A Red Bird and a Circle of Hearts

I went out with my camera the other day, and couldn’t find a single bird. Where were they? Birds can be mysterious, and I had no idea. Then all of a sudden I heard a cardinal’s distinctive call–twirp-twirp-twirp–at least, that’s as best as I can transcribe it. He sat perched in the tangle of a lilac bush, and was there for quite a while as I took his portrait.

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Here is my take on making a valentine. Take a piece of copy paper and trace around a small plate–I used a tea cup saucer (about 5-1/2″ across). Cut out the circle, and fold the circle in half four times to make a pie shape. Draw a heart on the outer rim of the pie shape, connecting it at the sides. Cut out. Write a valentine motto around the heart circle. Then, bake the heart circle in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes, or until it looks old and antique.


Here are some valentine sentiments that I thought were pretty (All from “Anon” except the last):

Many are the starrs I see,
but in my eye no starr like thee.

A hundred hearts would be too few,
to carry all my love for you.

I’ve fallen in love many times: always with you.

So long as I can breathe or I can see,
so long lives your love which gives life to me.
William Shakespeare

I was thinking of Valentine’s Day, and then of cookies, and then of the new fancy Italian cookie press I had just purchased, and had the idea of making little vanilla hearts. This seemed like a good idea, but before I knew it I was in a baking quagmire. The recipe I chose was unfamiliar–sometimes this is a good thing and you can find gems. In this case, the recipe was DOA, and I had to tinker with it to make it work. Then there was the Italian cookie press. It had rachets and plungers and I was sweating as I finally got it to press any cookies. Then I discovered to never use parchment paper when using a cookie press–use a greased, cool baking sheet. What I’m saying is that I wouldn’t pass on this recipe, or the cookie press, for that matter, to my worst baking enemy.

So if you want vanilla hearts, use the recipe in Fannie Farmer (called Butter Cookies, Spritz, and Cookie Press Cookies) and the cookie press you already have–not a fancy Italian one with rachets. I had to lie down and take a nap after making these, though to my consternation, they were very good. Just not makable by any rational human being.




6 thoughts on “A Red Bird and a Circle of Hearts

  1. Haha…nice poem, Joel!

    My son and I loved the fluffy bird. And I like the clever valentine idea!! Now all I need is a valentine…. ;p

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