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Want to do Valentine's Day with chocolate?

What could be more beautiful or delicious?
What could be more beautiful or delicious?
tidymom.net

One thing to do is make cookie sandwiches using marshmallow-fluff-type icing, and substituting chocolate cutout cookies for the usual vanilla. You can also color the icing, which I saw on the cover of the January issue of the King Arthur Flour Company's catalog, or even flavor it with a few drops of peppermint oil.

You can find some pretty amazing organic chocolate at Tucson's health-oriented stores, and I usually begin looking at Sprouts because they have quite a variety of both "eating" and "cooking" chocolate. I mention this often, but DO NOT use chocolate chips in recipes calling for melted chocolate. Chips are treated to resist melting, which is the opposite of what you want here.

As a child I used to find chocolate cookies boring, principally because they had so little flavor. This is the inevitable result of cutting corners in recipes and substituting inferior chocolate/cocoa for the first-class stuff. You will never be in danger of doing that if you shop for organic cocoa powder. It comes as baking cocoa or cocoa powder and is often stipulated to be unsweetened or whatever. If you have not been perusing the labels, now is a good time to start by reading the labels of chocolate and cocoa when you shop for these cookies.

There is a variety of treatments for the cookies once they are baked, and I give a recipe here that includes making sandwich cookies. But you can also frost and decorate them, as shown above, and treat them the same way as decorated cutout Christmas cookies. Seems like I have been baking cookies for months, but I guess I am good for one more batch.

CHOCOLATE CUTOUT COOKIES OR ROYAL SANDWICHES

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened organic cocoa powder
1-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 sticks organic butter at room temperature
1-1/4 cups organic granulated sugar
1 large organic egg at room temperature

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the egg. Gradually stir in the sifted ingredients to form a soft dough. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, flatten and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours to allow the gluten to relax.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness (it should be firm enough to handle without much flour). Cut into whatever shapes you want with cookie cutters, adding more flour to the rolling surface as needed. Place the cookies 1-1/2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.

Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow them to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cookies are completely cool, make up a batch of Fluffy Frosting following the manufacturer's instructions (if you are using meringue mix). Tint the frosting pink if you wish, and flavor with peppermint oil if you would like mint frosting (add the oil a drop at a time).

Make sandwich cookies, or if you decide against that, you can frost the cookies simply with butter-cream frosting and sprinkle them with colored sugar.