I had two different ideas for making Valentine’s day cookies, both of which involved the same basic ingredients, shortbread, raspberry puree, and chocolate ganache, but put together in different ways.
Rolled Shortbread Cookies
The first idea was to make a pinwheel or rolled type of cookie. I made a batch of plain shortbread and rolled it into a rectangle.
Next, I made a raspberry puree and added (1) just enough sugar to take away the overwhelming tart taste, (2) just enough cornstarch (thickener) to enable the puree to hold its shape when spread so it wouldn’t run. I believe this raspberry sauce is called a coulis:
I think pureed raspberries are absolutely stunning – that’s all Mother Nature there with no added food coloring!! Just don’t get it on your clothes!
I spread a layer of the raspberry puree onto the shortbread rectangle. Then I spread a layer of chocolate ganache onto the raspberry puree. I wanted to have separate layers of raspberry and chocolate, so I spread the chocolate as delicately as possible in an attempt to prevent it from mixing in too much with the raspberry sauce.
I marked the center of the rectangle length-wise, so my hearts would be as symmetric as possible, then I rolled each side of the rectangle into the center. At that point, the shape was like a roll of elephant ears or palmiers, that is, flat on the bottom. I put the rolled dough into the freezer until it was still pliable, but able to hold its shape. At that point I flattened the sides of the roll until I got a nice heart shape, then I stuck it back in the freezer to firm up some more. Finally, I sliced and baked. Here’s how they came out:
Cutout Shortbread Cookies
The second idea was to make shortbread hearts, bake them, then decorate them with raspberry coulis and chocolate ganache.
Most people would probably use a sugar cookie to decorate like this. However, I much prefer shortbread to sugar cookies, so I almost always use shortbread where others would use sugar cookies.
I tried spreading the raspberry coulis onto a shortbread heart, but I didn’t like the consistency. I was thin and gel-like, whereas I wanted something more full-bodied. I decided instead to use the raspberry coulis to make a buttercream frosting – adding just enough butter and sugar to give the coulis some body without ending up with a too-sweet frosting. Here’s what my buttercream looked like:
The frosting is kind of grainy, where the “grains” are tiny lumps of butter. I think I would be able to get a smoother consistency by adding more powdered sugar to the frosting. However, the flavor of the grainier frosting was tart-sweet, and I was afraid that if I added more sugar, I would lose the tartness and end up with just sweet frosting. I preferred tart-sweet and grainy to smooth and sweet, so I didn’t add more sugar.
I spread the butttercream onto the shortbread hearts and then tried out different designs with the chocolate ganache.
I started out using a really thin tip to pipe the chocolate because I wanted lacy detail. Unfortunately, the tip kept getting clogged with itsy-bitsy pieces of chocolate (that hadn’t fully melted). So I ended up using a thicker tip than I would have like. Maybe next time I’ll try melting the chocolate and making sure it’s as liquidy as possible before adding the cream for the ganache, and see if I can use the really thin tip then.
So here’s how the cookies turned out:
The cornelli lace piping on the heart on the right-most row at the bottom was done with the thinner tip, and so were the lines between the nested hearts on the cookie the top most right cookie. I think I like the cornelli lace and the curlicue (bottom row middle) designs best.