To me, the best way to spoil or show a loved one appreciation is through food. I always ask my husband what cake he’d like me to bake him for his birthday and what dessert he wants for valentine’s (dear god, this year he asked for flan which I’ve never made before so I’m dead…) and I bake my friends their christmas gifts (this year there was some apple cider caramel ice cream and some pomegranate curd filled donuts..YUM). But obviously, of course I would think this is how you show love. I suppose if I were a knitter a blanket would be in tow?
And now that I have a little one at home, I’m finding greater joy in these baked-for-occasion projects. After all the christmas cookie making, my two year old has become pretty savvy with her little roller and sometimes asks me to make her cookie dough for no reason other than she wants to ‘work’ with it (and no, play dough doesn’t cut it with her lol). So this is how we found ourselves making the teeniest tiny heart cookies which we then turned into a cookie cereal - a la molly yeh’s new year’s cookie cereal which I thought was too cute for words.
I have two variations for you: one vanilla and oat flavored, colored to resemble valentine’s conversation hearts, and another chocolate heart cookie variation with meringues. We saved the second variation as an early valentine’s gift for my husband who really loved how the chocolate and meringues mixed together to flavor the milk. Whichever you choose to make, I hope whoever you make it for (including yourself obviously!) loves it as much as we did!
Mini Heart Cookie Cereal
adapted from mynameisyeh
I don’t give instructions for the mini meringues here because I followed molly’s nearly to a T (save using vanilla instead of almond extract to flavor them). So, head over there to use her adaptation of Ottolenghi’s for mini meringues. She also shows you how to give them some pretty streaky colors! If you want to give it a full pink tint like I did, just add a drop or two of food coloring once your meringue is fully whipped. If you don’t mix it fully you can get a pretty swirl throughout the cookie. My meringues browned more than I intended and I believe that’s because the given temperature of 225 F was too high. I suggest baking at 200 degrees and watching them closely if you want to avoid that.
Molly uses almond flour in her mini cookies, which I am not a fan of so I swapped it out with oat flour. Imo, it feels more of a cereal ingredient anyway but choose whatever you feel will be the yummiest.
One more note on the meringues. I only did them for the chocolate cookie variation because I am a sucker for non-waste and my halved chocolate cookie recipes uses 2 egg yolks and, guess what needs two egg whites? Perfect match!
My teeny heart shapes were done with this little heart stamp I got at a cake decorating store. Couldn’t find them online to link you but here is something very similar to what I used.
to make colored mini hearts:
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup oat flour (or ground oats)
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
food colorings, your choice
Preheat oven to 350.
In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and salt, beat to combine. Add egg and beat until light.
At this point, if you want to color the hearts, divide your mixture into 3 (or more if you like!) parts. For precision, I do this by weighing my batter and then dividing it into as many colors as I plan on making. Add food coloring to the individual bowls - it is easier to add them at this point rather than try to knead them in later, tbh. I also found that the color I got to was not lightened much by the flours so don’t feel like you need to add too much.
Whisk together your two flours and divide it into as many parts as you did your colored butter mixture. Fold it into the bowls with a flexible spatula. To prevent the doughs from drying, cover the ones you aren’t immediately rolling in plastic wrap.
Flour your surface and rolling pin, and roll dough to about 1/4 inch thickness and stamp out mini shapes. Bake for about 5-7 minutes and repeat with other doughs. Molly adds a way to make the cookies crisper (lowering the oven to 250 and baking them for another 20 minutes) but I preferred mine without this step.
to make chocolate mini hearts:
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch sea salt
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup cocoa, sifted if lumpy
3/4 cups all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add salt and vanilla, beat to combine. Add egg yolks, beat for another 2-3 minutes. Add flour and cocoa with mixer on low and let run until just combined. You can use flour, but when working with chocolate I like to use cocoa to dust my surface. Roll to 1/4 inch thickness and cut out shapes, repeat with remaining dough. Bake for about 6 minutes.
to make cereal:
this is a canvas on which you can really make your own cereal. Add 1 cup of nuts, 1 cup of a dried fruit, and 1 cup of something else (coconut chips for example or do more nuts and dried fruit). I did without the chocolate chips molly used but this is obviously up to you. I also added edible dried roses to mine and omgosh, how romantic does it all look together?