One of my fondest childhood memories is of my mother helping me make a Valentine's box to take to school. We pulled out white paste, an old shoebox, scraps of doilies, and construction paper. There was a flurry of activity as I cut and pasted, and imagined my box filled with homemade Valentines from classmates and secret admirers.
My favorite teacher in the fourth grade was Mrs. Dearing. For Valentine's Day, I wanted to make her something special. My mother had a recipe for sugar cookies that she had made as a child. We stayed up late rolling out the dough, long after my brothers had gone to bed. Carefully, we sprinkled the cookies with sugar and waited for the sparkling wafers to emerge from the oven.
To this day, when I smell sugar cookies baking, I think about Valentine's Day and that special present for my teacher.
1/2-cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon milk
Granulated sugar for decoration
1 ceramic cookie mold (available at craft stores or from www.cookieartexchange.com )
A plastic drinking straw
1/4 inch satin ribbon
1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar. Stir in the egg, milk, and vanilla. Mix in the flour and salt.
2. Knead the mixture into a dough. Chill for 15 minutes.
3. Use the ceramic cookie mold make a fancy Valentine cookie. Coat the mold with cooking spray. Pour a little granulated sugar into the mold, tilt until sugar covers the bottom, and tap out any excess. Press dough into the mold and turn it out onto a greased baking sheet. Use a plastic drinking straw to make a hole in the top of the cookie. Sprinkle with sugar and chill for 30 minutes.
4. Repeat the process for each cookie. (You will only need to coat the mould with cooking spray once, but you will have to re-sugar the mould for each cookie.)
If you don’t have a cookie mold, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter to make your cookies. Use a plastic drinking straw to make a hole in the top of each cookie. Sprinkle the tops with sugar. Place on a greased cookie sheet.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake all chilled cookies for about 10 minutes, until golden. Cool completely.
6. Tie a 9-inch piece of satin ribbon through the hole of each cookie. On a tag, attach your special message or Valentine wish.
Instead of store bought Valentines, encourage your child to make a gift that will fill him with pride and accomplishment.
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About the Authors: Rondi Hillstrom Davis and Janell Sewall Oakes are the co-authors of the award-winning book Together: Creating Family Traditions. To check out their website that's jam packed with family ideas, visit
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Rondi Hillstrom Davis and Janell Sewall Oakes are the co-authors of the award-winning book Together: Creating Family Traditions. To check out their website that's jam packed with family ideas, visit http://togetherparenting.com/. To subscribe to their online newsletter, go to http://togetherparenting.com/.