Now I’ll be the first to admit I’m no baker! My Mum, she’s got the gift, she can throw anything into a bowl and as if by magic a tall, delicious sponge cake appears, elegantly decorated with fruit and the lightest dusting of icing sugar. Turns out this is not a hereditary trait or if it is, it passed me by.
The first time I ever enjoyed baking (after many failed attempts) was working in school. My friend and colleague in Reception at the time, put me on the rota to bake. I protested explaining of my curse and inability to make even the simplest of cakes, she was having none of it. She put it in simple terms, it’s not about what comes out of the oven, it’s about the process, all the maths, following instructions, motor skills – the baked goods at the end are just an added bonus. Plus who is going to complain if the kids have made it?!
Well, she was right. When I stopped worrying about what it would turn out like I, along with the Reception children enjoyed the process. What we came out with also ended up being edible, win win!
With this in mind, Squidge and I bake fairly regularly at home. Not quite once a week, but pretty close. We stick to simple biscuits and fairy cakes mostly. Her favourite thing we’ve ever made has been gingerbread men, and one of her favourite things to eat is Strawberry jam. This sparked my Valentine’s Biscuit idea.
We adapted a simple recipe, I’ll add ours to the bottom of this post. As this was my own grand plan, there was some learning to be done about the best method along the way.
When we had cut out our biscuit people, we tried cutting the love heart out of the middle and then transferring them to the tray, but they were far too flimsy and ended up being a funny shape or getting broken. Instead we tried cutting out the biscuit people, transferring them to the tray then cutting out the heart shapes. This worked much better – though they still weren’t perfect. If you were doing this alone as an adult you could keep cooling your dough. However with children, once they’re stuck in, their warm little fingers aren’t going to want to wait.
We baked our Valentines people in batches and paired up the tops and bottoms that were closest in shape – the last couple were way off and sadly missed out on the photo opportunity – but were just as tasty.
Squidge spread the strawberry jam carefully on the bottom halves and sandwiched them together. Once we were finished both her and Boo couldn’t wait to dig in. Admittedly these biscuits were HUGE, with them paired up and stacked, they would equate to a meal on their own! But, just look how pretty they are. They would make a lovely gift for Grandparents (if you don’t eat them all yourselves!).
Our Valentine’s Buscuit recipe…
- 200g unsalted butter, softened
- 350g caster sugar (plus some for decorating)
- 2 large eggs
- 1.5 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 400g plain flour (plus some for dusting and rolling)
- Strawberry jam to fill
- Cream butter and sugar together in a bowl.
- Add the two eggs and cinnamon and beat together.
- Add the flour in small doses, mixing thoroughly.
- Once mixed put the dough into the fridge to cool and stiffen for 15 minutes.
- Cut out biscuit person, add to baking sheet on the tray.
- Cut out a heart shape from the centre of half of your biscuits (the tops).
- Return to the fridge to cool and stiffen for another 10-15 minutes.
- Pre-heat oven 180*C (Ours is a fan).
- Cook the biscuits for around 12 minutes – sprinkling them with caster sugar about half way in (so it doesn’t brown, but still sticks).
- Once cooled, spread strawberry jam on bottom biscuit people and place tops on top.
This recipe made us 6 complete biscuits (6 tops and 6 bottoms with our largest gingerbread man cutter), plus some small heart shaped biscuits out of the leftovers.
Are you making any treats this Valentine’s or do you have any recipes we can try? Please share in the comments below.
Lots of love (and a bit extra as it’s Valentine’s),
Cat, Squidge and Boo xxx
Another Valentine’s themed activity you might like is our Sensory Tub.