Taking Valentine cookies

It started back in Valleyview Kindergarten: taking Valentine cookies, my mom’s special recipe, to school.  I took them in to every school I went to: Douglas Road; North Oyster; high school; college, university. At some point I should have been too old to take Valentine cookies to school or to work, but no. I only ever remember one person refusing them: someone in my 4th year poetry workshop who “never ate anything pink.”

They aren’t a delicate, pretty type of cookie: more robust, a bit of crunch, so very satisfying. Not too fancy, not too sweet (well, a little bit sweet).


The flour in Ireland is different than what you get in Canada, as I eventually realised. It seems you just can’t beat the good strong wheat grown on the Canadian prairies. I adapt my North American recipes by decreasing the liquid by about 1/3. Occasionally I need to add the full amount, but I go by how the batter or dough looks. This time, I used 3 tablespoons of water, rather than the 4 that would be in a quarter cup. I also usually reduce sugar by a third, or a quarter, or whatever.

I didn’t pre-sift my flour (please don’t tell my mom).


My vanilla is homemade: vodka and vanilla pods, that gets topped up and shaken regularly.

You’ll need to work those rolled oats (same as porridge oats – don’t use instant oatmeal) in with a wooden spoon. DSC_1257

The dough is sticky and you can’t really work it into a ball before chilling but it will be fine and easy for rolling out.

All rolled out and ready to go.


They are still pretty pale – and interesting – when done. Edges should be barely browned.

Adding icing sugar is the best time to use a shield on your mixer.


Many recipes from this side of the world make 20 cookies. Why would anyone go to all that trouble to make 20 cookies? This recipe says it makes 6 dozen, and this was a 76 cookie batch. I used 3 sizes of cutters: 4.5 cm, 6 cm and 6.5 cm.

Valentine Cookies

2/3 c soft butter

1 c sugar

1 egg

1/4 c water

1 tsp vanilla

2 1/4 c sifted flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 c rolled oats

Beat butter until creamy, beat in sugar gradually. Blend in egg, water, and vanilla. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda. Add to butter mixture, blending well. Stir in rolled oats. Chill dough 1 hr. Roll out chilled dough on floured board to 1/8″ thickness. Cut out with heart shaped cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350/180 about 12 min, until golden brown. Ice when cool. 6 dozen


Cream 1/3 c soft butter with dash salt and 1 c icing sugar, until light and fluffy. Add about 2 c more icing sugar alternately with about 4 Tbsp cream, beating until smooth. Add 1 tsp vanilla. Set aside some icing for trimming, tint rest with red food colouring.




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