Get Baked with Autostraddle: Valentine’s Day Edition

We all understand that Valentine’s Day is the second-most contrived of all of American ‘holidays,’ coming in just behind Grandparents’ Day. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun and hopefully get laid! You’re going to need a Fun Plan, though, and that’s where we come in.

Keeping in mind that the way to a girl’s heart / hips is through her mouth, you’re definitely going to want to feed her.

Intern Hot Laura, Intern Rachel (of Prop 8 Trial Recapping Fame), Associate Editor Sarah F*cking P*lmer and I (Exec. Editor Laneia) are here with four yummy recipes that are sure to impress your paramour.

After you’ve finished baking up a wild, sexy storm, tell us how you usually work your magic on Valentine’s Day. Any favorite recipes or successful strategies you’d like to share? Or what about that time you tried to cook a fancy French meal for your girlfriend, but ended up calling out for pizza because you burned down the kitchen? Share your tips and stories in the comments!

Homemade Oreos: Laura
Sugared Shortbread Cookies: Sarah
Hummingbird Bakery Red Velvet Cake: Rachel
Triple Chocolate Brownies: Laneia

Homemade Oreos by Laura

a.k.a. Will you marry me? Want a cookie? How about now? How about now?

These cookies are kind of magic because everyone who eats them instantly falls in love with you! The recipe makes about a zillion cookies, so you could cut it in half if you’d like. But that would be stupid because then you’d only make half as many friends/girlfriends.

2 boxes of devils food cake mix
4 eggs
2/3 cup of vegetable oil

Mix all that stuff up. Also, a note on mixing: The dough ends up being really, really thick and difficult to mix, so either use an electric mixer (if you’re savvy) or your hands. Spoons aren’t recommended.

Shape the dough into balls, making them slightly smaller than a typical cookie because they’re going to be made into sandwiches. Bake them at 350° for 6-8 minutes. Check them at 6 minutes because no one likes hard cookies. (That’s what she said! Ohhhhhh!)

1 stick of butter
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 tablespoon of vanilla
3-4 cups of powdered sugar
Red food coloring, if you need everything that you bake during the month of February to scream “VALENTINE’S DAY,” as I do.

Mix the butter and cream cheese together first, then add in the rest! When the cookies are cool, ice half of them (on the flat side, obvs) and them stick them together with un-iced ones. Hello, you just made a sandwich cookie!

These are 800 times more moist and delicious the day after you make them, so stick them in a baggie and wait til the morning.

Sugared Shortbread Cookies by Sarah F*cking P*lmer

These are actually sablés, which are French butter cookies. That’s right, the main flavor here is butter. How could you go wrong? This particular recipe is from my FAVORITE BAKING BOOK OF ALL TIME, Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From my Home to Yours.

Anyone who wants to bake, or already loves to, should own this book. It has the best recipes for all the basics, including cake, biscuits, pies, tarts, and all sorts of cookies. BUY IT.

+ This dough requires a few hours of refrigeration, so plan accordingly!

2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 beaten egg
Coarse decorating sugar

You can do this with a stand mixer or a hand mixer. In a large bowl, beat the butter until it’s smooth and creamy. Be careful not to whip the butter (i.e. mix in air) because that is unnecessary for this particular cookie.

Add the granulated sugar + confectioner’s sugar + salt and beat until blended, about 1 minute. Reduce your mixer speed and mix in the yolks, one at a time, until everything’s combined or your arm gets tired, whichever comes first.

Stop mixing and dump in the flour. Carefully pulse the mixer to combine the flour and butter mixture. The key here is to not overmix the dough, so beat just until the flour mixes in. I suggest finishing the job with a rubber spatula (that’s what she said). The dough should be kinda sandy and not fully formed into a ball.

Ok, so dump that out on the counter, make it into a ball, and then divide it in half.

Depending on how warm your dough is, you might need to chill it for a few minutes at this point. Now shape each half of the dough into a cylinder. It’s really best to put the dough on a piece of plastic wrap and use that to help you as you roll. When you have two cylinders about 9 or 10 inches long, roll them up into the plastic wrap and pop them in the fridge. Let them sit for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. They’ll keep frozen for a while, too!

Basically what you’ve created is a homemade version of those slice and bake cookies you buy in the grocery store. Except these don’t have a million preservatives or weird colored shapes in the middle and they taste much better! So after you’ve let the dough chill, bring it out and unwrap it on your work surface. Keep that plastic wrap, you’ll need it in a minute.

Now it’s time for the fun decorating! You’ll need two things: a beaten egg with some sort of brush to apply it and coarse decorating sugar. You’re looking for large grains because they won’t melt in the oven. [sidenote: I did not follow my own advice and used colored sugar with a fine grain. And so it turned in to food coloring basically. DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO.] The whole point of this post is Valentine’s Day treats, so I chose red, white, and pink sugars.

Spread out the plastic wrap on the counter, with the dough at the end closest to you. Pour out a line of sugar. Brush egg onto the dough and roll it through the sugar. Wrap the dough back in the plastic wrap and put it in the fridge until it’s cool again. TRUST ME.

Now you’re ready to cut your cookies! You know the drill: just slice away. Stay larger than ¼ inch, but thinner is better. Lay them out on a baking sheet, about an inch apart. Bake them at 350° for 17-20 minutes or until light brown on the edges and pale on top. Let ’em cool before you eat them; they’re better that way!

You’re done! Aren’t they so cute?! You should be really proud of yourself! If you want to make this recipe again, you can switch it up with different flavors. Lemon, spice, nuts, even cheese (for a savory cookie) are all great adaptations.

Hummingbird Bakery Red Velvet Cake by Rachel
and Triple Chocolate Brownies from Laneia!

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    • oh hey that picture might now be my desktop background forever and ever. HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY EVERYONE

    • dear alex: ok thank you! i wasn’t sure if i should reveal all my secrets because like, what if you replace me? but then i thought you might still need my boyish charm.

      dear rachel: once i had a picture as my background and she thought it was too weird.

      • This is true. Laura you are irreplaceable like that Beyonce song! I’m so glad you reminded me of the desktop thing, cause it made me and Riese LOL all over again. Oh, you kids!

  1. Oh my god. Homemade Oreos sound like THE BEST IDEA EVER. I’m gonna make them with my mom when I go home for spring break (after we get tattooed, which is the only thing on the agenda this spring break). :)

    • Laura’s cookies are BETTER than oreos. Just lettin’ y’all know. They aren’t like crunchy/hard cookies holding the filling, they are soft cake-like concoctions of wonder.

      • Don’t kill me, here. Spring break is a whole month away. I’m trying not to think about how badly I want those cake-like concoctions of wonder.

  2. Guys, I was totally looking for something to make for my Valentine’s dinner extravaganza dessert and NOW I HAVE IT.

    Also, can we make recipes a semi-regular thing? Because I am a lez who loves the kitchen, and not just because that’s where we keep the booze.


    I have tasted Laura’s oreo cookies and THEY WIN.

    Now I just need to get Rachel, Sarah, and Laneia to bake for me and I can judge the rest.

  4. rachel i want to make your cake because red velvet cake is so hard! mine always ends up looking like jungle-juice vom instead of actual red.

    • true story re: jungle juice vom: we ended up eating this whole cake at a party that my apartment threw, and it turns out that this cake will in fact make your vom super red. also i’m really glad my roommates are still speaking to me.

  5. This is the best post ever. My two fav. things dessert and autostraddle.

    P.s. I have a recipe for the home made oreos where you put mint extract into the filling. They are awesome.

    • um, i’m pretty sure mint extract is the only thing that could make those better. WHAT A FANTASTIC IDEAAAAA.

  6. I am glad that Laneia got a beer into her cooking photo. I always cook with wine. I am not a good cook, I hear, but I think I am.

    • originally my recipe called for three glasses of wine before starting but i think laneia took it out and that was probs a good idea

  7. OH YUMMMMMM. You’re making me want to bake again.

    Also: partner just got a blender as a birthday present, so any blending ideas would be appreciated. We make banana milkshakes this morning, YUM.

      • ew cherries and strawberries (or any sort of berry really). Melons + Asian fruit = better than anything.

        What’s in a mudslide? I guess chocolate, but that’s it really.

    • frozen strawberries
      vanilla yogurt
      little milk


      grasshopper cookies [5?]
      shot of mint syrup [not extract]
      little milk
      optional shot or two of espresso / strong coffee

      • Definitely asked that when i was drunk last night and don’t really remember doing so but thats awesome! Also these cakes etc look brilliant and thanks for a red velvet recipe in grammes, i’ve been craving red velvet for aaggges.

  8. YA’LL. my girlfriend usually complains that i’m not affectionate enough. but that’s totes okay because i have so much love for autostraddle.

    and now i can like, cook her some brownies and say, “LOOK AT THAT. LOOK AT THAT delicious-looking brownie. that is the chocolatey representation of my love. don’t tell me that’s not awesome.”

  9. These all look fantastic, I can’t wait to try them. But what’s devil’s food cake mix? Is it just your standard chocolate cake mix?

    • it is not! it is magical and different. acutally i don’t know the difference, but you can buy both mixes here. regs chocolate works fine as well.

    • haha crystal i was going to ask this question too, beat me to it. according to wikipedia devil’s food cake is more moist and airy and uses cocoa instead of chocolate for flavour.

    • I love Cook’s Illustrated.
      They have an amazing recipe for brown sugar cookies, i think it’s ’96 or ’98.

  10. omg one of my irish friends makes these from her mum’s recipe and they are AMAZING. like, I got her mum to bring me some over specially last time she came to visit, despite the fact that I’ve never met her. Thats how good they are.

  11. Oh my, those homemade oreos look so good! Where’s my apron? I’ve gotta make them ahora. Laura, what brand of devils food cake mix do you use?

    • ermmm whatever is on sale! i know some taste better than others, but i always forget to write down which ones. you should try a few out and let me know!

      • I used Betty Crocker and Duncan Hinse mixes. BC was cheaper, easier to mold, and came out more gooey than DH. So, I’d use that brand. I made them all rainbow-ey, so delicious! Thanks again.

  12. My lady and I are pretty much obsessed with Autostraddle, and so being who we are, decided we had to make those damn oreos.

    So we did.

    Oh good lord they are fantastic.

  13. Guys…I had a dream last night that I was eating Laura’s cookies.
    That needs re-phrasing.

    I had a dream last night that I was eating the homemade oreos! If that’s not sad, I don’t know what is. I can’t remember what else was going on in the dream, but I clearly remember those cookies.

  14. Pleeease do another get baked for Valentine’s this year! With some main dishes! Vegan! Exclamation points!


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