Love is in the air… or is that the smell of fresh-baked cookies?

Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche

About one thousand, seven hundred and forty-seven years ago, a Roman priest named Valentinus sat in prison, awaiting his death for defying an oppressive Roman emperor by marrying Christian couples who were in love. There’s no clear story about the man, but one legend states that while he was awaiting his execution, he healed the jailer’s young, blind daughter. On the day he was executed, he left her a note signed, “Your Valentine.”

Over the years, St. Valentine has become known as the Patron Saint of engaged couples, happy marriages, love and lovers, among other slightly more obscure things such as bee keeping, fainting and traveling. Represented in pictures with birds and roses, his feast day is celebrated on February 14 – the day Valentinus was executed.

I think the history writers forgot to mention that nowadays, St. Valentine is represented in the form of chocolate and hearts, and the colors red and pink.

In 2016, Americans alone spent an estimated $19.7 billion dollars on Valentine’s Day, with $1.76 billion spent on candy and $1.14 billion spent on greeting cards. The largest portion of Valentine’s Day spending was a whopping $4.5 billion on jewelry. All because a priest was executed for aiding people that were in love back in the third century.

Personally, I’m thrilled to have the excuse to eat as much chocolate as I want without judgment or guilt… Valentine’s Day validates my own guiltless chocolate consumption. Thank you, St. Valentine.

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This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday. A few days before, the Fort Davis Lions Club will have a Valentine’s Day inspired bake sale on Saturday, Feb. 11 from 7:30-11 a.m. at Porter’s in Fort Davis, with all sorts of homemade sweets wrapped in festive Valentine’s Day packaging available for purchase for you or your loved ones.

As you are reading this, there’s a good chance I am feverishly baking as many chocolate cookies, cupcakes and other sweet treats that I can for my contribution to the Valentine’s Day Bake Sale, showing great restraint by not over-sampling everything that comes out of the oven… probably with a half-eaten box of chocolate somewhere nearby.

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Double Chocolate Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2-1/4 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temp

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

12 oz. chocolate chips

 

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside.

Put butter and both sugars in a large bowl. Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, with a mixer for 3 to 5 minutes.

Scrape the side and bottom of the bowl then add the eggs, one at time, on medium-low speed until incorporated. Add in the vanilla.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in thirds, beating until just combined for 1 to 2 minutes. The cookie batter will become thick. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop 1-1/2 tablespoon-mounds, onto lined baking sheets. Leave 2 inches between the cookies to allow for spreading.

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 9 to 12 minutes or until the cookies have puffed a little and the tops are dry. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days at room temperature or up to a week in the refrigerator.

 

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