In this cash-strapped climate, home made gifts continue to rock our world, so why not join the trend and bake some cookies to give away this Valentine's Day?
These warmly spiced biccies are very easy to make, and by simply placing a boiled sweet in the cut out heart at the centre, a wonderful stained glass window effect is niftily achieved.
They're perfect for making with kids as there's lots of jobs you can give them like sieving, mixing, cutting out and the all-important boiled sweet positioning!
I used rhubarb and custard sweets in my batch of cookies as it creates a gorgeous two-tone effect, but of course plain red boiled sweets would achieve the ultimate love heart look.
Package them up in simple white boxes with prettily coloured tissue paper, or in clear cellophane bags tied with curling ribbon.
Spiced red heart cookies
Makes 12 cookies (depending on size of cutter)
360g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp mixed spice
60g caster sugar
60g soft dark brown sugar
60g golden syrup
red boiled sweets
1. Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice into a large mixing bowl.
2. In a pan gently heat the butter, sugars and golden syrup until melted and combined. Allow to cool.
3. Pour the melted liquid into the flour and stir to combine until it forms the cookie dough. You want a soft but not sticky consistency. Flatten the dough with the palm of your hands into a round about 2-3cm thick. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Line a couple of baking sheets with greaseproof paper.
5. Prepare a work surface with a dusting of flour and roll out the dough to about half a centimetre thick. Cut out your cookies with a heartshaped cutter and then place onto the baking sheets.
6. Cut out a smaller heartshape in the centre of each cookie - either using a smaller heart shaped cutter or by hand with a knife. Keep the small hearts and cook them up too as they're cute to put in with the bigger cookies when you package them up.
7. Place a boiled sweet in the centre of each cut-out hole.
8. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until golden. The boiled sweets will have melted to create a stained glass window effect. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets.