Valentine "Kisses"

It's almost Valentine's Day!  I love this little holiday because I adore all the hearts, the pink & red, the treats, the chocolate, and symbols of love.  We can all use more expressions of love and we can all appreciate a little sweet treat!  
I've been in the Valentine spirit and trying to spread a little of it through food.  These cookies are an example of that.  I'm calling them "Valentine Kisses" - essentially, they're soft chocolate cookies with a Hershey's Kiss on top.  I first saw this recipe as rainbow kiss cookies from Sally of Sally's Baking Addiction; I spotted them around Christmas and the colorful nonpareil sprinkles caught my eye and I haven't stopped thinking about them.  
Since I didn't get a chance to make them over Christmas, I thought I'd make them as a Valentine treat, and simply swapped the rainbow nonpareil sprinkles with pink-and-white ones.  You can easily customize these cookies for any holiday/occasion.  Sprinkles are versatile and always, always smile-inducing!  These cookies are not only fun to look at but really tasty.  They are soft and a little fudgy inside, packed with plenty of deep chocolate flavor.  The little chocolate Kiss on top makes the cookies what they are (and they are so cute to look at) but they're frankly equally good without it.  You'd just have to rename them from "kisses" to "bon bons" or something.
I could not resist making them in their original rainbow version as well.  They really make me smile!
Whatever sprinkles you roll these kiss cookies in, I think they're bound to make you smile and remind you of the joy of chocolate (not that anyone needs a reminder of that)!


The cookie dough can be mixed up a few days in advance, stored in the fridge, and ready to be rolled into balls, dunked into sprinkles, and baked!  In this recipe, cocoa provides the deep chocolate flavor; I used dutch-processed cocoa, which gives it that dark color.
I made the dough a day ahead.  When it comes time to bake, take it out of the fridge and let the dough come up to room temperature so it isn't too firm.  I scooped about 1 tablespoon worth of dough per cookie.  Roll it in your palm to form a ball.  They look so festive dressed in their sprinkle finery.  
After baking (it only takes 9-10 minutes; avoid over-baking so the cookies are nice and soft, slightly fudgy inside), the cookies spread just slightly.  Let them cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then press a chocolate Kiss on top.
Aren't they cute?  
It's always fun to play with sprinkles though you might find random sprinkles around your kitchen for a few days afterwards.  If you have trouble deciding what kind of sprinkles to use for these cookies, it might be a good idea to mix it up and use a variety.  To my mind, the more variety the better, the more sprinkles the better!

In addition to these cookies, I've made a few other treats in the spirit of Valentine's Day.  For starters, I tried (yet another) macaron recipe.  This one had a twist that involved mixing the meringue into the dry ingredients instead of the other way around.  Sadly, it didn't work out very well.  Most of them had cracked shells but luckily, they were still delicious!
I also dipped some mini pretzel sticks in chocolate and again...more sprinkles!
Plus, I whipped up some chocolate Rice Krispies treats.  I usually use Martha Stewart's recipe but this time I tried the one from Dessert for Two.  Needless to say, there were more sprinkles involved!
It's been fun making these chocolate treats for Valentine's Day.  I packed a lot of it up to share with family and friends to spread a little love around.  Hope your Valentine's day is sweet and happy - all the better if there's chocolate and sprinkles involved!

Recipe

Valentine "Kisses"
Recipe from Sally McKenney (Sally's Baking Addiction)

- For approximately 24 cookies - 

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Dutch-processed)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup nonpareil sprinkles (or sprinkles; you can customize to your liking)
24 Hershey's Kisses, unwrapped

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking mats.  If baking immediately, preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks positioned in the upper and lower thirds.

Whisk flour, cocoa, and salt together in a bowl.  Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, beat butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.  Beat on high until combined, about 1 minute.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, beating again to incorporate.  On low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  (You can cover the dough and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days; bring to room temperature before proceeding.)

Place nonpareil sprinkles into a bowl.  Shape about 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball using your hands and place onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart.  

Bake for 9-10 minutes, until cookies are set (avoid over-baking), rotating the baking sheets midway.  Remove baking sheets from the oven, let cool for 2 minutes, then press a Hershey's Kiss on top of each cookie.  Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 1 week.  




14 comments:

  1. Your cookies are adorable and chocolate is always a great idea. Your macarons look perfect - and so pretty. I love the Italian method and have a macaron recipe to share later this week. The feet are lovely! Have a wonderful week Monica.

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    1. I can't wait to check out your macaron recipe, Tricia. I also think the Italian method is the way to go but I still like the French method for ease and this recipe I experimented with was on a smaller scale. It didn't work well but we managed to devour them anyhow. : ) Hope you have a lovely V-day!

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  2. Absolutely beautiful and festive with those sprinkles and Kisses :-))

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  3. You Know, Monica, I am enthusiastically nodding my head about every smile-inducing, sprinkle loving word you wrote! What smile-filled, love-filled, festive cookies!! Soft fudgy centers also got my attention. :) One suggestion: I rarely find sprinkles on my floor. Get a dog. ;)

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    1. haha - I love that! I know you share my love of sprinkles and you take decorating treats to new heights. I do love these colorful festive expressions of love. : ) And so funny about the perks of having a dog!

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  4. Chocolate euphoria! One bite and the world would be a much better place. These are so cute and fun to bring to school for the kids or to functions.

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    1. I remember the days (way back when) when treats were allowed in school. Loved that!

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  5. These are so pretty! I'm not sure I could stop at just one of these!

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    1. Oh, at least 2-3 per sitting! That's why I made some sans the chocolate Kiss on top. ; )

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  6. What a beautiful sprinkles galore! I love all the things you made. Absolutely adorable.

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    1. Thanks, Sonali. Sprinkles are fun. : )

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  7. These kisses definitely made me smile! They look SO pretty and perfect for any Valentine! Love all the other yummy treats you made too! Hope you had a great Valentine's Day and a very Happy Chinese New Year to you and your sweet family too! <3

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    1. Thanks, Kelly! Enjoy Chinese New Year and the long weekend! : )

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