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My Favorite Valentine Cookie Recipe

Vienna, Coffee Capital of the World, was the birthplace of our friendship. 

Though we were first introduced at our training in 1972, we became friends in this Austrian center of culture that was once home to Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Strauss. Our taste in decorating, our love of family, and our commitment to Eastern Europe bound our hearts together in an uncommon way. It would be decades before we actually lived in the same city, but in the interim, our friendship reached across international boundaries.

Never ones to miss a good deal, we thought nothing of digging knee-deep through a pile of discarded bottles in Budapest in hopes of resurrecting a tossed treasure. Why, we even moved a piano together one Saturday afternoon, just the two of us! 

Pranks hold a special place in this relationship. I’ll never forget, under the cover of darkness, depositing a large, black, raunchy, furry animal skin at her front door, ringing the doorbell, and running away. No, we weren’t teenagers; we were just in a season of trying to raise them.

But this is about a recipe. Diane was coming by for us to drive to a wicker basket outlet, and I wanted to celebrate life, friendship, and yes, Valentine’s Day. This called for cups of tea in travel mugs and Valentine cookies on festive napkins. Not just any cookie would do. This called for the BEST. 

                                            Shortbread Hearts
                                      The Silver Palate Cookbook



¾ pound (3 sticks) sweet butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 cups unbleached all purpose flour, sifted
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ granulated sugar


1.     Cream butter and confectioners’ sugar together until light.
2.    Sift flour and salt together and add to creamed mixture. Add vanilla and blend thoroughly.
3.    Gather dough into a ball, wrap in wax paper, and chill for 4 to 6 hours.
4.    Roll out chilled dough to 5/8-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch-long heart-shaped cookie cutter cut out cookies. Sprinkle tops with granulated sugar. Place cut-out cookies on ungreased cookie sheets and refrigerate for 45 minutes before baking.
5.    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
6.    Bake for 20 minutes, or until just starting to color lightly; cookies should not brown at all. Cool on a rack.
20 Cookies

Debby’s Note: The ingredients are simple; the instructions are essential.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Make a memory by sharing these with someone special.