We used to decorate brown lunch bags and hang them from our desk. Write our names in felt-tipped pens. We passed around stickered love notes, miniature candy bars. We all left feeling loved in those winter school days. It made us feel good to get a card from the pretty girls, even if they were obligatory. A week later, they’d all be in the trash. A month later, my mother would buy the remaining Valentine’s Day candy in the clearance aisle and we’d have it in our baskets by Easter. Love like that was budgeted. Obligatory, too.
I was 18 when I first celebrated a Valentine’s Day. I bought him gloves at a Macy’s in downtown so his hands weren’t so cold when he held mine. He bought my dinner—a Big Mac—and I thought it was the most romantic thing in the world. A week later, he proposed to me at a park where three rivers intersected. A month later we never talked again and I was relieved the day he told me he wanted to leave me. We were in a pizza place down the road from my dorm. I think he’s a waiter now somewhere out West. I don’t think of him much. Not at all, actually. But for a month I was sure I’d marry him. If for no other reason than because I was bored.
I lived for years thinking love was an obligation, a chore others had to do that I was too lazy or too unwilling to do myself. I spend even more years thinking it was an all-or-nothing bargain. I spent weekends in November thinking of how to end my relationships; I spent hours in February wrapping presents instead. Love for me came in waves, crashing and then disappearing for complete lunar cycles. Love for me came in soft like crickets and then fast like an EKG. Cicadas when it was good, loud and cacophonous in the summertime, then it’d die back down into molted skins—dry, brittle, blurred shapes of what it used to hold for us.
From Indian fast food where we shared our plates to an underground lake in Cancun where we fought about sex, from a weekday we forgot to go out to a five minute phone call, I have shared Valentine’s with boys who felt obligated to care for me. I was so desperate for anything they could give. I know now that I wasn’t the heart or the hand glove. Not the paper bag or the cavities. I was desperate and lonely, but I was young, too. This year I’m spending Valentine’s Day alone for the first time in six years. I’ll wake up like it’s any other day, but take time for myself. Drink coffee, stay in bed until I have to wash my face and start my day. Eat a bowl of cereal and a couple of these hand pies. I have years of celebrating ahead of me, but it’s good to be alone this year.
Molten Nutella Handpies
With Bob’s Red Mill’s coconut flour and a spoonful of Nutella to come spilling out of these bad boys, you can share these with that special someone or have them all for yourself. Makes 24 4-inch handpies (go crazy)
- 2 cup AP flour
- 1 cup coconut flour
- ½ cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso
- 1 ½ cup white sugar
- 8 tablespoons butter, cold
- ½ cup shortening, cold
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8-9 tablespoon ice water
- 2 jars Nutella hazelnut spread (if you want them really molten and gooey)
- 1/3 cup of flaked sea salt (a pinch per handpie)
- 1 egg, mixed with a little water for an egg was
1. Sift flours, cocoa powder, espresso, and sugar into the bowl of your food processor. Pulse twice to incorporate
2. Pulse in your fats, running motor until flour-fat mixture is the size of peas
3. With the motor running, add vanilla and then ice water, a tablespoon at a time
4. When dough begins to clump, turn motor off and turn onto a heavily floured work surface
5. Knead only a couple times to form into a disc and cut dough in half. Shape both halves into discs and refrigerate for an hour
6. While dough is resting, prep your station. You will need your Nutella, a couple spoons or a mini ice cream scoop, extra flour (this dough can handle it), your egg wash, a pastry brush, and 2 parchment-lined baking sheets
7. Take dough out of fridge when finished resting and you can preheat oven to 350*F now (assembling the handpies can take a bit of time, if you’re doing the whole 24)
8. Roll one disc out to be about a quarter inch thick and using either a floured 4-inch cookie cutter or even a glass and begin cutting out your rounds. One half your yield 24 rounds
9. Evenly space your rounds onto the parchment lined baking sheets and spoon some Nutella into each one, add a pinch of salt
10. Roll out second disc of dough and repeat steps of cutting out your rounds
11. For each round out of this disc, you will be placing on top of the prepared rounds that have Nutella on them
12. Lightly dip your pastry brush into your egg wash and go around the rim of the prepared Nutella-topped round. Place second round on top. Crimp with a fork to seal. Cut a small X on each one with a paring knife to vent the handpies while baking.
13. Repeat steps 11 and 12 for remaining 23 handpies
14. Brush each with an additional little egg wash for a nice crust while baking
15. Bake at 350* for 33-36 minutes. Enjoy immediately as the hazelnut spread oozes out like a molten chocolate cake
16. Enjoy and kiss someone cute for me!
Note: I am fortunate enough to be a Bob's Red Mill brand ambassador this year and will be partnering with them more and more throughout the year. While Bob's Red Mill supplied the ingredient, coconut flour, for this post, all opinions are my own. Check out their website for more information on all the amazing products they have to offer!