We all show our love in different ways. A dinner date. A home cooked meal. Something sweet. Something sexy. Clean laundry. A well stocked fridge. A bottle of wine. A rum punch. A simple card with or without chocolates, flowers and jewelry. These are all just some of the ways around this time of year. Usually anything is better than nothing. I have been privy to and guilty of both. Sometimes the expectation around Valentine’s Day can make us feel a bit forced. Like we are supposed to be more loving than we normally are the other 364 days. The Beatles sang it the simplest way possible… “All you need is love”.
You know what could possibly be better than roses on Valentine’s Day? Rosewater cookies. It’s like getting your roses and eating them too. Hard to put into words really. The smell is hypnotic and the taste is ever so delicate. It’s like shortbread got into bed with a bunch of roses. Yes, loverly indeed.
A little backstory about rosewater. The first time I smelled rosewater essence I was a kid in Nana’s kitchen in Barbados. I had never smelled anything as beautiful as this. It imprinted in my brain immediately. So last year when I saw on a morning show that a touch of rosewater in a glass of Prosceco was divine, I knew I had to pick up a bottle. Not only did I try this, (it was lovely) but it got me thinking about how I could introduce it into my baking.
There is a 3:1 ratio difference between rosewater and rosewater essence. The two are not the same. That’s because rosewater essence is concentrated. So the equivalent for 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) of rosewater that this recipe calls for would be to use 1 teaspoon of rosewater essence (5 ml). To keep the consistency of the batter (if you do use essence), is to adjust the recipe by adding enough water to make it up to 1 Tablespoon. My recipe uses Arz brand rosewater that I picked up from my local Real Canadian Superstore.
“Loverly Rosewater Cookies” by loopylocks
Makes about 7 dozen (cookie press) cookies
1 1/2 C butter, softened
1 C white (granulated) sugar
1 large egg
1 T rosewater (or 1 tsp of rosewater essence and water to make up 1 T)
1 T milk (I used 2%)
3 1/2 C flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (optional)*
For the topping:
coloured sugar crystals (optional)
*I prefer salted butter because I think it brings out the flavour better in baking. Adding salt to the cookies is optional, especially if you use unsalted butter.
Set the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a separate bowl, stir all the dry ingredients together – flour, salt (optional) and baking powder. You can sift them if you prefer. I buy pre-sifted all purpose flour so I usually skip this step.
Soften butter in the microwave to room temperature if taking from the fridge. To do this, I cube the butter on a microwave safe plate and put on 30% power for 2 minutes. Scrape into a stand mixer. Using the flat paddle attachment mix butter and sugar on medium/high until light, creamy and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the egg, milk and rosewater, mixing well until smooth on medium/high speed.
Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet mixture using Stir speed until the batter is combined and no dry spots remain. Use a spatula to scrape the bowl if needed to make sure all the crumbly spots are well combined.
The consistency should be like Playdoh when you shape the dough into a log to fill the press. If you find it too soft for your press, put the bowl in the fridge for 5-10 minutes and give it another try. The butter will harden so that it is easier to manage. If you find that the batter is too dry or crumbly, you can add another 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of milk but please no more. You will be surprised how the dough melds together once you get your hands on it (as if you are actually playing with real Playdoh). It should look like this.
Using your cookie press, squeeze dough through the heart shaped disc onto an ungreased baking sheet. I get about 15 hearts per sheet. Truthfully, each time I use my press, the first 3 to 5 hearts do not come out well until the air in the chamber is squeezed out and the dough is compressed properly. Don’t be discouraged, that’s normal. Just grab them off the sheet and put them back with the batter for another round. Before you put them to bake, add a sprinkling of some pretty pink sugar and you have yourself the perfect recipe for love.
Bake for 10 – 12 minutes until the edges are slightly brown as you see here. If you bake two sheets at the same time, your bottom sheet will be ready first. Take that one out and switch the top sheet to the lower rack while you are removing the first set to a cooling rack with a fine edged spatula. Remove the second tray that should be ready now. Cool completely before storing. They also freeze very well.
Baking Tip – I like to wipe and cool the baking sheets with a paper towel between batches. In the winter this takes no time as I rest them either out on a ledge in my backyard or stand them between my back door and the screen where it is always freezing! It makes using the press easier. When the weather is warm, I tend to bake one tray at a time while I am cooling and reloading the second tray. Do what works best for you.
Enjoy and remember to share your love!