Be Mine, Valentine

This is the year where Valentine’s Day changes for our family. Before now, there were Valentine’s given to one another, maybe to grandparents and a few close friends — this year, since little Emma is in nursery school, all of her classmates, teachers, playdate friends have all been selected to receive Valentines. Although it is very sweet, it has been a bit of effort to get those cards and treats ready in time for delivery on the big day. (We’re still working through signatures on them today so they’ll be ready for school tomorrow morning. Oh dear!)

For some of her Valentines, to stick with our homemade gift-giving plans, we decided to bake a treat I remember from when I was a child. My mom used to make almond shortbread cookies wrapped around a Hershey Kiss.  What a delightful surprise each bite was! I had a feeling, Emma would love these (minus the nuts, of course).

The original recipe is from an old Hershey’s cookbook called Hershey’s Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook and is called Secret Kiss Cookies. After eating many batches of these growing up, I took a few liberties in our rendition of them – eliminated the nuts, used both milk and dark chocolate chunks rather than Hershey Kisses and played a bit with how to cool the dough to ready it for rolling and baking. One of the major changes I made is to substitute in some whole wheat flour to help add back some of the texture and nutty taste that wouldn’t be there since I was not going to include ground/chopped nuts in the cookie dough. I got the inspiration for that substitution from Molly Wizenberg on Orangette. She posted a cookie recipe awhile back that used whole wheat flour. When I made them – wow – they were almost like digestives and they turned out to be incredibly flavourful.

The results were divine – and Emma and G have both been gobbling them up since I made them. (I’m on “Family Holdback” – a phrase my mother-in-law told me she used to use with the family when they had company, and they wanted to make sure that something that may have been in short supply would be available for guests.) I’m hopeful we have enough for our deliveries tomorrow!

I happened to make these for Valentine’s Day but they are really lovely anytime – we used to have them at Christmas and Easter too. They are really quick to make and you should find you have the ingredients at home for whenever the mood strikes.

Secret (Chocolate) Surprise Cookies
inspired by: Hershey’s Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook, Secret Kiss Cookies
(Makes 30-36)

Secret Surprise Cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chunks, in 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks, in 1/2″ cubes
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar (optional)

Beat butter, granulated sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the flours and mix on low speed until well-blended.  Divide the dough into 2 balls, wrap them each tightly in plastic wrap and place into freezer for 10-15 minutes.

While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 375F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. If your chocolate isn’t chopped, this is a good time to do it. Use the chocolate you like best – it makes a big difference in the flavour of your cookie.

Pull the dough from the freezer and put one into the fridge.  Open the other ball of dough and shape a small piece of dough around a piece of chocolate.  Make sure that the chocolate piece is completely covered.  Place on to cookie sheet and repeat until the ball of dough is used up.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until cookies are set but not brown (the bottom edges might be slightly golden). Cool for 5 minutes on cookie sheet and then remove cookies to cool on a wire rack.

While slightly warm, dip each cookie in icing sugar if desired. Enjoy!

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