Happy Valentine’s Day! Do you love this day or hate it? It seems that everyone has their own opinion and it is definitely not a universally cherished holiday. To be honest, I am a little indifferent to it. I don’t particularly like the forced pressure that it places on relationships… the expectation of gifts, flowers, chocolate, etc. It seems a little forced and not very genuine sometimes. On the other hand, Valentine’s Day serves as a little reminder to cherish those you love and to take a little effort out of your day-to-day life to show them.
So, anyway… while I am a little ambivalent towards this holiday overall, I do love hearts. The shape, that is. And what better excuse to make heart shaped cookies than Valentine’s Day! And dipped in chocolate, no less! Yep.
These Valentine Ischlers are a little bit fancy. And they take some time to make. But, they’re so worth it. They originated in Austria and are traditionally tiny cookies that are served with tea. So, umm… maybe you should listen to a little Mozart and pull out your best teapot and tea cups when you enjoy these lovely treats.
The cookie starts off with a basic butter cut-out cookie with ground walnuts. They are absolutely tender, slightly crumbly and delicious just by themselves, so if you were feeling totally lazy, you could just call it quits and eat the cookies plain! The cookies are then filled with cream cheese sweetened with lingonberries and vanilla. I think raspberry jam would work equally as well if you can’t find lingonberries. Finally, the cookies are dipped in chocolate. I have read that these cookies should be made ahead because they taste better 1-2 days after they are made as the flavors meld together. While this is true, I found that they also lost some of the shortbread texture and became more soft and cake-like over time. Therefore, I would suggest waiting to fill and dip the cookies until the day you plan to eat them.
So, here is a beautiful treat you can share with someone you love. I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup finely ground walnuts
- 1 cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 3 tbsp lingonberries in syrup
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Chocolate Glaze:
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tsp light corn syrup
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until finely ground, add the flour and salt and pulse 2-3 times, or until mixed.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Stir in the dry ingredients just until well combined. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, flatten into discs and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
- While the dough is chilling, beat the cream cheese and lingonberries until light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll a disk of dough into ⅛ inch thickness. Cut desired shape with a cookie cutter and transfer to a cooking sheet (lined with parchment paper or a silpat liner). Freeze the sheet for about 5 minutes. Bake until firm, but still light in color, about 12-15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.
- Spread half of the cooled cookies with filling. Top with the remaining cookies to form sandwiches.
- Melt the bittersweet chocolate and butter in a double boiler over low heat, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and add the corn syrup and the vegetable oil.
- Dip half of each sandwich into the chocolate glaze. Place cookies on wax paper and allow to rest until glaze is fully cooled and set.
Store cookies in a sealed container in a cool place.