Jeanne Ambrose and Lindsey Ambrose are a mother-daughter seasoned food-writing team who, between 'em, have done a lot of eating around.
     Jeanne creates, edits, and writes food, nutrition, and health features. Lindsey is a small-space gardener extraordinaire with a penchant for cooking fresh and local. She goes for full-flavored, somewhat-spicy cuisine with a flair for ethnic-fusion feasts. Read More >>


Happy Heart Valentine’s Day Cookies

I concocted this Valentine’s Day cookie recipe as my heart shattered—when my mother died four years ago in early February—and I called them Broken Heart Lemon Sugar Cookies. But now, they bring back happy memories. And so I’ve changed the title to Happy Heart Lemon Sugar Cookies. It’s amazing how the simple act of baking can transport you—no matter how much time passes—to a cozy place of love and family and happy times. Baking is my meditation. It’s my hammock on the beach even when the ground is blanketed in snow.

These cookies are simple to make and just in time for Valentine’s day. They taste so much better when you share them.

And you’ll make me kinda happy if you like Heartbreak Recovery Kitchen on Facebook.

 

 

Happy Heart Lemon Sugar Cookies

About 3 dozen 2- to 3-inch cookies

broken heart cookies 2

Beat until creamy:

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons powdered sugar (it adds a light texture)

1 to 2 tsp. lemon peel (I use a Microplane to remove the lemon peel in fine shreds)

1/4 tsp. salt

Add and beat until combined:

1 egg

1  tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. baking powder

Add and beat on low (or stir with a wooden spoon) until combined:

2 1/2 cups flour

Divide dough into thirds, flatten into disks, and wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Using 1 part of dough at a time, roll dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Use a 2- to 3-inch cutter to cut out cookies. Place on cookie sheet about 1-inch apart.

Repeat with remaining dough. Pat dough scraps together and roll and cut.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges get a hint of brown. Do not over bake. Remove to a cooling rack. When cool, frost with Lemon Glaze. Add little red hearts or pink and red sprinkles, if desired.

Lemon Glaze: Whisk together 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, 2 to 3 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. lemon peel, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.

Shortcut Dark Chocolate Almost Toffee

You may have fallen in love with these already. But if you need a really fast homemade gift, this is it.

Saltine crackers, blanketed in melty butter and brown sugar, plus a heavy-handed scattering of chocolate chips and almonds. Done.

I’ve been making this for years from a recipe that was handed to me scribbled on a piece of notepaper. I’ve tweaked it a bit to include dark chocolate and sliced almonds. (But you’ll probably find something similar all over the Web.)
It’s one of my go-to last-minute treats for entertaining…You can have a batch ready for nibbling in 15 to 20 minutes.
Crunch. Munch. Moan (in an ecstatic way).
Dark Chocolate and Almond Toffee Crisps
 
40 saltine crackers (1 sleeve)
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips and/or chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a jelly roll pan (10x15x1) or rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper (or foil). Line the crackers in a single layer on the parchment paper in pan.
2. In a saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils. Let it bubble for 3 minutes, without stirring. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Immediately pour mixture over crackers. Bake for 5 minutes.
3. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips evenly over top; let stand for 5 minutes, then spread melted chips evenly over all. Top with sliced almonds. Cool completely, then cut or break toffee into pieces.
  • Music Beats
    the Blues

    What kind of music makes you happy? Any kind, say Penn State researchers. Study subjects felt better after listening to whatever music they liked best—from Jason Mraz to Bruno Mars to Yo Yo Ma to Mozart.

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Heart Break Recovery Kitchen
Everyone has good reasons to throw a pity party and the Heartbreak Recovery Kitchen shows you how to wallow with flair and flavor. Authors Jeanne and Lindsey Ambrose share enough comfort food and chocolate recipes in this cookbook to coax happy sighs from just about any misery-burdened soul.

In addition to 85 recipes including Deep Blue Funk Cocktail, Huevos Divorciados, Total Satisfaction Salad, Change Your Fortune Cookies, and Walnut-Studded Dark Chocolate Brownies, the book includes tips for bouncing back from the blues. There also are essays by writers around the country who share their stories of how they found happiness after heartbreak.

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