Recipes From the Heart


    Put that shop-bought confectionary to the side – this Valentine’s Day invest in some mini-slave labour and get your little one’s cooking up some loveable goodness in the kitchen.

    While away an afternoon together creating these very cute sweet treats from The Smitten Kitchen’s Deb Perelman. They are totally delicious, utterly romantic and your kids will love you for ever more!

    Hazelnut Linzer Hearts 

    I’m sorry. These are really, really cute. And your kids will love mixing together all the squidgie batter and cutting out the gorgeous little heart shapes.

    Makes 25 2 1/2-inch sandwiched cookies (i.e. 50 individual cookies). I used the 2 1/2-inch and 1 1/4-inch (smallest size) hearts from this set.

    140 grams toasted hazelnuts (see directions below)
    250 grams all-purpose flour
    3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon table salt
    225 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
    145 grams packed light or dark brown sugar
    100 grams granulated sugar
    2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
    150 grams chocolate-hazelnut spread, such as Nutella

    Place the nuts, flour, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse until the nuts are finely ground, as powdery as you can get them without letting them turn to a paste. (You can tell when it’s beginning to turn to a paste and you should immediately stop when a ring of moist crumbs adheres to base edges of the bowl and doesn’t get picked up when you run the machine.) Place butter and both sugars in a large bowl and use an electric mixer to beat it until light and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add yolks and vanilla, then beat until incorporated, about another 30 seconds. Sprinkle ground hazelnuts and other dry ingredients over butter mixture and mix until just incorporated. Divide dough in half and wrap each in plastic wrap. Chill dough packets in the fridge for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

    Heat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Roll out the first dough packet until between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick. Use a 2-inch cutter of your choice to cut out rounds of dough. Use a smaller cookie cutter (a 3/4-inch is ideal) to remove the centers of half of the cookies, creating ring shapes that will later form the lids. If the dough becomes too soft as you’re using it, just slip it into the freezer for a few minutes so that it firms up again.

    Bake cookies until golden at edges, rotating trays as needed, about 8 to 9 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Repeat with remaining dough; you can re-chill and re-roll cookie scraps. If powdering the linzer lids, arrange the ring-shaped cookies (the ones you removed the centers of) on a baking rack with a tray or paper underneath to catch the mess. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

    Spread each of the cookie bases with about 1 teaspoon chocolate-hazelnut spread. Fit a ring-shaped lid on each. Cookies will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for several days, or so I’ve heard.

    To toast your hazelnuts: Hazelnuts can be toasted on a baking sheet in the oven at 350°F for 10 minutes, but don’t take them out just yet. I like to toast them until they’re all the color of milky coffee under their loose skins, and roll them around on the tray every few minutes to make sure they’re toasting evenly. This can take an extra 1, 2, or even 5 minutes, and you should check on them frequently, so don’t go far from the oven after the 10 minute mark. Well-toasted hazelnuts don’t just taste better, with a deeper nutty flavor, but their skins come off more easily. (I even toast already-toasted hazelnuts from Trader Joe’s, as they’re never as golden as I want them.) There are two methods to skin hazelnuts, everyone else’s (rub them with a towel while they’re warm, getting off all the skins that you can) and mine (let them cool until you can hold them, and roll them around, a fistful at a time, in your dry hands, letting the skins fall back on the baking sheet; I do it this way because the towel method always leaves me with hazelnut flakes all over my kitchen when I go to shake it out/bring it to the hamper). Both work.


    White and Dark Hearted Brownies

    The Brownie is a safe old-timer that we continually return to again and again… why you ask? Because it’s possibly the best culinary invention EVER! And Deb has given these rich, chocolaty, gooey little bites of goodness a remake – they’re a little blonder, a lot cuter, and (if it’s possible) even more delicious.


    Makes 16 | To make a batch of each and reverse the middles, you’ll need double the ingredients listed below. You will end up with 32 reversed-center brownies.

    3 ounces (85 grams) semisweet or good white chocolate*, coarsely chopped
    1 stick (4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing pan
    3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (6 1/8 ounces or 175 grams) sugar
    2 large eggs
    1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla
    1/4 teaspoon table salt or 1/2 teaspoon flaky salt (about 2 grams)
    2/3 cup (83 grams) all-purpose flour

    1-inch heart or other shaped cookie cutter

    For the full recipe visit The Smitten Kitchen here.

    Chocolate and Toasted Hazelnut Milk

    Made with hazelnut, rather than dairy, milk, this little treat is more on the nutritious side with just a touch of indulgence. A good go-to if you feel your little one may have over-indulged their sweet-tooth with all the loved-up chocolate sharing that goes hand in hand with Valentine’e Day.


    Make 3/4 glasses

    2 cups (10 ounces or 285 grams) hazelnuts
    3 1/2 cups (830 grams) water, plus more for soaking
    1 1/4 cups (7 1/2 ounces 215 grams) semisweet chocolate chips or rough-chopped chocolate
    Sugar or a sweetener to taste (optional)

    For the full recipe visit The Smitten Kitchen here.

    Valerie’s French Chocolate Cake

    One last one that might be enjoyed a little more by the grown-ups in your family. This wickedly decadent, dark chocolate cake has all the charm of a Frenchman in a beret, stripy shirt and brandishing a red rose…


    Serves 10 generously
    9 tablespoons (125 grams) unsalted butter
    7 ounces (200 grams) bittersweet (70/72 percent) chocolate, chopped
    3 tablespoons water
    3/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/3 cup (40 grams) all-purpose flour
    1/3 cup (about 30 grams) dark cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy (Dutched or natural will work here; I use Dutched)
    4 large eggs, separated
    1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
    Two pinches sea salt

    For the full recipe visit The Smitten Kitchen here.
    Originally published on | All content and photos © 2006 – 2015 SMITTEN KITCHEN LLC.
    Photography: Deb Perelman |