Heart-Shaped Hand Pies

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. I’ve got a few ideas for dinner and dessert (We’re thinking about avoiding a fancy restaurant since they will be packed and overpriced). I’m going back and forth between just ordering in Chinese, watching Netflix, and chilling in sweatpants and getting steak and crab legs and throwing a fancy Valentine’s Day meal in the apartment. I’ll let you know which wins out!

What is it that makes tiny things so much cuter than their full-sized counterparts? Think about it – muffins, cupcakes, cake pops, birthday cakes, kittens, puppies all are cutest when they are tiny! Don’t believe me? Do a quick Pinterest search for teacup puppies.

I wanted to take something to our monthly potluck. In the spirit of the season, I decided to make mini heart-shaped hand pies. They came out just as I had hoped, although they were a little on the crusty side. The fellow said I could have used more filling, but it would have made it more difficult to close the pies.

IMG_20160213_095242

 

There was a bit of trial and error with the sizes of my pie crust hearts. Originally, I had thought that the best way would be to make the bottom crust larger and the top crust smaller. The thought was to lay the base crust down, fill with the meat and veggie mixture, and top with the final crust. To close the pies I folded the bottom crust edge up over the top crust creating a seam to hold in the filling. I made about three that way before I realized there had to be an easier way.

My second attempt was what I ended up doing for the rest of the pies. This time I made both the top and bottom crusts the same size using my largest heart cookie cutter. I layered the bottom crust, then the filling, and lastly the top crust. Instead of folding the bottom layer up, I just took a fork and crimped the edges down which made the heart into a pocket.

In hindsight, it probably would have been best if I had combined my first and second attempts. If I make these again, I will try making the bottom crust a size smaller than the top crust. That way I could put more filling into the pies and the top crust would have more room to stretch over the filling. I would still crimp the edges.

Supplies:

Cookie Cutters

Baking Sheets

Parchment Paper

Grammy’s Pie Crust:

2 C Flour

1 tsp Salt

¾ C Crisco

Cold water to mix

Blend Crisco into flour and salt; gradually add water until dough reaches correct consistency to roll.

(This is the official Crisco pie crust recipe in a double batch. My grandmother has used it for years and it is amazing. This yields enough for a top and bottom crust or two topless pie crusts and is flakey and wonderful.)

Pie Filling:

1 Large can of Campbell’s cream of chicken soup

1 Bag frozen mixed veggies

3 Sticks of celery

3 T Butter

3 Chicken Breasts

Salt, Pepper, and Herbs De Provence to taste.

Boil and shred the chicken breasts. Chop the celery and sauté it in the butter until tender; add in the bag of mixed veggies and heat. Once the celery and veggies are tender, add the cream of chicken soup and spices and continue to heat. Add the shredded chicken breasts to the heated veggie mixture. Set aside on low heat while you prepare the crusts.

I mixed each batch of dough individually, rolled it out and cut out as many hearts as I could from one batch. I’ve found rolling it two or three times in succession causes it to be tough so I work the leftover dough from each round into the next batch. I made approximately four turns of pie crust for this endeavor.

I swear by parchment paper for almost everything that requires a cookie sheet. Less spreading and quicker clean up makes me a happy camper.

Towards the end, I managed to fit around 8-9 hand pies on a cooking sheet. At the beginning, I was spacing them farther apart and only got around 6-7 per sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes until edges of crusts are beginning to turn golden brown.

Love Smells Like Syrup

Everyone has some type of comfort food that they grew up on. For some people its mac and cheese, tomato soup with a warm, gooey grilled cheese alongside it, or for some it’s breakfast foods.

French toast happens to be the favorite of my fellow. It is a quick enough treat to whip up so sometimes when I’m feeling particularly sweet (and lazy) I’ll make him French toast for a snack.

Now that it is finally February anything that can be made with a heart-shaped cookie cutter is fair game- French toast being no exception.

**If I can get around using measuring spoons and cups I do, dishes like this don’t need exact measurements. As I always say, cooking is an art not a science.

 

PhotoGrid_1454360957038

To make heart-shaped French toast you will need:

Eggs

Vanilla

Milk (I used Almond Milk)

Cinnamon

Bread

1. Preheat your pan (I use Cast Iron so this step is a necessity).

2. Cut a heart out of the bread using the cookie cutter.

(Here you have a decision. You can make mini heart-shaped French bread shapes, or you can do what I did and use both the heart and leftover bread sections separately.)

3. Crack 2 eggs into a bowl large enough fit your bread. Add a splash of milk, a dash of cinnamon and a bit of vanilla (Rough guesstimation: 3 T milk, ¼ t vanilla, ¼ – ½ t cinnamon) and mix together.

IMG_20160201_164058

4. Quickly lay the first of the bread pieces in the mixture then flip it to coat the other side. Put the battered bread immediately into the preheated pan (Don’t let the bread sit in the egg mixture or it will get soggy and rip. A few seconds on each side will do it).

IMG_20160201_164322

If you left the heart cut-out of the bread, you can dump a little of the egg mixture into the empty heart to fill it with scrambled eggs like I did.

Flip so both sides are cooked. Repeat with the next piece of bread until you’re done!

IMG_20160201_164216

**Use a medium heat so that the French toast cooks the whole way through slowly, not just cooking the outer layer which then burns before the center hardens.

Serve with either syrup or powdered sugar. You can also use the cookie cutter idea for Eggs in a Basket! Butter both sides of the bread and cut out a heart. Put the bread in the pan and crack an egg into the cut-out section.

IMG_20160202_084125