By Chloe Coscarelli
One Valentine’s Day in college, my roommate came home with a big basket of heart-shaped chocolates. The rest of us girls in the apartment “oohed” and “aahed,” giddily asking her who bought them for her. “I stood in line at the store for half an hour and bought them for MYSELF,” she declared. She had some serious girl power! While the rest of us single ladies were sulking in the apartment, she braved the crowd of guys buying flowers and candies to treat herself to something special. You go, girl!
Valentine's Day can be stressful. From the red-and-pink everything in stores pushed on consumers to the expensive “reservations only” couple’s menus in restaurants, it’s a holiday that no one can avoid. Whether you’re spending it this year with a loved one, your dog, or yourself, exhale the anxiety away with an Ujjayi breath and treat yourself to something special. For me, this means taking an extra few minutes in Child’s Pose in yoga class that day, and then baking myself a batch of my favorite vegan cookies.
Try my Raspberry Shortbread Hearts for an easy and artistic cookie that both kids and adults will gobble up. The recipe itself is a "veganized" version of a recipe passed down from many generations of my mom’s family. There’s a whole lot of love in this recipe! The combination of tender shortbread and raspberry jam sprinkled with powdered sugar is sure to spark love at first bite.
Raspberry Shortbread Heart Cookies
Makes 18 sandwich cookies
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup vegan margarine
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 jar raspberry jam
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or silpat.
In a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and baking soda. Add margarine, water, and vanilla, and pulse until a soft dough-like consistency has formed.
Working with half of the dough at a time, place the dough between two large sheets of floured parchment paper. Roll dough out until it is ¼ inch thick. Gently peel off the top sheet of parchment paper. Using a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out as many hearts as you can. On half of the hearts, use a mini 1 ½-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out a smaller heart from the centers. These will be the tops of your cookies that will have raspberry jam peeking through. You can combine any remaining scraps to roll and cut more cookies.
Place the hearts on the prepared baking sheets about ½ inch apart and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until just lightly golden. Let cool completely.
When cookies have cooled, lightly sift powdered sugar over the decorative tops and set aside. Spread 2 teaspoons jam on the bottoms of the remaining cookies, and sandwich with the powdered sugared tops.
Chloe Coscarelli, creator of ChefChloe.com and author of Chloe's Kitchen, is an award-winning vegan chef who is taking the culinary world by storm with her creative, easy-to-make vegan recipes. She first earned national attention after winning first place on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars with her vegan cupcakes. Her first cookbook, Chloe’s Kitchen (Free Press), will be published in March. Chloe lives in California with her family and adopted dogs, and stays active through yoga, dance, and core fusion classes.