Romantic Eats: Iced Sugar Cookies and Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

The word “romantic” holds different meanings for different people. Maybe it’s a long walk on the beach in the company of a man named Fabio (complete with untamed mane and Sasquatch-sized hands). Or perhaps it’s watching the original Star Wars trilogy with your honey while donning matching Snuggies. If you’re a real academic stick in the mud, maybe the only relevance it holds to you is that it’s an artistic and intellectual movement that sprang to life in the 1800s as a quixotic response to neoclassicism.

The point is, its meaning is open to interpretation. Sure, there are social and cultural constructs that help fit “romantic” into a rose petal-laden heart-shaped box, but as the old saying goes, “one [wo]man’s 50 Shades of Gray is another [wo]man’s horse head scene from the Godfather.”

Despite their philosophical differences, the strawberries and champagne types and the scroogiest of scrooges can agree on one thing: the right food can melt even the coldest of hearts into a puddle of starry-eyed love.

Early scientific studies show that these carefully concocted recipes may dramatically reduce divorce rates while simultaneously upping your chances of a lifetime of being lucky in love. So, unless you’ve settled into the idea of growing up to be a haggard old spinster, you ought to turn your oven on and get baking– your love life depends on it.

Iced Sugar Cookies

Iced Sugar Cookies

For the cookies (makes 2-3 dozen, depending on shape and size):

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter, softened (NOT melted)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tablespoon lemon zest (slightly less than 1 lemon)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

For the icing:

2 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 to 4 Tablespoons whole milk (plus more for consistency)
Food coloring (optional)

Who says nights like these need to be limited to Valentine's, birthdays, and anniversaries?

Who says nights like these need to be limited to Valentine’s, birthdays, and anniversaries?

For the cookies–

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper

2. Cream together butter and sugars in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy

3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each

4. Add vanilla and almond extracts and mix

5. Add lemon zest and mix

6. Add baking powder, salt, and half of the flour, mix well

7. Add remaining half of flour and mix until fully incorporated

8. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour (otherwise it will be too soft to work with)

9. Dust counter with powdered sugar (or flour, but I prefer the sugar for a little extra zing of sweetness) and roll out dough with a rolling pin

10. Use cookie cutters to cut rolled dough into shapes and carefully lift onto parchment-lined baking sheet

11. Bake for 7-8 minutes (they won’t turn golden brown on top, but trust me, they’re done!)

12. Allow cookies to cool completely on a wire rack

For the icing–

1. Mix powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup and food coloring together with a hand-held beater

2. Slowly add more milk until desired consistency is reached

3. Spread onto cookies (this icing tends to flow and expand a bit, so you’ll find you won’t need as much as you think!)

4. Let harden before storing cookies

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

1 pound fresh strawberries (remember, bigger doesn’t always mean better)
8 ounces (1 block) cream cheese (full fat!)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

1. First things first: rinse and dry berries well

2. Using a paring knife, carefully cut off the tops of the berries and hull out their centers (you can cut a small piece of the bottoms as well, if you’d like them to stand upright)

Ready to get stuffed...

Ready to get stuffed…

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, vanilla, and powdered sugar and until smooth

4. Spoon cheesecake mixture into a piping bag and pipe into each strawberry

5. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs and serve (or refrigerate until serving)

Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

Works great with raspberries, too!

Works great with raspberries, too!

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2 Responses to Romantic Eats: Iced Sugar Cookies and Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

  1. It’s really no secret that I snagged my last boyfriend with my cooking. I sealed the deal with some cutout heart cookies, too. 😉

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