Love is in the air. Love for cookies that is. On one of the days when the Prednisone was causing me to whiz around at the speed of light, I came up with these Love at First Bite Butter Cookies. I got it into my head to try pulverizing one type of cookie to make another type of cookie. Confused? I’ll explain.
When I was little, I loved chocolate and strawberry wafer cookies. I love them now too, but I never buy them. They belong firmly in my mind as a well loved childhood snack. But for some reason, I fixated on using finely ground chocolate wafer cookies in cookie dough and strawberry wafer cookies in frosting (providing both a hint of strawberry flavor and the pink color). The next step was to decide what kind of cookie to make. Valentine’s Day cookies are most often butter cookies, because you can cut them into heart shapes and decorate them with frosting and sprinkles.
Butter cookies are awesome too because they are more forgiving to experimentation. They are unleavened (without baking soda or baking powder) so there’s no need to worry about chemistry. All you have to get right is the ratio of butter, flour, and sugar, which can mostly be done by feel (kind of like pie crusts and bread).
In summary: [ground chocolate wafer cookies + some variation of butter cookie] + [ground strawberry wafer cookies + simple powdered sugar butter frosting] = awesome Valentine’s Day seasonal cookie.
Voortman’s was the only brand at my local watering hole that had both chocolate and strawberry wafer cookies so it got chosen by default. However, I do think it’s the brand I remember from childhood, so I did experience some nostalgia munching on them. I used their Sugar Free Chocolate Wafers and their Strawberry Wafers.
With these cookies, you get your hands dirty. I don’t have a KitchenAid, and my little hand-held mixture was sounding dangerously close to overheating so I took my hands to the dough to mix in the flour. I think this actually ended up being beneficial because it was through my hands that I could tell I needed to add more flour.
Whether or not you have a mixer that can take the heat, knead the last 1/2 cup flour into the cookie dough with your hands. It provides a good test of the dough. By the time the flour is incorporated, the dough should no longer be wet and super sticky. If you plopped it down on an un-floured surface and picked it up again, it should stick a little but not leave behind a lot of dough. When rolling out the cookies, make sure you flour a large surface area of your counter, making it easier to peel the cut cookies off. Also make sure your hands are dusted with flour when handling the cut cookie dough.
The frosting is pretty simple. I simply added 1 cup ground strawberry wafer cookies to creamed butter and then began adding 2 cups powdered sugar, tossing in about 3 tablespoons of milk total whenever the frosting got too thick. Easy peasy. Honestly the only reason these cookies take so long is the arduous process of rolling them out, cutting them, and (finally) frosting them. The way I roll though, I make things easier on myself. I store the frosting in an airtight container in the fridge and whenever I want a cookie, I just frost one. Not thirty-five. Also, without the frosting the cookies make a really nice and light dunking snack to enjoy with a cup of coffee. So if you want to ditch the frosting, that’s okay too.
I hope you all have an amazing Valentine’s Day!
P.S.-I’ve made a little pdf Valentine’s Recipe Card for everyone to download if they want. I created it in Canva (which I am really loving because I haven’t yet learned Adobe Photoshop). The dimensions are 14.8 cm x 10.5 cm if you would like to print it out.
Love at First Bite Butter Cookies
- 1 and 1/4 cups sweet butter (unsalted) room temperature
- 6 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 3/4 cups superfine sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups + 1/2 cup flour
- 1 cup ground chocolate wafer cookies about 12
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 stick salted butter softened
- 1 cup ground strawberry wafer cookies about 12
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 to 6 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Sprinkles for topping
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
In a food processor, pulse the chocolate wafer cookies until they are finely ground. Measure out 1 cup.
Beat the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract until creamy.
Beat in egg until just incorporated.
Beat in the salt, 2 cups flour, ground chocolate wafer cookies, and unsweetened cocoa powder until the batter is thick and does not stick to your hands. If you have a KitchenAid you can probably mix the whole thing with it but I just have a hand held and I eventually had to knead the dough with my hands to mix everything together (I didn't want to risk overheating my mixer).
Add the last 1/2 cup of flour as you shape the dough into a flat round, kneading it into the dough mixture. This serves as a good test of the cookie dough. It should be sticky but not wet. If you place it on an un-floured surface and pick it up, there shouldn't be that much dough sticking to the surface. Cover the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface till it's 1/8th of an inch thick.
Use a heart shaped cookie cutter (3 x 2.5 inches) to cut dough and then place the cookies on the lined baking sheets.
As the dough warms up sometimes it's harder to peel the cut cookies off the counter top. Keep the surface covered in flour and pick up the cut cookies with hands dusted in flour.
Take the leftovers and knead the dough into a ball again and roll it out, using flour when necessary. Cut more cookies. Continue until there is no more dough.
Bake 18 to 20 minutes and cool on a wire rack.
In a food processor, pulse the strawberry wafer cookies until they are finely ground. Measure out 1 cup.
Beat butter until smooth and fluffy.
Beat the ground strawberry wafer cookies into the butter.
Add the powdered sugar a 1/2 cup at a time until incorporated. If needed, add milk a tablespoon at a time until the right consistency is reached.
Frost all the cookies at once if you are giving them away as gifts or bringing them to a party. Alternatively, you can put the frosting in an air tight container and store in the fridge so that whenever you want a cookie, you only have to frost one instead of 35. Top with sprinkles if desired.
Knead the dough like you would when making bread, pushing down with the heal of your hand and rotating the dough in quarter turns. When it is ready to roll out, make sure a large area of the counter-top is floured.
I only used a 3 x 2.5 inch heart shaped cookie cutter. Feel free to make the cookies different sizes. If you do so though, make sure you bake the cookies in batches by size. For smaller cookie sizes, keep a closer eye on the baking time as it will probably be shorter.
For the frosting, you might have to add some milk before adding any powdered sugar, as the mixture gets pretty dry from adding the 1 cup ground strawberry wafer cookies.
Without the frosting, these cookies make a great light coffee cookie. Feel free the ditch the frosting if desired.