you smell like love.

{ dark chocolate sugar cookies with tender rose hearts }

These vibrant coloured cookies are super fun to make, it feels like playing with play-doh! They take some time, but they are tremendoulsy easy to make and I love how everything worked out so well, especially since I made up the recipe from scratch! They are perfect for Valentine's Day, or for any other occasion, and you can dye and flavour them according to your preferences or what you have on your pantry. And hey, I had chocolate and roses - what a cliché! Isn't it such a coincidence? If you're looking for something pretty, original and fun for this Valentine's, you've come to the right place!

give me a moment...
i am adjusting the roses in my tongue.
- the rose farm
nayyirah waheed

Oh Valentine's... tell me your feelings about it. Let it all out. What is your heart going through at the moment, and how does the happenstance of the date curb its way? Does it make you swoon, does it depress you, does it make you angry, do you look at it with indifference?
I think no one looks at it with indifference. Not even those who'll say it's just part of a capitalist plot, or those who'll pick on the irony that we are celebrating a martyr, or those who'll just complain about how lame it all is. Just having all those annoying adds, cheesy shop decorations and occasional chat with friends about their plans has got to tug at a string in any heart of stone. Oh well, you may say that being indifferent is also taking a stand, but in a world where we are bombed with stuff like that every waking minute, it is a stand to actively ignore it.
Let me just clarify that, to me, love is a much more comprehensive concept. It has several forms and expresses itself in several ways. Of course you don't love your brothers the same way you love the smell of a rainy day. I neither think that love is whatever you might feel at first sight. even though there definitely can be something at first sight. I think love grows, and I will be talking about the kind of love you feel for someone you want to be partners with.
I don't care whatever the reasons behind Valentine's Day are, neither do I care about all the gifts in the shops. But why not take an opportunity to acknowledge this unique kind of love - call it romantic, call it true love, whatever you please -, as it is, indeed? Of course it is absurd to limit love to a day, but why not let our hearts soften at the thought of it for once? And which better occasion than when we're already being ridiculously harrassed by the theme? We've loved and been loved. We've given and taken, and been cherished and hurt. It's hopeless to try to shove it all under the mat.
Now let me be the philosophical, hopeless romantic yet realistic 20-something I am for a while and give you my short lifetime experience insights on love. In my opinion, this is also the perfect occasion to indulge in some self-love - you know, because it would be tremendously selfish to make it during Christmas. I think most people, and let me be sexist and say especially women, forget to love themselves in the first place. Well I hate to break it to you, but you can't know you are in love with someone else if you haven't loved yourself first. You can't know whether you are with that someone because you really love them, or only to fill a hole in your heart, because you haven't tried to fill it with yourself first. When you love yourself, when you have cherished and nutured yourself, you will recognize real love. Because love does not feel like finding someone who fills all your gaps. Love is not only having an arm to hold on to. Love feels like coming home more than ever.
And now I am off to sip champagne and eat fancy, because that's always a great way to end Saturday night!

Before I go, obviously, I will leave you the recipe for these mega cute cookies, and something for you to fall in love with: Nayyirah Waheed. Please, please, google her now, she's an amazing poet soul. I will let this post be soaken by her enlightening words, enjoy!:)

I tried making a video of the rolling process of the cookies to show you how it's made, by glueing my iPhone to the bottom of my top kitchen cabinets, facing the counter. Sadly, it did not come out very well, because half of it is blurred, so I guess I will leave it for another time! If you need some visual help, let me know, and I can guide you to a good youtube tutorial on how to shape these cookies!

bolachas de chocolate com coração de rosas,
porque me apetece, porque sim e porque é dia de são valentim.

(receita base de bolachas para cortar)
125g de manteiga
170g de açúcar
225g de farinha
1/4 c. chá de fermento
1/4 c. chá de bicarbonato de sódio
1 pitada de sal
1 ovo L

(para a massa dos corações - medidas aproximadas)
15ml de corante vermelho
1 c. sopa de aroma de rosas
3 c. sopa de farinha extra

(para a massa de cacau - medidas aproximadas)
1 + 1/2 c. sopa de café e/ou xarope de baunilha
3 sopa de cacau, peneirado

(para montar)
1 clara de ovo
material: cortador de bolachas em forma de coração, faca afiada, película aderente 

Numa taça, bater a manteiga com o açúcar com uma batedeira manual, até obter uma mistura cremosa. Num recipiente à parte, misturar a farinha com o fermento, o bicarbonato de sódio e o sal.
Juntar uma colher de sopa da mistura de farinha à mistura de manteiga e bater. Isto evitará que a massa coalhe com a adição do ovo. Adicionar o ovo de seguida e bater até estar bem incorporado. Continuar adicionando a farinha aos poucos, batendo, até obter uma massa homogénea e moldável. Se a textura da massa for demasiado espessa para a batedeira, amassar com as mãos no final.
Separar a massa em duas partes, colocando cada uma numa taça diferente. Observar e memorizar a textura da massa neste ponto.
A uma das partes, juntar o aroma de rosas e amassar. Juntar corante vermelho e farinha à vez, até obter a cor desejada, equilibrando as proporções de forma a manter a textura inicial da massa.
À segunda parte, adicionar o cacau e o café alternadamente tendo a mesma atenção para manter a textura da massa.
Levar ambas as massas ao frigorífico envoltas em película aderente ou num recipiente fechado cerca de 15 minutos, ou até estar firme suficiente para estender e cortar.

Retirar a massa vermelha e estender sobre uma superfície limpa. A minha massa não aderia à banca da cozinha, mas se necessário polvilhar a superfície com farinha. Estender numa camada com a altura aproximada do cortador de bolachas e cortar corações de massa. Repetir até acabar a massa.
Colar os corações uns aos outros utilizando a gema de ovo como cola, pincelando-a sobre a superfície de cada coração e empilhando-os. Envolver bem em película aderente, pressionando tudo muito ligeiramente para colar bem. Levar ao frigorífico cerca de 10 minutos. Caso o dia esteja frio e seco, cerca de 5 minutos depois, retirar a massa de cacau do frigorífico.
Retirar as massas do frigorífico. Com as mãos, modelar cilindros mais ou menos finos de massa de cacau. Encaixar um primeiro cilindro fino na concavidade do topo dos corações, utilizando novamente clara de ovo como cola. Estender os restantes cilindros em tiras de massa e colá-las no sentido longitudinal sobre a massa vermelha, envolvendo-a como se fosse um salame. Ter atenção para não utilizar demasiada "cola", pois a clara de ovo altera a textura das bolachas (tornam-se biscoitos ou bolos).
Envolver tudo em película aderente e rolar sobre a banca para reduzir as estrias superficiais, apertando tudo, incluindo os lados do cilindro, de forma gentil mas firme. Levar ao frigorífico cerca de 15 minutos.
Cortar as bolachas com uma faca bem afiada, alisando as superfícies e as irregularidades dos contornos com as mãos. Levar as bolachas de novo ao frigorífico cerca de 10 minutos. Entretanto, pré-aquecer o forno a 180ºC (ventoinha).
Levar as bolachas ao forno cerca de 7-10 minutos, em tabuleiros forrados com papel vegetal, deixando espaços generosos entre elas. Deixar arrefecer sobre o papel.


dark chocolate sugar cookies with tender rose hearts,
for a colourful valentine's.

(sugar cookie base recipe)
125g butter
170g sugar
225g flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
1 large egg

(for the red dough - approximate quantities)
15ml liquid red food colouring 
1 tbsp rose extract
3 tbsp extra flour

(for the chocolate dough - approximate quantities)
1 + 1/2 tbsp coffee and/or vanilla syrup
3 tbsp cocoa, sifted

(for assembling)
1 egg white
material: small heart-shaped cookie cutter, sharp knife, plastic wrap

Using an electric hand-mixer, cream butter with sugar. Set aside. Into a second bowl, toss flour, baking soda and salt together.
Mix a tablespoon of flour into the butter mixture. This will keep the batter from curdling. Add the egg and beat well. Gradually mix in remaining flour, until obtaining an homogeneous and pliable dough. If the dough is too thick, knead it with the hands instead of beating.
Divide the batter in two balls and place them into two different bowls. At this point, memorize the consistency of the dough, as it must remain the same after the next steps.
Knead the rose extract into one of the balls. Add a bit of food colouring and flour at a time until reaching the desired colour, adjusting proportions as to keep the dough texture.
To the second half of batter, add cocoa and coffee alternately. Knead them into it until reaching desired colour, while maintaining the texture.
Wrap each dough ball in plastic foil and place them in the fridge for about 15 minutes, or until firm enough to mould.

Start with the red dough: spread it over a clean counter (I did not need any flour, but feel free to use if needed) to the thickness of the cookie cutter. Cut heart-shaped cookies. Repeat until there's no more dough left.
Using the egg white as glue, brush it over each heart and glue all of them together, piling them up. Wrap them in foil, gently pressing everything together, and place in the fridge for about 10 minutes. If the day is really cold and dry, take the cocoa dough out of the fridge in the meanwhile.
Having both doughs on the counter top, roll small cilinders of the cocoa dough. Use a first thin one to fill the v-cut on top of the hearts. Keep using egg white as glue, but do not overdo it, because it will make your cookies go cakey! Flatten the other cilinders and use them to revest the hearts as a salami. Roll everything in plastic foil, compressing it gently and flattening up the resulting gaps on the surface. Tightly wrap it and place it in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
Slice the cilinder with a sharp knife. With your hands, even out and polish the tops and sides of the cookies. Return to the fridge for 10 minutes. Pre-heat oven at 180ºC (fan).
Line your baking trays with parchment paper and spread the cookies on top, generous spaces between them. Bake for about 7-10 minutes. Let cool on the paper.


Happy Valentine's!

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