Valentine’s Day

Around our house, Valentine’s Day is not a big holiday. By the time it rolls around, it seems as if I have just fully recovered from Christmas. Usually I bake a rich red velvet cake with a delicious icing that starts out like white gravy, but this year I settled on an easy, heart-shaped giant cookie. In fact, it is so easy to make, I put my 8 year-old son on the job while I fiddled with my camera.
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I found the pan at Target for a whopping $6, clearanced 50% to $3. Can’t beat that . . . that is unless I went back tomorrow when all the V-day stuff is 75% off.

Now I’m gonna share with you a recipe I’ve been perfecting for a few months. It is has quickly become the favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe in the house.

Start with butter. Real butter. When I make actual cookies, I use half butter, half margarine to keep the cookies from spreading too much. But in my lovely heart pan I don’t have to worry about it, so stick with butter! Pour in your sugars. Cream. No tricks here, I’m sure you all know how to make chocolate chip cookies.
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Now add your egg. . . farm fresh please. Oh wait, I used up all my farm fresh eggs, and my supplier (LEIGH!!) has more demand than chickens. So add your plain old, store bought egg. Then add the vanilla. And yes, I use real vanilla. Mix some more.
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Next comes fresh-ground-whole-wheat-flour, baking soda, and salt. Don’t reach for white flour. Don’t do it! Fresh-ground-whole-wheat-flour is so much better for you. It has so much more flavor. It tastes nothing like store-bought-sit-on-the-shelf-wheat-flour. I’m saving up for my own grain mill. Until then I grind and buy my flour from Hy-Vee.

Mix again.

Next comes two special ingredients. What do you think this is?
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Any guesses?

Instant Coffee. Don’t stress if you don’t like coffee, even if you hate coffee. Your cookies will not taste like coffee. However, they will be richer, yummier, more flaverful. Try it. You’ll like it.

Next add ground flax seed meal. Really. It has a nutty flavor, and is full of all those healthy omega-3 oils. I add ground flax to just about all my baked goods. I’m hooked. I buy mine as the flax seed and then grind it using my magic bullet. A coffee grinder would work too!

Now your ready to add the chips and press it into your pan. I traced the heart pan on parchment paper, then cut out the heart, and lined the pan with it. If you are not using parchment paper with cookies and cakes, please do. Clean up is a snap and it makes your cakes/bar cookies slide out of the pan.
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By this time, Jonah has joined in to help.

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Finally bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees.

While baking, take pictures of baby.
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Once you pull your cookie out of the oven, let it cool, in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then ever-so-carefully, take it out of the pan. I helped at this point, placing a cookie sheet over the top of the pan, flipping it all over together, pulling the pan and parchment paper off (the heart is face-side down on the cookie sheet still), putting the cooling rack against the bottom the cookie, and flipping again. VOILA!
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Now cool completely. Usually I stop here, but since it’s Valentine’s Day, I’m going all out. But, I lost my helpers, so I quit taking pictures.

Make an icing using peanut butter (natural, of course!), butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar. Spread over cookie. FINALLY, I used red-colored choc. pieces from Wilton to drizzle across. Did you know about these? You melt them in a little bag, snip the corner of the bag off, then drizzle away.

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Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup fresh ground, whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. instant coffee, heaping
1 Tbsp. flax meal
1 cup choc. chip

Icing:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
1 Tbsp butter
2 cups powdered sugar
Cream first 3 ingredients, then add powdered sugar.

Enjoy!

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