Valentine’s Day weekend is one of my favorite times at the Carolina Bed & Breakfast. Winter is our down time, guests are few and the weather often keeps us inside. Valentine’s Day is a welcome break: the house fills up and I am delighted to be able to create special treats for those who visit us. One of favorites are these Sweetheart Cookies and, for those of you unable to join us, the recipe appears at the end of this post. But first a quick word about some of the fun things happening here in Asheville, North Carolina this weekend.
Valentine’s Day is for lovers, so the Grove Arcade has prepared a special treat. The building was opened in 1929 and in the style of the day, the exterior was decorated with stone faces and friezes. Next time you are there, take a minute to look up and you will enjoy the beautiful heart tracery on the building. And if you happened to be there on Saturday, February 12 at 4 PM you might want to enter the building and join the festivities inside. The merchants of the Grove Arcade have invited anyone who wants to renew his or her vows with their partner to a special ceremony in the atrium of the building. Afterward, those who are old enough can enjoy a free champagne toast. And while you are at it, you might find a memento of the occasion in one of the many unique shops in the Arcade.
Valentine’s Day is for lovers which sometimes frustrates those who are feeling a little sour on the whole occasion. Never fear! Here in Asheville we have our own “Anti-Valentine’s Day Event” planned: a flash mob! So far more than 1,050 people have signaled their intent to gather at the Vance Monument downtown for a giant pillow fight. It’s scheduled to happen around 5:30PM. If you go, please don’t bring a feather pillow (hard to clean up) and don’t be obvious (this is suppose to be a flash mob!). And these things usually happen quickly so be there on time!
Now to those cookies:
1 egg, lightly beatened
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup raspberry jam
1 tsp Grand Marnier (optional)
1. Combine flour, oats, lemon rind, baking soda and salt; mix well. In a separate bowl beat together butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in the oat mixture. Mix well. Cover and chill at least one hour.
2. Preheat oven to 350f. Divide dough into quarters. Work with one quarter at a time, keeping the rest refrigerated. Roll dough on lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into heart shaped cookies. ( If you want the red jam to show through, cut a heart shape out of the center of half of the cookies) . Bake on a ungreased cookie sheet until lightly golden brown, 8-10 minutes. Cool for one minute and then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
3. Assemble the cookies: mix together raspberry jam and Grand Marnier (if using). Spread jam on the bottom side of one cookie and then top with a second cookie face-side up. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. If you are using a cut-out cookie, spread jam on the whole cookie, sprinkle the cut-out with powdered sugar and then assemble. Serve within one day or freeze until needed. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen.