Valentine's Day is fast approaching and you've probably already figured out your plans, bought your chocolate, and covered your tiny New York apartment with fresh rose petals. But there's something nice about big heart-shaped food too, such as the Heart-Shaped Marzipan Cookie from Breads Bakery ($2.75- $9.95). It comes in three flavors—strawberry, raspberry and apricot—and a variety of sizes.
When many people hear the word "marzipan" they immediately think of the overly bitter candy creations, often in the form of tiny trompe l'oeil fruits and vegetables. These cookies bear no resemblance to those confections in looks or flavor. The only thing they have in common is that both contain almond meal. These cookies actually taste similar to a Linzer tart but with an open face and a bit more fruit filling. Actually, I could hardly detect the almond flour in these.
The base of the cookie consists of a buttery, crumbly, shortbread. On top is a generous amount of fruit filling that's fenced in by a decoratively piped ring of marzipan. I tried the strawberry and apricot and both were excellent—sweet but you could still taste the fresh fruit. And this fruit filling is soft with no gumminess like you might find in a Pepperidge Farm Verona cookie.
As with all Breads Bakery's treats, the cookies taste like they came right out of the oven, because they probably did. And that's really Breads's secret weapon—their on-premises baking facility, which means you can probably find something fresh even if you roll in at 2 p.m. on a Saturday. Always check the cooling racks near the registers for what's hot.
If your special someone worships at the alter of carbohydrates, there's a giant heart-shaped baguette at least two and half times the weight of a standard one, but at $11.95 it's a hard price to swallow.
For more Valentine's Day sweet recommendations check Jacques Torres's favorite picks here.