Welcome! I'm a new Pittsburgher and mom who is untrained in both life and cooking, but that just makes them both more exciting!

Love is in the air... and the shortbread cookies!

Valentine's Day is this weekend, which means that you are supposed to feel lots of love for the people that you, well, love.  And every year it seems that butter, sugar, and chocolate are the best ways to show your affection.  It is in this house at least.  I have two valentines at home this year, but only one of them is allowed to eat chocolate, so he got all the spoils of this recipe.  Lucky guy, getting lets of baked goods.  But I'm a lucky girl, so I guess it evens out :)

There are two main tips that I learned while researching shortbread cookie recipes.  1) For the best consistency, use powdered sugar instead of granulated, and 2) Whip the butter at the beginning for a good long time (like 5 minutes).  Both of these apparently make a huge difference in the texture of the cookie.  And mine ended up really good, so I guess that the people who came up with those ideas knew what they were talking about!

Here is the recipe for the shortbread cookies (from Joy of Baking):

2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 1/2 cup powdered sugar 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Whisk the flour with the salt in a bowl and set it aside.

In an electric mixer (or you can use a hand mixer) cream the butter for about 5 minutes.  The recipe only says one minute, but go ahead and let it go for longer.  We're in no hurry, right?

Add in the sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Next, gently add in the flour.  It is a very thick dough and you will have to scrape the bowl a couple of times to make sure that all the flour is incorporated.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it shill int he fridge for at least an hour.  Then roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is a consistent thickness (about 1/4 inch).  Using a cookie cutter (or if you just want squares you could use a pizza cutter) cut out the shapes and place them on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper.

Bake the cookies at 350° until they are slightly golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.  Let the cookies cool completely before you add any chocolate!

For the chocolate:

1 bag of semi sweet morsels 1 bag of white chocolate morsels Red food coloring

For the dark chocolate, you just melt it and spread it on the cookies.  Or you can dip the cookies, or drizzle the chocolate.  Melt the white food coloring and drop the coloring in and mix it well.  I used about 6 drops, but you can use more if you want a darker pink. 

I also made smaller versions of the cookies and did a solid half of chocolate without drizzle for a charity bake-off at work.  They are just as tasty, and make you feel like you can eat as many as you want without any fat or calories!

Valentine's Day Dinner

Creamy Tomato Soup