In honor of Valentine’s Day I wanted to feature an unapologetically sweet recipe to celebrate this day of love, and these Heart Shaped Sandwich Cookies, filled with a simple vanilla buttercream, fit the bill perfectly.
When this month’s Martha Stewart Magazine landed in my mailbox my eyes landed on these adorable confections staring back at me from the cover, and I instantly knew I would be setting aside a couple of hours to recreate them.
Now, Martha may be the cookie queen, but I did make a few of my own modifications to these Heart Shaped Sandwich Cookies: first, I substituted the red food coloring that the recipe called for, using natural all natural beet juice instead- I highly recommend finding natural food dye alternatives and beet juice works just as well, if not better, than artificial red dye. I mean, doesn’t their beautiful blushing hue just take your breath away?
Secondly, the cream filling called for a combination of powdered sugar and granulated sugar, mixed with butter and a bit of vanilla extract and milk. I had a funny feeling about adding granulated sugar but went against my better judgment and followed the recipe. Sure enough, the buttercream had a gritty texture due to the granulated sugar not dissolving (I KNEW IT MARTHA). So I scrapped it and made a second batch, omitting the granulated sugar, which resulted in the smooth creamy texture I was looking for.
It just goes to show that a recipe is not the end all be all of a dish. Use your own judgement and instincts to tweak a recipe to your preferences.
I hope you love these Heart Shaped Sandwich Cookies enough to give them a try (and share with your loved ones)!
Heart Shaped Sandwich Cookies
For the cookies:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2-1 teaspoon beet juice
For the cream filling:
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoons whole milk if needed
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat together butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add flour mixture, beating until just incorporated.
Add beet juice, mixing and kneading to combine, until an even pink shade is reached. Flatten dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour and up to overnight.
Bring dough to room temperature, about 10 minutes, before rolling.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees with racks in top and lower thirds. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to just under 1/4 inch thick, adding more flour as needed to keep dough from sticking. Cut out even numbers of heart shaped cookies and place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Freeze until very firm, about 15 minutes.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let cookies cool completely on baking sheets set on wire racks.
Meanwhile, make the filling. Beat butter with a mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add sugar, beating until thoroughly combined. Beat in vanilla. If filling is too thick to spread, beat in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until spreadable.
Spread filling onto bottom side of half the cooled cookies, and sandwich with remaining cookies, pressing gently.
adapted from Martha Stewart