‘I am done with my hairdresser, where are you now?’ – ‘doing some shopping for Cicci’s new baby, she’s due at the end of the month and she’s got three now!’ – (particularly high reproductive demographic profiles around here!!!) – ‘shall we have a quick bite together?’… that’s how it works in London-King’s road late in the morning, kids are usually still at school and the Sciure (*post on Lemon Cake for explanation about ‘Sciure’) hang out in the most shabby-chic-neighbourhood-rendezvous-locations (!)… ‘let’s go to say Hi to Sissi first, she is having lunch at Manicomio’. Apparently lots of people (girls?!) had our same idea today. Manicomio is very nice, I will check out Manicomio next time, it looks so much better since I last have been there a few years ago. A warm soup at Poilâne is what I really need today, a very nice eat-in bakery, plus bread is beautiful over there. Perhaps because they probably are between the fewest to still use a wood-fired oven: the Great Fire of London in 1666 began in a bakery and the legend says that it took Poilâne over 2 years to obtain the permission to use this kind of oven. They make one of the best bread in London. Beside that, it is originally from Paris Saint German des Prés artsy district, and you can in fact feel the parisian mood in the air. We got there, then, and we seated at a sharing table with other three couples…of girls, of course. And even if in King’s road at lunch time you mostly find girls hanging out (should I buy myself-for-myself a San Valentine cookie?!?), it was plenty of ‘I LOVE You’ loaves and cookies.
Anyhow, San Valentine is in the air. No matter what. We have to follow the stream and give our contribution to this, even if ….it is not exactly my day. Since I have always wanted to make the typical cookies you can buy in italian bakery, kind of basic pâte sucrée with a bit of something else, here it is my favourite recipe.. heart shaping!
Heart Shaped Italian Cookies
270 gr plain flour
20 gr potato flour
165 gr Butter
95 gr icing sugar
50 g egg
1 lemon zest, grated
6 gr baking powder
icing sugar for dusting
50 gr melted chocolate – 70%.
For the sandwich cookies, use nutella or you fav marmalade.
Turn the oven on at 180°. Sieve together the flours and the baking powder. Using butter at room temp, in a round bowl cream the butter with the icing sugar. Break up the eggs and add the lemon zest. Add the eggs mixture to the butter, by inclusion. When all the eggs are incorporated, add the flours by inclusion and work down your dough shaping it into a ball. It is going to be quite soft. Cling film it and rest it in the refrigerator for at least one hour. Then on a baking parchment, roll out the dough 4/5mm thick. Cut into desired shapes using cookies cutters. I used 42x45mm cutters for the small cookies and 60x65mm for the sandwich ones. For each heart sandwich cookie, I cut out the centre of ONE of the 60x65mm hearts with the 42x45mm cutter. Place the baking parchment on a tray and bake everything in the pre-heated oven for approximately 12 minutes. The bigger cookies will need a few minutes more. Bake until they are nice and golden.
In the meanwhile, melt the chocolate on a bain marie and/or put the nutella on a bain marie to soften it – if using marmalade, break it up on a round bowl with a whisker.
Cool the cookies completely on a wire rack. Then, for the sandwich cookies: dust the open centred hearts with icing sugar, spread your nutella on the bottom ones and place the open heart on top to form a sandwich. For the smaller ones, dip half of the cookie in melted chocolate and allow to drain off the excess on a wire rack.