The countdown to V-Day is on! Spread the love with these heart-shaped Orange Cardamom Cookie postcards.
In a very tiny nutshell, it's an account of the five-year long German occupation on the Channel Island of Guernsey during World War II, shared through letters from islanders sent to journalist Juliet Ashton, the main character.
At its core, it is essentially a love story with a healthy mix of humour and drama, and as with any war, sombreness. It explores the power of the written word and its impact on people's perspectives, particularly in times of oppression. It tells of lives lost and created, the lasting effects of war, but most importantly, the sense of community and resulting friendships forged in spite of the circumstances. It was difficult to not fall in love with the characters.
Almost as difficult not to fall in love with these Orange Cardamom Hearts - you may remember me sharing them on Instagram not too long ago.
This book and the way in which it was written, provided the inspiration for these edible love notes. There is something so personal about books written in an epistolary style (stories told through letters). It gave the feeling of being present as each letter was written and read by the characters. As I made these cookies, I imagined notes of uprising, plans of escape being read and then eaten as a means of destroying the evidence, back then. Or, secret rendezvous, proposals and love professing, in less dramatic present time.
I started with a delicious blend of citrus and spice, baked them into hearts, covered them with orange blossom flavoured icing and finished them off with notes of love and encouragement, accompanied by sugar lace leaves. The leaves represent the promise of change, much like the changing of seasons. The type of change that is fervently sought by anyone oppressed. Be it freedom, peace, independence, respect, companionship... essentially, it is love being sought.
I used a rubber stamp and gel food colouring mixed with vodka to stamp the cookies, but a food marker to write personal notes would work, as well (my handwriting is a little too messy for that). Or, if your skills allow, personalized messages painted or piped would be stunning.
Decorated or naked, the citrus and spice combination of orange and cardamom will most definitely grab the attention of the recipient(s). If you have not made Orange Cardamom cookies before, I strongly suggest you try them. (I found the recipe in a magazine without attribution.)
Check out my 4 Steps To Stunning Sugar Lace post, to learn how the lace leaves in this post were made.
More Sweet Love:
(yield: 1-2 dozen depending on size)
A delicious blend of citrus and spice baked into hearts stamped with words of love. The perfect little treat for that special someone.
114g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1g (2 teaspoons) orange zest
3g (1 teaspoon) cardamom
204g (1 cup) granulated sugar
29.5g (2 tablespoons) fresh orange juice
311g (2 cups) unbleached, AP flour
4g (1 teaspoon) baking powder
3g (1/2 teaspoon) salt
260g (2 cups) confectioner's sugar
8g (1 tablespoon) meringue powder
59g (1/4 cup) water
2.5g (1/2 teaspoon) orange blossom water
pinch of cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Line two cookie sheets with Silpat or parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer set on medium-high, cream butter, orange zest and cardamom using the paddle attachment. Gradually add the sugar, then the egg and orange juice.
Lower the mixer speed and add the flour mixture. Mix until almost combined. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface, dusted with flour. Work the dough just until combined.
Separate the dough to make two balls. Wrap each in plastic wrap and flatten into discs before placing in the refrigerator.
Use a rolling pin and spacers to roll dough out evenly and cut into hearts, or desired shapes. Place cut out dough in the freezer, on the cookie sheet for about five minutes.
Remove from freezer and place in the oven to bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges appear slightly browned.
Allow cookies to cool completely before decorating.
To make the icing: Ensure all utensils being used are grease free, by wiping with lemon juice or vinegar.
Place the sugar, meringue powder and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Add the water and using the paddle attachment, beat on low speed for 8 minutes. Add the orange blossom water and continue to beat for another one or two minutes.
You may need to add a little water at a time to bring the icing to flooding consistency. Ice cookies and allow them to dry overnight before stamping.
Now go bake a few batches and spread the love!
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