Valentine’s cookie

February 9, 2010  •  Category:


Even if one does not want to think of the topic, one is  forced to think of it, as the Valentine’s day phenomenon is now worldwide; it is celebrated in Lebanon,in the U.S.A, in Europe or Australia, Japan,…etc.

A few favorite quotes:

From Napoléon: ” In matters  of love, the only victory is in flight” En amour, la seule victoire est dans la fuite.


  • The heart has its own reasons and does not answer to logic. Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait pas. Jacques Prévert.

From our own Kahlil Gibran: ” Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit

…and the great (Syrian) poet Nizar Kabbani who wrote about love and whose poems are sung so beautifully by Kazem El-Saher, the #1 Arab and Iraqi singer. Taina, the Northshorewoman, talks about Nizar Kabbani and lists a few of her favorite poems.

Each person thinks of love differently. Some people think of it as a beautiful thing, others as a violent feeling that brings pain as well. Of course, here we are talking about romantic love, but to me any kind of love involves a certain amount of pain; (feel free to put  your two cents in)

So, in trying to come up with a dessert I thought of something that would convey how I see it: It is not easy because it can be tender, it can be violent, it can be soft, it can be rough, it can be tumultuous, it can be serene.

So, I think I am going to explore  various interpretations since I can’t settle on only one.

Today, it is a ganache enveloping a shortbread, known in Lebanese as ghoraybeh, for the tender one.


  • 200 g of your favorite chocolate (2 bars)
  • 150 g of whipping cream (1/2 pint)
  • flavoring: could be anything, liqueur, a spice, or nothing at all (up to one tablespoon of liquid)

  1. Cut the chocolate in small pieces or squares.
  2. Heat the cream in a small saucepan to the boiling point (notice steam and little bubbles on the edges). Add the chocolate, let it sit there for a minute, then stir to combine.Turn off the heat and stir until the ganache is bright and shiny and smooth.
  3. Let it cool for about 15 minutes. Then pour into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip, and keep the pastry bag filled with ganache in a tall glass till needed. Cool in the fridge for 15 minutes or until it is firm enough to pour into the shape you want.
  4. Shape into a heart or anything else you like and let it firm up in the fridge for a quarter of an hour. Decorate by sprinkling dragées or cocoa powder or powdered sugar and serve.


  • 80 g.  of powdered sugar
  • 80 g. of  shortening
  • 170 g. of cake flour
  • flavoring: could be 2 teaspoons of arak (or ouzo or pastis), or anise extract or rose water or anything that you feel like using.
  1. Place the shortening in a mixing bowl. Place a sifter over the bowl and sift the sugar into the bowl.
  2. Mix the sugar and shortening with the paddle for at least 15 minutes, scraping the bowl every so often, until the mixture is considerably lighter in color and smooth.
  3. Sift the flour over the sugar mixture and mix till blended and the dough is compact and soft. You will add the flavoring at this time, along with a tablespoon of cream (or milk) if the dough is too dry or brittle.
  4. Gather the dough into a ball and wrap in wax paper. Set aside in the fridge for about one hour.

When ready to bake:

  1. Place the dough on a sheet of wax paper and cover it with another sheet of wax paper.
  2. Using a rolling pin, stretch it into 1/4 inch thickness and remove the top layer of wax paper.
  3. Cut into the shape of your choice. Gather the scraps and start over; or freeze to bake later.
  4. Bake in a preheated 325F oven for 15 minutes, do not let it get brown or toasted.


  1. Place the cookie in the center of a plate, flipping it and dabbing the back  with a bit of ganache so that it will stay put on the plate.
  2. Using the pastry bag as a guide, trace a tube of ganache all around the cookie to marry the shape of the cookie. Let it firm up in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Sift some gold dust on the  ganache (and cookie)  if you wish. Decorate with gold dragées. (optional). I prefer the cookie plain, so I do this operation while I cover the cookie.

NOTE: Gold dust, dragées,  can be found at cake supply stores or online through a number of outfits. It can be sifted over the ganache or painted with a brush; however to be painted it needs to be mixed with a little lemon extract or alcohol like Vodka or Gin.

I got  this cookie mold (years ago) online from :houseonthehill

Sources for the recipe: Ganache recipe, merci to Senga

Ghoraybeh recipe is adapted; the classic recipe calls for ghee, I found American shortening works fine (Crisco) and calls for flour oo, which is hard to find in the US, I substituted cake  flour.

I have frozen leftover ganache up to 3 months without any problem. Put in a tight plastic container or bag, freeze and defrost at room temp or in the microwave (carefully) and reuse.




27 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Erica says:

    Wow1 What a beautiful dessert!!!! I am drooling 🙂

  2. oum mouncifrayan says:

    un délice des rêves!!! grand bravo

  3. Rachana Kothari says:

    Wow!!! Hats off! You have done an awesome job dear! I just kept on looking at these beautiful cookies… and didn’t know that we can freeze chocolate ganache and that too for so long… Please pass on one cookie to me:)

  4. SE says:

    Joumana…this looks so cute and delicious..I loved the gold dust on the cake and the heart shaped cookie…awesome job !!! can send this to one of the events on priya’s blog..u can find her in my comments

  5. Sushma Mallya says:

    so cute and a fabulous looking dessert…wish i could taste this one…truely beautiful and very tempting…

  6. Rosa says:

    A luscious dessert! I love the gold powder decoration and that pretty heart!



  7. Doria says:

    Ton coeur est très mignon pour la Saint-Valentin !
    Je te souhaite une très belle soirée,
    Bisous, Doria

  8. Tony says:

    wow–that’s a beautiful dessert! As much as I like ghraybe I’d probably eat my way around that beautifully rich ring of chocolate ganach first haha 🙂

  9. Priya says:

    Woww such a gorgeous and beautiful dessert..

  10. peter says:

    Joumana, I hope you get to share this posh dessert and I’ll leave you with a quote:

    “To be in love is merely to be in a perpetual state of anesthesia – to mistake an ordinary young man for a Greek god or an ordinary young woman for a goddess”

  11. Julie says:

    C’est magnifique, mais quel talent et quelle imagination!!
    Ton article aussi est superbe, j’aime beaucoup la citation de Prévert (moins celle de Napoléon!!).
    Ton dîner de St Valentin est extra!

    Je m’arrête là pour le moment, je n’en peux plus de baver devant chacune de tes recettes hihi!
    Gros bisous

  12. Bria @ West of Persi says:

    Lovely. What a gorgeous pattern. Btw, I like you thoughts on love. Such a complex and mysterious subject.

  13. Stacy says:

    Wow! This is just gorgeous. I can’t imagine the thought and time that went into it. I love it!

  14. Arlette says:

    what a nice presentation for the Ghraybeh…
    Looks awesome , love your cookie mold, checked the site, they do have
    nice stuff…

  15. northshorewoman says:

    Nathalie Handal’s poem Forgetting, Love says exactly that love/pain thing.

  16. rajani@eatwritethink says:

    this is superb!! beautiful love the mold. where is it from?

  17. PJ says:

    Looks so lovely that if you give this to me I would sit there and admire it all day than tasting it!!

  18. Simi Mathew says:

    Awesome….looks so yummylicious

  19. Faiza says:

    MY MY !! that looks awesome…nice cookie mould dear….perfect cake for V- day

  20. HistoryOf GreekFood says:

    Beautiful, beautiful, Joumana. A piece of art!

  21. Bo says:

    Too beautiful to eat…well almost I would still eat it…it looks delicious!

  22. Jeanne @ Cooksister! says:

    Oh wow – I’ve never heard of this dessert but how gorgeous it is! How can a girl resist a dessert that features chocolate AND gold??

  23. spice says:

    Another recipe added to my “to try” list…..thanks for the tip on storing ganache……I so love your clicks they make me hungry…..

  24. Sophie says:

    Waw!! This dessert is a true winner!! Georgous & so festive too!!

    MMMMM,..loveling it!!

  25. Murasaki Shikibu says:

    This is really beautiful. 🙂

  26. valentine chocolate says:

    It is definitely delicious and unique recipe for deserts.This is perfect for lovers this valentines day.

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