Happy Valentine’s Day!

I know some people hate Valentine’s Day. Not me! Sure, I understand the argument that it’s a Hallmark holiday invented to get people to bleed money on silly material things like flowers, chocolates, and stuffed animals. That’s partly true. I’m also a firm believer that we should reaffirm our love for those that are close to us every day–not just Valentine’s day.

But, at it’s core, I think Valentine’s Day provides a great excuse to stop what we’re doing and take some time to focus on our loved ones. How you want to celebrate is up to you! Some people want a fancy dinner and a big bouquet of roses and some would rather a home-cooked meal and a movie. Either way, I’m a fan.

We did our Valentine’s dinner last night. We finally got to try a new restaurant in town called Thirty Acres–a restaurant owned by a the former chef de cuisine at Momofuku Noodle Bar in NYC. The restaurant has made it onto a bunch of “must-try” NYC restaurants, which is exciting for Jersey City.

Instead of wining and dining tonight, we’ll be grocery shopping and then hitting the road to my parent’s house upstate. We’re hosting his brothers and their families as well as his cousins for a weekend of skiing. Should be some great conditions thanks to all the new snow we got yesterday!

To stay in the spirit of the holiday, I whipped up a batch of these delicious (and absolutely adorable) Valentine’s Day cookies. They look complicated, but they’re really pretty easy. Just split the dough in half, color one red, then roll up together into a log, slice, and bake.

Valentine's Day Cookies (Swirl Cookies)
Don’t feel limited by the pink and white. You can certainly make these cookies for just about any holiday. Try green and white for St. Patrick’s Day (it’s coming up!) or get crazy and dye both halves of the dough. Green and red would be fun for Christmas!

Valentine’s Day Cookies (Swirl Cookies)

Prep Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Total Time: 32 minutes

Yield: 36 cookies

Despite their fancy appearance, these beautiful pink and white swirl cookies are actually very easy to make. Perfect Valentine's Day cookies!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • pink food coloring
  • 1/2 cup of pink decorating sugar

Instructions

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla and salt.
  2. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour, mixing until just combined (do not overmix).
  3. Remove the dough and separate it into two equal pieces. Shape one piece of the dough into an 8-inch square, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.This will be your white dough.
  4. Return the other half of the dough to the mixing bowl. With the mixer on low, add in the pink food coloring, one drop at a time, until it reaches your desired color (I used 10 drops). Remove the pink dough, shape it into an 8-inch square, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. Refrigerate both halves of the dough for 2 hours.
  5. Place the white dough in between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap and roll it into a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Then, place the pink dough between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap and roll into a rectangle (of approximately the same size) about 1/8-inch thick.
  6. Remove the wax paper or plastic wrap, and carefully place the white dough on top of the pink dough. Use a rolling pin to very lightly roll over the two pieces of dough to eliminate extra pockets of air between the two colors.
  7. Starting with the longer side, roll the dough as tightly as possible. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour, taking out and rolling it along the counter every 10 minutes or so to prevent the dough from developing a flat side.
  8. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Pour the colored sugar into a flat dish, unwrap the log of cookie dough, and roll in the colored sugar to coat. Slice into 1/4-inch rounds and place about one inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes. Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
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