I used to share office space with a woman who decorated her desk for the seasons. In the springtime, there were lots of stuffed white bears clutching colorful hard plastic eggs. At Thanksgiving, there was always a smattering of multi-colored leaves tucked into between tiny stuffed animals adorned in pilgrim attire. During the December holiday season, you would find the typical santas and elves along with much tinsel. There was always lots of tinsel.
My colleague didn’t discriminate. She seemed to appreciate all the holidays equally. It didn’t matter whether the holiday was religious or one created by a greeting card company. I suppose this egalitarian approach is sort of admirable, but I imagine most people are not at all like this. Am I silly to think nearly everyone picks and choses their favorite holidays? It seems more realistic. I know folks who just adore Christmas and can’t wait for Thanksgiving to end so they can light up their houses like the Las Vegas strip. I have neighbors who blow up an enormous leprechaun for their lawn every St. Patrick’s Day. There are also a surprising number of people in Seattle who celebrate the summer solstice by cycling naked through the streets of Seattle.
If you think I’m kidding about that last one, I am not. I was once accidentally caught up in the parade while riding my bike to the farmer’s market. I was entirely clothed, but taunted for appearing so. It was horrible. I like summer, but I don’t celebrate the solstice and I don’t ride my bike or go out in public without clothing. Quite honestly, I am a Thanksgiving girl. I love food and I can’t imagine anything better than cooking and eating with friends all day long. Oh, well, I suppose an entire week of cooking and eating might be better if one could somehow avoid the inevitable tummy trouble, which results from such indulgence.
The point I am making concerns the holiday that is rapidly approaching. It’s Valentine’s Day. And, for some of you, Valentine’s Day is your day. It’s Thanksgiving for lovers. I get it and I think it’s wonderful. Love is certainly a good thing to celebrate.
I didn’t decorate my house in hearts or wear a appliqued cupid sweatshirt this week, but I didn’t forget you lovebirds. I made something special for you and the rest of your Valentine’s Day gang. I really hope you like them. They’re pretty. They’re pink and, of course, they are shaped like lovely little hearts. These candy peppermint hearts are sure to induce warm feelings in even the biggest Valentine’s Day crumudgeons. I just know it. They’re smooth and utterly sweet. If you are a candy addict like me, I know you’ll appreciate them.
If Valentines Day isn’t your thing, I understand. You will still enjoy these candies. You can make them for any holiday. Cut them into triangles, shamrocks or stars. They will be delicious any day of the week.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Peppermint Candy Hearts
2 tblsp. salted butter
2 tblsp. vegetable shortening
3 tblsp. warm water
5 cups sifted confectioners sugar
2 drops of red food color
1/4 tsp. oil of peppermint
Combine butter, shortening, 2 tblsp. warm water and 2 cups of the confectioners sugar in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Add the remaining sugar and 1 tablespoon warm water. Mix. (You might need to add 1 tablespoon more confectioners sugar if the mixture is not stiff enough to roll out.
Dilute the 2 drops of food coloring in teaspoon of water. Pour the coloring into the sugar mixture and mix until the batter is pink. Add the oil of peppermint. Mix again.
Roll out the dough onto a surface lightly dusted with the confectioners sugar. It should be rolled until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Cut it into shapes and lay them flat for about 2 hours to dry and form.
Store in an airtight container. The recipe makes about 42 hearts.
Adapted from Homemade Candy