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Valentine’s Day Heart Sugar Cookies
Happy Valentine’s day! With all the cold and snowy weather we’ve been having, I’ve been in the mood to bake special treats while in the comforts of my own home. My kids always love it when I make cookies (and so does my husband). Around here cookies are a rare treat, so it is extra special when I make them! Since Valentine’s day is here I decided to make some fun heart-shaped cookies for the family to enjoy.
I always like reading recipe posts that are specific and detailed, so that’s how I am showing you mine. My favorite sugar cookie recipe makes the softest cookies with ever so slightly crisp edges. I start with organic ingredients wherever I can (sugar, flour, pastured eggs, and butter) for this cookie recipe.
If you ask me, sprinkles are the perfect way to decorate a sugar cookie. And my favorite sprinkles to use are by Sweetapolita. I’ve been following her baking blog for years, as I love the creative cakes and cookies she makes. She has the nicest artisan sprinkles I have ever seen, and they are just what you need to create fun and whimsical Valentine cookies.
Mixing the Dough
After assembling all of my ingredients. I start by mixing my dough in my Kitchen Aid Stand mixer. The recipe I use starts with butter and sugar creamed together. Add 1 egg and vanilla (with a dash of almond extract!), then add flour + baking powder + salt. Just 7 basic ingredients. When I measure my ingredients I alway use a scale to weigh my flour, butter, and sugar, as that is the easiest way you are ensuring you have the right measurements. And the kids love to watch (just so they can lick the bowl)!
After a few minutes the dough starts to come together as a ball, and that’s when you know it is perfectly mixed.
Divide your ball of dough into two smaller ones so they are easier to work with. It is critical to chill your cookie dough for at least an hour, and I like to roll it into a disk before I wrap it in plastic wrap to put it in the refrigerator.
Once the dough is chilled, it is much easier to cut into shapes that keep their hold. It is so fun to cut the dough into shapes! Here I am using these adorable heart shaped cookie cutters to make my cookies. These are another nice set I have used in the past as well. I love using my Artisan Metal Works silicone baking mat to roll out my dough. This handy mat makes cleanup simple. And it is perfect for baking too, as my cookies literally slide right off the pan.
These cookies bake for 9-11 minutes at 350 degrees. You know they are done when the edges start to turn golden. You definitely do not want to over cook these cookies, because they will be crunchy and dry if you do so.
Let cookies cool for an hour or so on a baking rack. I was a bit impatient while making these, so I set them out in my garage to cool faster.
The Perfect Royal Icing
While my cookies are cooling, this is when I make my royal icing to decorate. The royal icing recipe I use is very simple – confectioners sugar, mereingue powder, and water. I like using meringue powder in Royal icing as it makes it sturdy and easy to decorate with, and the drying time is much quicker that with other recipes. The key to a good royal icing is to make it the right consistency. Your Royal icing shouldn’t be too stiff or runny, but melts right back into the bowl of icing. I usually add 7-9 tablespoons of water per pound of confectioners sugar. If your’s is too runny, add more confectioner’s sugar. If too stiff add more water.
For these cookies I used red and pink food coloring. I always use Americolor gel food coloring as it blends well and the colors are vibrant. Just a small amount gives you just the color you need.
To begin icing your cookie, start by piping a heart outline with a round tip such as a Wilton #4 tip (alternatively you can get all the tips you will ever need with this kit). I just stick the tip inside a disposable piping bag with the end cut off to keep things simple.
To flood the cookie, I like to use a squeeze bottle to easily fill the outline I just created. And then I use a small kabob stick to spread the icing evenly and fill any gaps. You want to do this right away as your icing will harden relatively fast. This process isn’t perfect, and I will tell you the more you practice the easier it gets. I’ve had so many failed cookie attempts just because I didn’t do something quite right.
Final Decorating Tips
Once you’ve iced your cookies, now it’s time to add the sprinkles! I love using Sweetapolita sprinkles because the varied shapes and sizes really makes for a more interesting cookie. If you are new to using Royal icing these simple heart shaped cookies are perfect for a beginner. Definitely take your time when it comes to decorating your cookies. And this is where the kids can get involved too! My youngest daughter had so much fun helping me decorate the cookies with sprinkles.
Someone is enjoying their cookie!
Valentine Heart Sugar Cookie Recipe
- For the dough:
- 2 and 1/4 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (1 and 1/2 sticks; 180g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- optional: 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- *Recipe by Sally's Baking Addiction
- For the Royal Icing:
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- 3 tablespoons meringue powder
- 7-9 tablespoons water
- For the cookies:
- Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar until completely smooth and creamy. Next add egg, vanilla, and (optional) almond extract.
- Then add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until dough comes together as a ball.
- Divide dough into two smaller balls, and then roll into a disk to chill. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1-2 hours (up to 2 days).
- Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut into shapes. Re-roll the remaining dough and continue cutting until all is used. Repeat with the second dough piece.
- Arrange cookies on baking sheets one inch apart. Bake for 11-12 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges. I like to rotate the baking sheet halfway through bake time so that all cookies are cooked evenly.
- Remove cookies from oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes. Then transfer to wire cooling rack to completely cool.
- For the Icing:
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the confectioners sugar, meringue powder, and water on high speed for 5 minutes. I usually start with 7 tablespoons of water, and add water or confectioners sugar until I reach the desired consistency. When lifting the icing with a spoon, the icing should drizzle down and smooth out within 10-15 seconds.
- Using a #1 tip pipe heart shape outlines onto your cookie. Then flood the cookie and add sprinkles!
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