It’s a good thing I got a head start on these last night, since it took me two attempts to pull them off. Developing a cookie recipe is a bit more touchy than improvising a soup or salad. (Whole Foods provided a good starting point.) But it was worth it for these delicious and adorable cookies! Made in honor of a friend’s birthday, but since they don’t exactly ship well, they provided a tasty treat for my ESL students (and a random friendly stranger on the walk over), just in time for Valentine’s Day. Or, as they call it in Ecuador, “el Día de Amor y Amistad,” the Day of Love and Friendship.
Unfortunately, most of the cookies ended up… er…particularly crispy. Not to worry, however. My family is making our way through them at an remarkable clip. I have contributed significantly to the effort — I think I’ve eaten at least eight cookies in the last twenty four hours. I don’t usually have much of a sweet tooth, but I do have quite a weak spot for slightly burned cookies. And I must admit, I’ve fallen deeply in love with maple syrup!
Whole Wheat “Heartprint” Cookies
(Makes 2 dozen)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 to 1 cup rolled oats (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 to 3/4 cup neutral flavored oil
1/3 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
A few tablespoons jam (I used blackberry)
Preheat oven to 375º. Mix together flour, salt, and oats if using, then mix in oil, sweetener, and vanilla to form a soft dough. Roll into “walnut size” (approximately one inch) balls and place a few inches apart on two baking sheets, lined with parchment paper or greased. With the length of a finger, press two indentations into each cookie to form a “heart.” You may want to pinch the bottom of the heart together slightly or otherwise touch up the shape depending on how particular you are. Or, just make classic “thumbprints.” Spread a little jam into each “heart” and bake for 15-20 minutes. Take them out as soon as the edges firm up and turn lightly brown, but while they are still somewhat soft. They’ll firm up as they cool on the rack. Another option is to wait to fill them with jam until just before serving. This avoids the danger of the jam bubbling over, and keeps them from turning soft after a couple days. Store between layers of waxed paper… that is, if you can restrain yourself from gobbling them all right away!