Friday, February 15, 2013

My Heart Cookies

Valentine's Day was right around the corner.  We didn't really have plans then my mother invited us for dinner.  She din't want us to bring anything - this was her treat for us. Since my mother is a good cook I knew that whatever she made would be yummy!  

I hemmed and hawed about what to get everyone and was just not too inspired this year.  I then decided I would make big heart cookies.  Simple decorations and then they could be munched on at leisure.

Dug out my favorite cut out cookie recipe - KA's Holiday Butter Cookies - and went to work.  I made up the dough in the afternoon with the intentions *wink wink* of cutting out and baking the cookies that night.

Of course I didn't cut them out and bake them that night, instead we watched a movie.  So the next morning I had to get busy!  Didn't have a cookie cutter as big as I wanted.  I simply drew one, printed it and cut it out.  Inst-o cookie stencil.  Using a sharp knife cut around the stencil.  If it isn't perfect who cares?! Cookies made with love and crookedness are most tasty.

This recipe is nice because the cookies hold their shape and don't spread much during cooking.  They can be placed close together on the baking sheet.

I put the sheets of cookies into the fridge for about 10 minutes before baking.  Then bake until the edges of the cookies just get that light golden color to them.

Let them cool completely on a rack before icing the cookies.  I hand cut a dozen of the large hearts and then used the smaller cutter on the rest of the dough.  I made a double batch of dough and got a total of 12 large (5") and 36 medium (3") hearts.

Mixed up a double batch of icing.  I made white, light pink and darker pink.  I used a couple of squeeze bottles for the pinks. Coated the big hearts in white then drew simple designs on them with the pinks.

Took the rest of the icings and coated the small hearts.

Really like this icing.  It is very forgiving by smoothing out so nicely.

Waited for the icing - apparently not quite long enough though - to set up then put the cookies into cello bags with sticker tags.

Made a few cupid stops with the packages of small hearts.  Then gave the big hearts to my family last night at dinner.  Even though the icing stuck to the bags a bit on the big hearts we got rave reviews. 

Holiday Butter Cookies
Adapted from King Arthur

Cookies ~
5 ounces confectioners' sugar
9 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/8 teaspoon Fiori di Sicilia or flavor of choice
11 1/2 ounces King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

With a mixer cream together the sugar, butter, yolk, salt, vanilla and flavoring.  Once creamy and smooth add in the flour and mix until it comes together in a ball.
Divide the dough in half and flatten each into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least two hours.

When you are ready to roll out the dough, take out your dough and allow to rest on the counter for about 20 minutes until it feels pliable but still cold.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line your baking sheets with parchment paper for best results.

Using a little flour, roll out to the desired thickness, 1/4 inch seems to be a good thickness for this dough.  Cut out your cookies and place on the sheets.  Brush off the tops of the cookies to get rid of extra flour.  Place your filled sheets in the fridge for about 10 minutes before baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 11-14 minutes, until the edges just start to get golden.  Let the cookies cool on the pan for a few minutes then remove to a rack to cool completely before icing.

Icing ~
10 ounces confectioners' sugar or glazing sugar
1 1/4 ounces light corn syrup
2 tablespoons +/-; enough to make a spreadable icing
food coloring, optional

Combine the sugar, milk, and corn syrup to make a soft, spreadable icing, adding more milk if necessary.  You don't want the icing to be too thin so it covers nicely so go easy on the milk.
Divide the icing and tint the icing with food color if you wish.
Spread icing on cookies, using a knife. an off-set spatula, or even your finger.  Spread it all the way to the edges. Decorate with colored icing, sugars or sprinkles.

Allow the icing to harden before storing the cookies. *wink wink*

Have fun making cookies & enjoy!

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