Nothing says true love like whiskey and Valentine cookies. The cookies are a special recipe from my grandma, but with an added twist of whiskey buttercream frosting that I'm sure Grandpa would have enjoyed. The frosting recipe comes from the delectable flour cookbook by Joanne Chang. And the secret is to whip the hell out of it.
The frosting is really a rum buttercream meant for the Nutmeg-Spice cake (page 170), but why use rum when you can use some Bernheim whiskey? Just the hint of whiskey in this buttercream frosting is a light topping for these oatmeal cookies. The frosting separated the first time I tried it, so I just added at least one to two minutes more mixing to each step, and this time, the frosting was pure creamy perfection.
Creamy Whiskey Buttercream:
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 egg whites
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teasponn kosher salt
1/4 to 1/3 cup whisky
"In a small heatproof bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg whites to make a thick slurry. Place the bowl over (not touching) simmering water in a saucepan and heat, whisking occasionally, for 6 to 8 minutes (I did 10) or until the mixture is hot to the touch. It will thin out a bit as the sugar melts.
"Remove from the heat and scrape the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment (or a hand mixer works fine). Whip on medium-high speed for 6 to 8 minutes (I did 10) or until the mixture becomes a light, white meringue and is cool to the touch.
"Turn down the speed to low, add the butter, one chunk at a time, and mix for 2 to 3 minutes (I did 4). The mixture will look curdled at first, but don't worry. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 2 to 3 minutes (I did 5). The buttercream will be smooth.
"Add the vanilla, salt, and 1/4 cup whiskey and whip for another 1 or 2 minutes (or 3), or until the whiskey is completely incorporated. Taste the buttercream and whip in a little more whiskey if desired. (I added a couple drops food coloring for Valentine pink.)
"Use within 30 minutes, or transfer to an airtight container and store at from temperature for up to 3 days, then beat with the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until smooth before using."
Grandma's Valentine Cookies
Whenever I visited Grandma during college, she would not let me leave until she had filled up a bag with her latest batch of cookies or leftover pie. Valentine's cookies were an annual holiday favorite, savored by me and my college roommates.
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond flavoring
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 cups oatmeal
Beat together the sugar and butter.
Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond flavoring
Gradually beat in the flour, salt, and baking powder.
Stir in the oatmeal.
Roll out and cut with heart cookie cutters.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.
Slather on whiskey frosting.
Pass out to friends.
Try one. Think of Grandma. Smile.