Heart Shaped Cucumbers and Chocolate Spiced Cookies

While grocery shopping the other day, I was surprised to find heart shaped cucumbers. That’s right, heart shaped cucumbers. The cucumbers are grown in heart shaped molds and look similar to regular ones, but when you slice them you get mini heart shaped slices. What a fun way to serve up a simple cucumber salad for your loved ones on Valentine’s.   

Simple Asian Cucumber Salad
Makes 4-6 servings.

2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sweet thai chili sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp sugar
a pinch of salt
¼ -½ tsp sambal oelek or crushed chili pepper
1 english cucumber or 4 mini heart shaped cucumbers

In a small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, sweet thai chili sauce, sesame oil, sugar, pinch of salt and sambal oelek. Set aside.

Using a mandolin or sharp knife, thinly slice cucumbers. Just before serving gently toss cucumbers with dressing. This salad is best served right away.

We think Valentine’s is best enjoyed with some good quality chocolate and I’m sure you’d agree too. I also like to celebrate Valentine’s by baking chocolate goodies for my friends and family. This spiced chocolate crackle cookie has been getting rave reviews and requests to bake more, so we’re sharing the recipe so you can enjoy it too. 

Spiced Chocolate Crackle Cookies
Borrowed from McCormick Gourmet website.
Makes about 40 cookies.

12 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate, divided
¾ cup flour
2 tsp roasted cinnamon (regular cinnamon can also be used)
1 tsp ground ancho chili pepper
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Melt 8 ounces of the chocolate in a double broiler. Set aside. Coarsely chop remaining 4 ounces of the chocolate. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine flour, roasted cinnamon, ancho chili pepper, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugars together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla and mix well. Add melted chocolate and beat until well blended. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Stir in chopped chocolate. Drop dough by rounded tablespoons about 1½ inches apart on prepared baking sheets.

Bake about 10 minutes or just until cookies are set and slightly cracked on top. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool completely.

Happy Valentine’s!


2 thoughts on “Heart Shaped Cucumbers and Chocolate Spiced Cookies

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