Valentine’s Day Carnation Cookies

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When I was in elementary, I used to make valentines for my family members. This year, I thought I’d do something different. So I got the idea to make some cookies. My favorite are chocolate chip, but those wouldn’t really be Valentine’s Day oriented.  I thought about making chocolate chip heart shaped cookies, then I came across a really interesting cookie recipe that would be perfect for Valentine’s Day.  Did you know that there is an American Girl Magazine? The January/February issue had an interesting recipe for cookies. The recipe is pretty easy. Before I share the recipe, I thought I’d share the origin of Valentine’s Day I found on History.com. “The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom martyred.  One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who married single Roman soldiers in defiance of Roman Emperor Claudius II, who thought that single men made better soldiers. Claudius II found out about Valentine and put him to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape Roman prisons. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.”  Modern day valentine greetings date back to the Middle Ages. That’s a long time ago and a lot of valentines!

The ingredients….

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1/3 cup butter
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
Pink or red liquid food coloring
Pink sugar
Chocolate striped candies (unwrapped and chilled in freezer)

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1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bow. Add the egg, and beat again.

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2. Add the baking soda, baking powder, and vanilla, and stir until combined. Then stir in the flour, a little at a time, until the cookie dough is smooth.

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3. Mix in food coloring (a few drops at a time) until the dough is dark pink.  Use clean hands to knead the food coloring into the dough. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

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4. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, and roll in pink sugar. Place the dough balls 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

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5. Bake the cookies in a preheated 350-degree oven for 7-9 minutes.  Remove the cookies from the oven, and immediately press a chocolate candy in the center of each cookie.  Let cool completely.
Happy Valentine’s Day!