Thursday, 14 February 2013

Love, Sweet Love

I made treats for Valentine's Day! Long-time readers who remember my Valentine's post last year may be surprised by this. But, if you remember, I am not at all opposed to the tradition of Valentine's Day, but rather the commercial and predictable event it has become. I'm a total Romantic, and I love the idea of taking someone by surprise and professing your undying affection. I love the idea of people selecting or making special, personal gifts and sharing their true feelings. But the disheartening sight of desperate, sweating men crammed into shops buying tacky cards and regulation roses does not speak to my Romantic heart.

I also dislike that Valentine's Day seems to stop at people in established couples these days. Love is so much more than that. What about love between friends and family - the relationships that often last longer than romantic ones? What about sharing joy with acquaintances that are neglected in love and friendship? What about smiling at and conversing with strangers? What about finding the beauty in unexpected places and falling back in love with the world?

So, this year, I opted to share the love far and wide. Well, within the walls of my office, anyway... So I baked lots of biscuits for everyone! I adore cherries - they're the fruity love of my life - so they were a natural choice for my sweet treats. Cherry pie is my favourite, and I was considering making more cup pies, as I did for Halloween, but wanted something a little less fiddly and which could go further. So biscuits it was.

Cherry and chocolate biscuits

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 250g butter
  • 2 teaspoon maraschino cherry juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond essence
  • 2 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained and chopped (I used black cherries in syrup, as I couldn't find maraschino ones)
  • large chocolate chips

  • Combine sugar, butter, cherry juice and almond essence. Blend well. 
  • Add flour and salt. Mix well. 
  • Add cherries. Mix well.
  • Shape into 1" balls. Place 2" apart on a biscuit tray covered with greaseproof paper. 
  • Bake at 180C for 8-10 minutes. 
  • Immediately after baking, top each biscuit with a chocolate chip, pressing down firmly. Remove from tray and cool on wire rack.

Yes, I am dressed in a Valentine-cooking-appropriate red dress with a little heart pattern...

I failed to get a picture of the finished product (apart from the one at the top of this post). They took much longer than the stated time to cook... I think that maybe my oven isn't the greatest though. I bake so infrequently that I'm not aware of its quirks and how I might need to compensate for them.

In the end, the biscuits didn't come out looking quite as appetising as I had hoped and I wasn't overly delighted by the overall result - I feel I would have preferred just munching on cherries! I think dark chocolate would have been a better option than milk chocolate but I couldn't find dark buttons, sadly. But the biscuits went down well at work, and that's the important thing. I =got to share the love and subtly make my point that Valentine's Day shouldn't just be for couples. 

I also got so carried away with my loved-up enthusiasm that I created a Valentine's Day mix, for your listening pleasure. Not much thought went into this, I must confess, I just cast an eye over my itunes library and pulled out a few songs... Or rather, as it ended up, more than a few songs... I opted to throw in friends, love lost, unrequited love, innocent love, less innocent love and "other", just to cover a greater spectrum of experiences and circumstances. And it all kicks off with the worldwide love that inspired this post title, and which I was humming to myself all day today. Click below to enjoy! (And yes, the cover of my compilation is inspired by the fact that my excitement continues to mount over the upcoming Lichtenstein exhibition...)


  1. Well, "in the name of love" (U2), you've created another delightful post. The way you manage to carry the theme sartorially and musically too, raises the level of delight. Did your note go with the biscuits at work? I think your take on Valentine's Day is highly commendable. I might take it a step further and suggest that "established couples" celebrate anniversaries, so shouldn't be calling in St. Valentine as well! Isn't it traditionally "from a secret admirer". But I like your sharing the love theme too. I've heard that way back on Valentine's Day, one took a "lover" just for a year. Hmmm...

  2. Oh, thank you! It's lovely of you to say so. And I like that you've carried on the theme yourself, using the U2 lyrics...

    And yes, I realised that it was a nicer way to make a point about my objection to "established couples" (as you nicely put it) taking over the day. I wanted to encourage the feeling of love out of everyone. It put me in a great mood all day too, I must say, and I had "What the world needs now is love, sweet love..." going on through my head all day, which is a nice soundtrack to have to life.

  3. Awww, you and these scrumptious cookies both look as cute as a button! (Or should I say in this instance, a chocolate button! :)) I've always, always adored the taste of maraschino cherries. Growing up they usually only appeared in Christmas baking and perhaps once in a while as a rare treat if we were having ice cream sundaes at home. As soon as I started living on my own, I made sure to have a jar in the cupboard (or fridge, if open) all year round, so that I could always satisfy a maraschino cherry craving if it hit. :)

    ♥ Jessica

    1. Thank you, lovely lady! And isn't it funny, that moment as an adult when you realise those things which were always a treat as a child are actually readily available and there's no reason you can't have them in your cupboard all the time? I like having things seasonally, and I'm a big advocate of only eating holiday foods when it's the right time (no hot-cross buns before Good Friday, for example) but it is nice being an adult and being able to pick the treats you always keep in your cupboard!