As I’ve had many disastrous Valentines Days over the past two decades you would think I would treat the 14th of February with some sort of trepidation. But no, I continue to optimistically look forward to it, particularly since the children have been old enough to join in the fun.
I am not sure if it was one too many years of not receiving an abundance of cards on the 14th of February, that led me to sweet talk a good friend in our first year at uni to hand make in the region of 20 Valentines Day cards, or whether it was in fact just sheer boredom. With only 8 hours of lectures and seminars a week to attend and the college bar inconveniently not opening until lunchtime, my friend didn’t take much persuading to be my accomplice. So we set about folding the card, cutting out hearts and writing a few poetic lines before waking early on Valentines morning to push the cards under the doors of all the guys who had the good fortune to share the same corridor as us in the halls we resided. Our intention, hand on heart, was to make the recipients smile. They were meant to know they were from us and that they were sent with affection but nothing more. There was much merriment and banter as people arrived for breakfast that morning but imagine our horror when several people arrived at breakfast brandishing their cards with a look of utter joy. The moment soon turned sour when they realised that the cards were in fact mass produced and not sent in adoration merely in dare I admit to it…. jest.
You’d have thought I’d have learnt my lesson long ago not to send multiple Valentines but I really do think Valentines Day should be special for all. So with this thought in mind last year, and with Giddy Girl asleep in her cot, Bonkers Boy and I set about baking a batch of heart shaped biscuits to distribute to our elderly neighbours. We packaged them up and in true Valentines Day tradition delivered them on our chosen recipients’ doorsteps anonymously. You cannot imagine my joy when at 6 o’clock that night I received a phone call from one of the neighbours to ask if it was my children who’d delivered the delicious biscuits. I felt duty bound to confess. At 82, it was the first Valentine that our friend had ever received. She was utterly delighted.
If you fancy making someones Valentines Day, why not try out the recipe below.
Cherry Bakewell Jammy Dodgers
140g caster sugar
The yolk from an egg
2 tsp of almond extract
300g plain flour
juice from a lemon
Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas Mark 4
Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper
Beat the butter and sugar together, adding the egg yolk and almond extract.
Sieve the flour into the mixture
Stir to combine
Roll out onto a floured surface and cut into approximately 32 hearts
Pop onto the lined baking tray and put into the oven until the biscuits have turned golden (approximately 15 minutes.)
Spread one half of the biscuits with cherry jam
Make up some glace icing by mixing the sieved icing sugar with the juice from the lemon. Initially make the icing very stiff so that you can pipe a thin outline around the edge of your biscuit (this ensures the icing doesn’t drip over the edge)
Once this is done add a little more lemon juice to the icing mix to loosen the mixture and very carefully spread it inside the icing heart outline
Finally sandwich the biscuits together (so the jam is in the middle of the biscuit and the icing is on the top)
It’s up to you whether you share them or just enjoy them yourself.