The DIY Valentine’s Day Gift I’m Making for Everyone This Year

It’s quick, simple, and practically impossible to mess up.

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I know everyone else went through the baking phase of quarantine a while ago, but something about the extra snow we’ve gotten this winter has me in a baking mood. Whenever I bake, my move is to save one or two for myself and send the rest off to whoever is nearby so I get my fix of something sweet while also spreading some love to friends and family. Gifting homemade treats has been my way of staying connected over the past year and feels especially nice on Valentine’s Day.

For the past few years, I’ve thought about making linzers for my husband for Valentine’s Day — no one loves these cookies quite like he does — but I always end up bailing at the last minute and picking up something store-bought because it felt like too much of a commitment that I wasn’t sure would even work. (Anyone else have an irrational fear of cookie cutters? Just me?)

This time around I was able to finally commit because I had Dan Langan’s guidance every step of the way in his Food Network Kitchen class. He explains that because this dough doesn’t have a ton of moisture in it, there’s no chill time needed, the cookies won’t spread as they bake and, it gives you the ability to re-roll the dough multiple times and leave none to waste. This was a game-changer for me, as I’ve had a set of star-shaped cookie cutters that I bought several years ago with the idea of making linzers, but chickened out at the thought of smushy, sad star cookies.

Dan explained that you could pretty much use any cookie cutter shape that you wanted, except for something super skinny and delicate, like a palm tree, that wouldn’t allow enough space for the jam window. He even suggested mixing and matching shapes if you don’t have a set of cookie cutters.

With a short list of ingredients that I already had at home (Dan says you can sub out the almond flour for 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour), I successfully made gorgeous cookie-cutter linzer sandwich cookies. I was so surprised at how simple and resilient linzer dough could be — I re-rolled probably four times and couldn’t tell the difference between the first roll and the last — and had no smushy cookies, just perfect stars.

These are so quick, too. I was able to watch the class and make these in between cooking dinner on a weeknight, which feels like a huge win in itself. But I tasted the cookies, quality control of course, and confirmed my suspicions, they’re super decadent, yet delicate, because you can roll the dough so thin. Now all that’s left to do is pack up the rest and spread some love. Have a sweet Valentine's Day, all.

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