Valentine's Day. Probably the most polarized holiday out there, wouldn't you say? Many decide early on that this day is one to deplore for its exclusive nature, denounce as solely commercial, and demonize as the perpetrator of an express-your-love-one-day-a-year mentality. Then there are people like me, who look at Valentine's Day and see pretty colors, heart-shaped delectables and delicate confections. Why look any further than that?
This year, in addition to our deluxe sugar cut-outs, we tried out homemade peanut butter cups. My roommate had happened upon the recipe before I left for home, and it looked much too simple to pass up.
I needn't say more. Next up was our coveted sugar cut-outs, an ever-so-slightly modified version of Betty Crocker's Deluxe Sugar Cookies. These morsels come out of our kitchen three times a year at most, due in part to the (lovable) tedium of the process, but mostly out of respect: to make them too often would dilute their novelty status. Sounds a bit overblown, but we've never met a better sugar cookie. We'll accept yours if you offer - you know, to be polite - but when we do we're indulging more in our own superiority than in the taste of your mediocre cookie.
Whooa, I just got nasty! But listen: the cookies are thin, light and flaky, and still manage to tout the softest notes of almond butter. The icing achieves an artisanal consistency between frosting and glaze, finishing each cookie with almond-vanilla bliss. Once you're introduced, there's no going back.