Probably the only thing I really think about when someone says the word Valentine’s is that it’s an amazing opportunity to get creative with the things that come out of your oven. And it’s not because I’m some bitter heartbroken man-hating spinster or anything, it’s just that I think it’s not a particularly special event. It might be a cliché to say that we should make it a point to express how much we love our boyfriends/girlfriends, husbands/wives on a daily basis even in the smallest ways; but to me, it’s an even bigger cliché to pick a particular day to give extra special attention to your partner.
Tell your girlfriend how much you love the colour of her hair when she stands underneath the sunlight.
Tell your boyfriend how adorable you think he looks with that goofy smile of his.
Buy each other flowers and chocolates just because.
Say I love you everyday, and mean it.
Now I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with planning something special for Valentine’s Day. In fact, I’m sure it would be a lovely gesture. It’s just that I personally think the real measure of how much a person loves us is apparent during the seemingly insignificant, regular moments; or when they surprise you by remembering the tiny things that make you smile. I think these moments are the sweetest.
And speaking of sweet, let me tell you about this love-lost-love-found story between me and these crinkles. At first I wasn’t sure how well these cookies and I would get along. Quite frankly, I don’t even know what possessed me to pick this rather indulgent treat to make for Valentine’s. First of all, I’m not really a crinkles girl. Secondly, sometimes recipes that involve food colouring (with the exception of these Rainbow Cupcakes, because really, the idea of eating rainbows never gets old) can drive me nuts. Apart from the fact that I just don’t like having a lot of food colouring in my food, I just hate how it always manages to viciously attach itself unto my hands. Ugh!
Also, the idea of stuffing Oreos into the center of these already-sweet treats felt like a sugar-coma waiting to happen. (Then again you can make these un-stuffed.) But because I was feeling a lot better after the now-seemingly-distant memories that were the weeks past, I decided it probably wouldn’t hurt to sweeten things up a bit every once in a while. But as I made these, I caved and cut off maybe a little over 1/4 cup of the sugar. The result was still a wonderfully soft not-so-sweet crinkle with a very clear and deep chocolate flavour. Once you bite into the centre, you get the crunch from the Oreo cookies, plus an additional layer of chocolate flavour and sweetness.
I guess in a way, these cookies are pretty perfect for Valentine’s Day after all: We get the opposing textures of soft and hard from crinkle and Oreo; then there’s the depth in flavour from the chocolate; and let’s not forget its striking and attention-grabbing appearance. Oh, and its sweetness. And even though the messiness factor of these really tested my tolerance, I took a deep breath, held on, and the result was admittedly worth it. Kind of reminds you of a little something we call ‘love‘, doesn’t it?
Red Velvet Crinkles
adapted from Sprinkle Bakes blog | Makes about 24 large stuffed cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
24 chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreos)
1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar, for rolling
1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat in buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring. The batter may look curdled at this point but do not worry.
3. Sift together all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Add to butter mixture and beat on low until just combined. The dough should be very soft and a little sticky. If it is very sticky then add 1/4 cup more all-purpose flour and stir again. Cover and chill in the freezer until the dough is very cold and easy to handle, about 30 minutes.
4. Place confectioners’ sugar in a bowl and set aside.
5. Using buttered fingers, scoop out a 3-tablespoon-sized piece of dough. Flatten the dough between the palms of your hands. Place a cookie on the flattened dough and fold the dough around the cookie.*
6. Roll lightly between the palms of your hands to make the cookie-stuffed dough a little more ball-shaped and roll in powdered sugar. Repeat until all the dough has been used up. Remember to butter hands between each dough piece.
7. Place dough balls on a cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. These cookies will spread significantly, so it is best to placie no more than 5 per cookie sheet. You can re-roll dough balls in powdered sugar just before putting them in the oven to make the crinkled appearance more prominent, but it’s not necessary.
8. Bake until cookies are puffed and cracked on top about 14 minutes. Let cool on the pan about 5 minutes more (cookies will be soft) then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
*I made 15 Oreo-stuffed crinkles and about 15 more plain ones. The stuffed ones were kind of huge so I opted to make plain ones so I could control how small I want them to be.
Valentine’s Day aside, it seems I have finally learned how to live within the ordeal I was dropped into for the past weeks. I have been feeling a bit more optimistic as of late; so much so in fact that I even changed my cellphone wallpaper into something bright and cute, and dare I say, appropriate for the season. And because it is Valentine’s after all, I’m shipping some of these cookies off to my nearest and dearest! (Not at all different from what I usually do when I bake.)
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!