Sunday, February 5, 2012

Valentine's Day Sugar Cookies + Chocolate Bark

Creativity, conversation, food bloggers and a beautiful day outside made for great fun yesterday. Patty from Patty’s Food invited a few Bay Area Food Bloggers to gather at her house for a valentine cooking baking and decorating day. She lives about an hour away from me and with the weather a tad chilly but the sun shining brite, the time passed quickly; especially with Pandora streaming at a moderate to loud volume all the way over. Okay rather loud. Big grin.

Patty is an extremely gracious host and her home felt like our own homes the moment she greeted us at the door. Sparkling water and a lovely boutique chardonnay, were offered within minutes of gathering around the spacious kitchen island. Gina from Spcookiequeen brought a lot of the decorations and special valentine touches for us to enjoy. Her daughter joined us in the fun and is quite the cookie decorating artist.

{Patty and me}

{ Gina with her lovely daughter }
Stephanie from Baking Barrister joined in the festivities along with Bonnie from Bonnibella, who I had not met until today. We had a fun day of catching up, talking about blogging, photography, food and laughing. Gosh – what else would a bunch of food bloggers discuss – just saying. Smile. A few other bloogers were unfortunately unable to attend due to prior engagements, but please know you all were certainly missed.

What would a food blogger get together be with out great food? It certainly would not be complete. Luckily for all of us, that was not the case. Wonderful food abounded and it was hard to not over eat my ample share of these goodies. Stephanie wowed us with her Leek confit on toasted crostini’s with goat cheese. Gina make homemade Blood Orange Jam that was too die for and to bring it to the next level she made myer lemon cake to spread the delish jam on top. Patty made a Point Reyes Original Blue, Apple and Walnut Quiche, which I must confess that I enjoyed two slices. Bonni brough firecracker shimp with a wonderful dipping sauce. I made my Stilton and Walnut Palmiers, which were so fragrant in my car and was so tempted to eat one along the way, but refrained.

In addition to the tasty and beautiful cookies, Gina brought the ingredients for valentines day mulit-chocolate bark. So simple to make. Over two double boilers, melt dark chocolate in one and milk chocolate in the other. She used the one pound chocolate bars from Trader Joes. Once melted, add the milk chocolate first in a baking sheet pan and then the dark chocolate and swirl a bit to intertwine the colors. Decorate with various sprinkles and candies on top. Let cool in a freezer until hard. Dump onto a hard surface and break into desired sizes.

Once the cookies were cool enough to frost and decorate, the creativity was bouncing off the walls along with much laughter. Some cookies were small, others large and yet others with sticks attached. Little letters were cut out to attach along with a great selection of sparkely sprinkles that Gina graciously shared. I provided the royal frosting recipe compliments of the wonderful Martha Stewart and the cookie recipe was from Gina – love the hint of almond extract in the cookies. All in all a great way to spend a Saturday – foodie friends, great food and fun conversation.

{Clockwise from the top: (1) Gina (2) Stephanie (3) me with my finished cookie pops (4) Bonnie, Patty and Stephanie taking photos

Sugar Cookies
(Recipe from Gina at SPCookiequeen)

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. almond extract

Beat the butter until softened, add sugar, egg, flour, salt and almond extract and mix until combined. Chill dough for 1-2 hours. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface until it's 1/4-inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out the dough and place the cookies 2-inches apart onto cookie sheets lined with parchment or silpats.

Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 7-9 minutes.

Royal Icing
(Recipe from Martha Stewart)

2 pounds confectioners' sugar
2/3 cup water, plus more if needed
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons meringue powder
Gel-paste food coloring (optional)

Beat sugar, water, and meringue powder with a mixer on low speed until smooth. (If icing is too thick, slowly add more water, beating to desired consistency. If icing is too thin, continue beating for 2 to 3 minutes more.) Add food coloring if desired, a drop at a time, until desired color is reached; if making more than 1 color, divide icing and work in batches. Icing can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Please stop by Gina, Patty and Bonni's blogs to see their posts all about our fun day together!


  1. How funny I was editing photos when I saw this and dropped what I was doing, lol. It was so much fun and your palmiers were amazing, wish I had grabbed a couple for the road. Can you believe I made more of that jam this afternoon? Your styling was a help for me to watch, you have such a great eye. Looking foward to doing it again soon. Hope you enjoyed the rest of your weekend.

  2. wow...looks sooooooooooper cute...excellent preparation..;)
    Tasty Appetite

  3. You guys baked so much great stuff. I'm really sorry I missed all the fun--would have loved to catch up with everyone. Thanks for the recap, Lisa. Will have to make sure not to miss next time!

  4. Oh my but the food looks scrumptious here! And these sugar cookies are so adorable and perfect for valentines day!

  5. Oh the fun! I'm still so bummed I missed this, know I was thinking of you guys as I was running around attending to my boring stuff this weekend. Next time for sure :)

  6. It was so nice to meet you Lisa. The palmiers were delicious. Can't wait to do it again. I have a great photo of you taking a pic of the final results. I'll have the post up soon.

  7. Hey Lisa! I enjoyed our baking day and finally posted my 'hot of the press' piece this morning on our adventures in my kitchen! You snapped some great photos and I love your lettering, very sweet;-)

  8. What a fun baking party! I love esp. the KISS and HUG cookies. So adorable.

  9. What a fantastic day you all must have had. I have to laugh. I never seem to leave your blog empty handed and I really love to visit here. Those cookies will be moving from your kitchen to mine before the day is out.I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  10. That looks like such a fun day! Makes me wish I had some blogging friends nearby. The treats y'all made are so cute- I love the cookie pops! The food looks delicious too. What fun! :)

  11. Oh! Looks like the gathering was tasty and fun! I'm not a good cookie decorator...but these cookies and treats inspire me to want to be better. Very nice captures/images of the fun day. :)

  12. Hi Lisa,
    These valentine day cookies are so pretty and wonderful. Kiss and hug cookies are the perfect idea for valentine day.
    Thanks for sharing..


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