Grandma's Valentines

Ages ago, at this time of year, you could find my grandma in the kitchen baking dozens of Valentine cookies.  For everyone.  She brought them to us next door, to my aunt and her family living on the other side of her house.  The other relatives in town.  And she mailed them to the out-of-towners.  Everyone got these amazing Valentine cookie creations.

And they absolutely were creations.  She used what heart shaped cookie cutters she had, some with smooth edges, some with old fashioned scalloped edges.  But none of them were ever big enough.  Grandma would cut out paper hearts and use those to trace large heart shaped cookies on top of her rolled out cookie dough.  Seriously large, like 6 and 8 inch tall cookies.

When everything cooled, she would frost them and decorate them and sometimes stick them together.  Cookies decorated and layered atop each other like a paper valentine.  Colored sugar, sprinkles, and little cinnamon red hots jazzed up tinted frosting on simple sugar cookies.

These were her Valentines, her little love notes to us all.  I looked forward to those cookies every year.  Grandma was just next door and we had access to her cookies, cakes, treats, dinners, whenever we wanted.  But those Valentine cookies were magical.

I can still remember the taste of the little cinnamon candies after they'd been stuck in frosting for a day or two: slightly soft, a touch sweeter, but still with that biting burst of cinnamon.  It was always so much fun to get one of the giant cookies so you could bite off the teeny cookie adorning it, trying to leave the larger cookie intact. 

I don't remember the last time I got those cookies.  It may have been in high school, or it might have been early on in college, before Parkinson's took its toll and kept her from doing so many things she enjoyed.

February rolls around, and every year I think of those cookies.  I wish there were some waiting for me in the mail.

Linked up at Controlling Craziness, 5 Minutes for Mom, Nancherrow.
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