i heart cookies

November 9, 2011
What do you do when a loved-one goes under the knife for heart surgery?  I can't see myself assisting in any other way but through a post-op tummy-boost to help along the healing process...Am I right?
For some strange reason, I don't own a heart-shaped cookie cutter... or at least it's not in my possession as far as I can tell.  So, I ventured into unknown territories.  A self-cut-heart-shaped-cookie within a cookie.  I'll be honest and tell you that my baking confidence was a little uneasy.

But, success!  

Perhaps you'll bake these for someone you like.  Maybe a super-early Valentine's Day party?   Or maybe just make them for your own belly.  Bake yourself some love.  
I Heart Cookies
11/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Red food coloring
Confectioners’ sugar

  1. Mix together flour, cornstarch, salt and baking soda; Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugars for a few minutes until light and fluffy. 
  3. Add the yolk and vanilla extract, and beat until incorporated. 
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and gently stir until just mixed.  Don't over-mix.
  5. Separate dough into two portions; In one bowl place about 3/4 of the dough and store in the refrigerator. 
  6. With the remaining 1/4 amount of dough, add the food coloring and mix thoroughly.  Let both bowls of dough sit in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.  
  7. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; Set aside. 
  8. Roll plain dough into balls and place onto prepared baking sheet.   Gently press down each dough ball with the palm of your hand to flatten a bit.  
  9. Roll out colored dough on a surface dusted with confectioners’ sugar. Carefully cut out dough hearts with a sharp knife and place on flattened cookies.   Press together using the palm of your hand.  Repeat with remaining dough.
  10. Bake about 10-14 minutes and allow to cool on a baking rack.  

roasted butternut squash soup

Let me preface by saying, I'm not a soup person.  When given the choice between soup and anything, I'll go with that anything because chances are, it will feel more substantial and that's where my heart lies.  In the bread.  The pasta.  The dense veggie dishes.
But this soup stands alone in its own category and definitely wouldn't stand to be grouped along with other soups.  A roasted butternut squash makes this thick, creamy soup taste like heaven along with a hint of freshly grated ginger and curry.  
Fall in a bowl, y'all. 

As in, I'd like my face to fall in this bowl.

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
vegan, gluten-free1 large butternut squash (about 1 1/2 lbs.)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow or sweet white onion, chopped
1 medium apple, any variety, peeled and diced
2 cups prepared vegetable broth, or more/less as needed
2 teaspoons good-quality curry powder
2 teaspoons ginger, freshly grated
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. To roast the squash, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash half lengthwise and place halves, cut side down on a foil-lined, shallow baking dish and cover tightly with more foil. 
  2. Bake for 30 to 50 minutes, until you can easily pierce the flesh with a knife. Scoop out and set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a soup pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-low heat until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes.  Add the apple, squash, broth and spices. Bring to a steady simmer, then cover and simmer gently until the apples are tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer the solids to a food processor  and process until smoothly pureed and serve.