Be-My-Valentine Heart Cookies

(The cookies in the photo were part of a triple batch of Valentine cookies made by a small group of Vermont children who donated them to their local soup kitchen. Share the love!)

By Anne-Marie Keppel

Will make approximately 34 cookies - 17 sandwich cookies and 17 small cookie cutouts. For this recipe, pick out one or more of your favorite flavored jams. You will need pink frosting and sprinkles.


1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar


1 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water
2 drops food coloring

  1. For frosting: blend sugar, salt, and flavoring. Add just enough water to make it easy to spread. Add food coloring and mix well. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and confectioners' sugar. Beat in egg, vanilla and almond extract. Mix well.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda and cream of tartar; blend into the butter mixture. Divide dough into thirds and shape into balls.
  4. Working with 1/3 of the dough at a time, roll out dough into desired thickness on a slightly floured surface. For each heart sandwich cookie, cut out two three-inch hearts. Cut out the center of ONE of the 3-inch hearts about one inch (save smaller heart shapes).
  5. Place each piece separately on an ungreased cookie sheet, 1 - 2 inches apart. Bake in a preheated, 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven until lightly browned (7-8 minutes for 1/4 inch thick cookies). Cool completely on wire rack.
  6. Spread your choice of jam on the large whole cookies.  Frost the open centered cookies with Pink Valentine Frosting, cover with sprinkles and place on top of the jam covered cookie to form the sandwich.
  7. Frost the small "insides" of the hearts and serve as separate cookies.

 Bon appetit! 

* Frosting recipe from allrecipes.com.

Valentine Flowers - Ikebana Style

By Anne-Marie Keppel

Don't order flowers for your loved one this Valentine's Day. Instead, make your gift more intimate by creating an Ikebana arrangement!  

Ikebana, traditional Japanese flower arrangement, has its origins in Shinto where arrangements are a part of shrine offerings.  

What sets ikebana apart is the asymmetry in design - open spaces create harmony between the flower stems and the container.  

This contemplative art form is meant to bring beauty, vividness, and wisdom into our lives and environment. The practice of ikebana, combined with contemplative meditation, is art in action.  Although this is a very specific practice, you can try your hand at it with some beginner instructions  (if you cannot attend an ikebana class or find a friend to help you before Valentine's Day).  Simple instructions can be found at:  Ikebana Instructions eHow.com

For more information on other Shambhala Arts visit:  Shambhala Arts

*Karmê Chöling will be hosting Shambhala Art this April 6-13 with Arawana Hayashi and Laura Simms.