Recipe Review

Ina Garten’s 5-Ingredient Cookies Are the Sweetest Treat to Make for Valentine’s Day

updated Feb 24, 2021
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As Valentine’s Day weekend approaches, everyone considers how best to show their love — in flower form, in gifts, in favors, and, for most people, in stomach-pleasing treats. But we’ve also all been stuck inside baking our butts off for almost a year now and the “big, complicated projects” phase has come and gone for many. So that’s why we looked to Ina Garten. Nobody does it better when it comes to finding the easiest, most appropriate way to express emotions through food.

Obviously we know that — we’ve talked about her Valentine’s Day dinners, edible gifts, recipes, and even a soundtrack for the holiday in previous years — but so does Al Roker. For his Today colleague’s secret Santa-style gift exchange for Valentine’s Day this year (“Coworker Cupid”) he turned to Ina’s go-to shortbread cookie recipe, which she shared on the show over the holidays last year.

The recipe, which she adapted from Eli Zabar, one of her mentors, takes very little time — less than an hour, even with the chilling period. It only calls for a few ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. To make the cookie, you simply mix the butter and sugar, add the extract, and then sift together the flour and salt before adding that as well. It chills for 30 minutes, then you can cut and bake for about 20 minutes. 

The recipe comes from the original Barefoot Contessa Cookbook from 1999, but Ina’s still making it on television, so clearly it’s a classic.

For his Cupid Coworker gift, Al Roker made the cookies for his co-host Sheinelle Jones. Instead of making heart-shaped cookies like Ina did, however, he cut out the letters to spell “LOVE” and then dipped them into melted chocolate. It’s a good demonstration of the versatility of these cookies, should you want to adapt them into your own gift.