Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be about the most expensive jewelry or box of chocolates, but has become increasingly competitive. A homemade gift is far more thoughtful and individual – and edible gifts mean that you can share them too! Here are some ideas.
Valentine’s Day Lemon and Chocolate Cookie Hearts
You will need:
• A large mixing bowl
• Baking sheets
• Rolling pin
• Small heart shaped cutter (widely available online or from kitchen shops)
• Greaseproof paper
• ½ cup (125g or 4oz) butter
• ½ cup (125g or 4oz) caster sugar
• 2 egg yolks
• 1 cup (225g or 8 oz) all purpose (plain) flour, plus a little extra for dusting
• Grated rind of one lemon
• ¼ cup (60g or 2oz) plain chocolate
1. Grease the baking sheets, and pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F.
2. Beat the butter and sugar together until they look pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and mix well.
3. Stir in the flour and lemon rind, and mix to a stiff dough.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and roll it out to about ¼ thick. Cut into hearts with the cutter (this recipe makes about 10 biscuits, depending on the size of the cutter).
5. Transfer to the baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes until very pale golden.
6. When completely cool, melt the chocolate (preferably in the microwave), then take a piece of greaseproof paper about 12 inches (30cm) square. Fold it in half lengthways then sideways to form a smaller square. Carefully spoon the melted chocolate into the square, then cut the tip off it with a pair of scissors. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the biscuits, and allow to set.
Valentine’s Day Rosewater Creams
These pretty pink sweets are irresistible packed into a pretty basket, and so simple to make as they require no cooking. They also have the advantage of using up some of the leftover lemon juice and egg white from the cookie recipe, for extra budget bonus points!
You will need:
• Rolling pin
• Large mixing bowl
• Small heart cutter (see here for an example)
• 2 cups (450g or 1lb) powdered sugar
• 5ml (1tsp) lemon juice
• 1 egg white, light whisked
• Few drops (to taste) of rose water or rose flower water (available at large supermarkets, online and from specialist kitchen shops)
• Few drops red food colouring
1. Mix the sugar with the lemon juice and flavouring and add enough egg white to make the mixture workable. Add a few drops of colouring, enough to turn the mixture pale pink.
2. Turn out onto a work surface dusting with powdered sugar, and knead the mixture until it becomes smooth (a little sugar on your hands will help stop it sticking).
3. Roll the mixture out to about ¼” thick, and cut into hearts with the cutter. Leave overnight until completely dry.
These sweets should last for weeks when stored in an airtight container; however don’t leave them in a warm place as they may dry out and crack.
Pack your goodies into a basket, or homemade bag or box and finish with ribbons – tuck a dried rose head through the ribbon for a professional look. For a truly special homemade Valentine gift, you could also add some homemade bath salts with dried rose petals.