Today we’re excited to welcome Lisa Newmann, sweet genius and founder of one of our favorite local companies, Cookiehead, as our guest blogger.
Sweethearts across the nation are pumped up for the fast-approaching holiday of lovers: Saint Valentine’s Day. Chocolate lovers are particularly excited, as one of the traditional gifts of February 14 is a box of cocoa goodness, in the form of truffles or other sweet treats.
Yes, chocolate sweets are generally high fat, but dark chocolate possesses many healthful attributes. Among its benefits, dark chocolate can help guard against type 2 diabetes. It contains flavonoids, which help reduce insulin resistance, and has a low glycemic index, so it won’t cause large spikes in blood sugar levels. It’s also full of antioxidants, which can ward off cancer and slow the signs of aging, and it contains vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, and potassium.
Dark chocolate is good for your dental health, thanks to theobromine, which helps harden tooth enamel. And it’s good for your mental health; it increases blood flow to the brain, which can enhance mental function, and contains phenylethylamine (PEA), a chemical produced by your brain when you feel like you’re falling in love.
As if that’s not enough to make chocolate a natural choice for Valentine’s Day, how about the fact that it’s good for your heart? Eating a small amount of dark chocolate a few times a week can help lower your blood pressure. It can also improve blood flow and may help prevent arteriosclerosis and the formation of blood clots. So treating your sweetie to some chocolate can be a profound way to show you care.
This year, rather than buying chocolates for your sweetheart, why not make him or her some sweet hearts? As my gift to you, I’m sharing my simple shortbread recipe—just four ingredients, all of them pantry staples, along with a chocolate ganache formula, which turns the cookies into a chocolate-drizzled confection. The ganache is also a breeze to prepare. These cookies are perfect for Valentine’s Day, because we know you’ve got better things to do then spend too much time in the kitchen.
Chocolate-Dipped Shortbread Sweet Hearts
Use heart-shaped cookie cutters to play up the Valentine’s Day theme. Or cut the cookies into any shape you think will appeal to your sweetheart. To make a chocolate version of the shortbread, add 1/3 cup (1.25 oz.) cocoa and 1/2 tablespoon espresso powder to the mix. This recipe makes a dozen cookies, more or less, depending on the shape you choose.
Extra ganache can be frozen for three months, but once you make these cookies, you’ll use it long before then. For an extra kick, whisk about 1/8 cup Myer’s Dark Rum into the ganache.
8 ounces unsalted butter, cold
1/2 cup (3.75 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1. Preheat oven to 375° degrees
2. Using a hand mixer, blend butter, sugar, and salt until combined but not perfectly smooth. (A food processor also works.) Add flour on low speed and mix just until dough pulls together. Roll into a roughly 1/16”-thick sheet, cut into the form of your choice, and bake for about 10 minutes, until they turn lightly golden around the edges. Note that the time depends on size and thickness of your cookies.
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
9 ounces dark chocolate (I prefer Callebaut)
1. Chop the dark chocolate into chunks.
2. Heat the cream and butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, just until it starts to bubble (watch carefully to prevent boiling over). Remove from heat immediately.
3. Add the chocolate to the cream mixture and let stand for one minute. Mix cream and chocolate well with a whisk.
4. Arrange the cookies on a serving platter and drizzle the ganache over the cookies. Alternatively, pour the ganache into a bowl to use as a dip for the cookies.
Now it’s time to snuggle up with your sweetie! We’re offering one lucky winner a prize package featuring Cookiehead’s Crazy for Chocolate cookie box plus a Pine Cone Hill Dunes Oceanic throw! That’s more than $100 in sweet treats. Enter today!
Congratulations to our winner, Tiffany from Massachusetts!