A Heart Full of Love

by catherinebrownell

 

heartcookie3

   Valentine’s Day has always been a big deal in my house. It’s my mother’s absolute favorite holiday and she always made sure the house was fit for a visit from cupid himself. She’s kept every single heart art project my sister and I have made since we started school and displays them all around. In fact, we have so many Valentine’s day decorations that they fill up two plastic storage totes. And naturally, the totes are bright pink. I’ve often made fun of my mother’s obsession but in the end I really have to thank her. Raising us as a single mother, she taught me that Valentine’s Day isn’t about having a boyfriend or a man to buy you chocolates. It’s about buying yourself chocolate and showing everyone around you a little extra love.

This year Valentine’s Day had been all about baking for me. All week I couldn’t wait for the weekend. I was on a mission to make the most beautiful sugar cookies for the ones I love the most. I was inspired to paint with royal icing after watching a youtube video. It gave instruction on how to achieve beautiful hand painted flowers. I knew a crisp white background with bright pink flowers would be the perfect decoration for some heart shaped cookies. They were truly a joy to make and I fell in love with the finished product. The bright pops of color are just what my kitchen needed. The actual process is a little slow and painstaking so if you don’t have a ton of patience you may not want to go this route. The chocolate sugar cookie is so delicious that it really could do without all the fancy frosting work. I’m sure no one would be disappointed after tasting them.

For a great tutorial on the icing technique I used click here.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

(from Lilaloa)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup cocoa
  • 3 cups flour

Method

Cream butter, shortening and sugar together. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add baking powder and salt and mix again. Stir in the cocoa until well blended. Add flour 1 cup at a time. It will be really soft and look all wrong, and you will want to add more flour, but DON’T DO IT.  From here put it into the fridge and allow it to chill for at least an hour. Roll out on lightly floured surface. Bake at 375 F for 6-8 minutes.

Royal Icing

(from Lilaloa)

Ingredients

  • 4 tsp dried egg whites
  • 1/4 cup of room temperature water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (or 1/4 tsp cream of tartar)
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar

Method

Mix water and egg whites in the bottom of a mixing bowl. Let stand 3-5 minutes. Add lemon juice or cream of tartar, whichever you choose. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Add powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix on medium just until combined. The resulting icing should also be about stiff peak thick. From here you can add small amounts of additional water to reach your desired icing consistency.

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