Decorate Them Four Different Ways!
Start with our basic sugar cookie recipe and then go to town decorating your hearts with colorful royal icing, chocolate, orange glaze, and jelly. You will need at least one heart shaped cookie cutter. Kitchen supply stores, Michael’s, and Bed Bath & Beyond should have them or you can buy a set HERE.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar using the paddle attachment. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, combine baking powder, salt, and flour.
- Add flour mixture to butter mixture gradually, blending well after each addition.
- Divide dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half into a circle 1/8 inch thick. Cut out cookies and place on baking sheets; bake for 7-8 minutes. Reroll the scraps to use up all the dough.
- After taking out of the oven, let cookies sit one minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before decorating. Makes about 2-3 dozen cookies depending on what size cookie cutters you use.
Decorating Your Cookies
We decorated our heart cookies 4 different ways:
- Orange glaze
- Jam filled
- Royal icing
Melt 1/2 cup chocolate chips + 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil in a glass bowl in the microwave oven. Stir until smooth and completely melted. Dip cookies in chocolate and allow excess to drip off. Or drizzle designs with chocolate. Sprinkle with flaky salt.
Whisk together 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 – 2 tablespoons orange juice, and 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest. Smear a good layer of icing on the tops of the cookies and let harden.
When baking your cookies, cut out larger hearts and for each one, a matching heart with a smaller heart cut out of its center. (For each final cookie you will need an intact heart and a heart with a smaller heart cut into it.) Bake as directed. When cool, spread seedless jelly on the whole heart. Sprinkle the top heart with confectioner’s sugar and press gently over the jelly heart.
- In the bowl of stand mixer and using the whisk attachment, beat 3 oz. pasteurized egg whites until frothy. Add 4 cups confectioners’ sugar gradually and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take about 5 minutes. Divide into bowls and add food coloring, if desired.
For our cookies we used fresh beet juice, which turned the icing a light purple. To make beet juice, finely grate several tablespoons of beet into a bowl. Add the grated beet to a small, fine sieve and press out the juice with the back of a spoon into another small bowl or measuring cup. Or pile the grated beet onto a square of cheese cloth, bring up the corners, and squeeze out the juice. Add a few drops to a small bowl of royal icing, more or less depending on how deep you want the color. Note: if the icing is too thick, add a little water to thin it.
If you have piping bags and small tips, great. If you don’t, we used a plastic bag and cut off a tiny bit of one corner for a homemade piping bag, one for the purple and one for the white icing. Just fill the bag with a few tablespoons of icing, twist the bag, and start decorating. To add a base layer of frosting, you can just use a spoon to add a small dollop to the cookie and spread it around evenly. Then have fun decorating with the other color using your piping bag. When you’re done, let the cookies harden and dry completely. This should take about 2 hours.