutes until you’ve reached the desired consistency), the powdered sugar, the almond flour, the vanilla bean (scraped) and the lemon zests for a few minutes.
Add the egg yolks and mix until combined. Finally add the flour, baking powder and salt in two times. Mix to combine.
Remove the dough from the stand mixer bowl, form a ball and using the palm of your hand or a rolling pin flatten it out. Wrap it in film wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
You can keep the dough in the fridge for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to a month. You can either keep it like this, or already rolled out, in between sheets of parchment paper and properly covered in film wrap. I choose the latter as it is easier and quicker to cut the cookies out and bake them whenever you need them! No need to defrost. :)
Line a baking sheet with either parchment paper or a silpad.
Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celscius.
Tap the dough using your rolling pin. Roll it out on a piece of parchment paper. Using a cookie cutter, in this case a heart shaped one, proceed to cut them and transfer them to a lined baking sheet, spacing them out.
Using a smaller size cutter of the same shape cut a hole in the middle of half the cookies. They will be our top cookies.
If at any point you feel the dough is not as firm, or it has become difficult to handle and your cookies are losing their shape, then stop what you are doing and transfer the dough back to the fridge until the dough has firmed up. The fridge is your best ally, use it to help yourself! It just might make the process longer but your final result will be beautiful.
Bake the cookies for approximately 10 minutes. They shouldn’t be too coloured.
Turn your baking tray around half way through the baking so that your cookies cook evenly. Baking time will depend on many things: cookie size and cookie thickness are up on the top of the list, so stay near your oven and watch them closely. At least the first time you make these, once you get the timings down you just need to use a timer!!
Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Cool down at room temperature.
Mix the raspberries and the raspberry pulp in a pot and heat them up over medium heat. In the meantime mix the pectin with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. If you are not using pectin avoid this step.
Add the sugar/pectin mixture to the fruit and whisk energetically. Then add the rest of the sugar and place the sugar thermometer inside the pot. Cook the jam to 102 degrees Celsius.
If you don’t have a sugar thermometer then bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 10 extra minutes approximately. You can tell the jam is cooked because the big bubbles it makes at the beginning have calmed down and now they are smaller in size and even amongst them.
Use a big pot because otherwise you risk it to overflow and spill all over. Cleaning jam is messy! Avoid this at all cost. I know I do.
Transfer the jam to a container and let it cool down. Then cover with film wrap and refrigerate. Be sure to use it once is cold.
Line the top cookies (the ones with a heart whole at the center) and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Line your bottom cookies in a row.
Transfer the jam to a pipping bag or set it next to your working space with 2 small spoons.
If you don’t want to prepare jam or just don’t have the time you can use a store bought jam you like!
Pipe or fill using the two spoons the jam onto the cookies.
Cover the bottom cookies with the top ones and press slightly too evenly distribute the filling.