Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Valentines Cookies

As you will see from my next post I generally don't go all-out on Valentines Day, however I've decided this year to share the love (of course purely for the sake of my blog) and do a little more than I normally would.

Both the cupcakes and cookies are so easy to make and of course all of the fun is in the decorating. Ideal for making with children if you have willing participants around looking for something to do, or in my case a fun and relaxed evening in the kitchen alone!

Sugar Cookies
The recipe I use for my sugar cookies is taken from Peggy Porschen's book, Pretty Party Cakes. They make delicious, crisp cookies that taste wonderful but also provide a nice smooth top perfect for icing and decorating as you please. For these particular cookies I used the zest of a lemon to make them lemon cookies as it was a beautiful sunny day when I made them, however you could use the seeds from a vanilla pod or the zest from a orange or lime.

200g unsalted butter
200g caster or berry sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1 large egg
400g plain or all-purpose flour

To decorate:
12g / 1 heaped tbsp dried egg white powder (meringue powder)
500g icing sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
5-6 tbsp water
Pink & red food colouring
Edible red & pink glitter (my glitter is from Edible Glitter)

Cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest (or other flavouring of your choice) using an electric mixer. Be careful not to over mix as this can cause the mixture to spread during baking. Lightly beat the egg then mix into the creamed sugar until well mixed. With the mixer on low gradually add the flour until a dough forms. Take the dough out and form it into a large disc then wrap in cling film and chill for at least 1 hour.

Line a baking tray with baking parchment or greaseproof paper.

Sprinkle some flour on a large chopping board or your work surface. I tend to cut the dough in half and work on one half at a time. Put the dough onto the floured surface and knead slightly before rolling out to roughly ¼ inch in thickness. Using cookie cutters of your choice (obviously since these are Valentines cookies hearts were the shape of my choice!) cut out the shapes and carefully place onto the lined baking tray. Once they are all cut out chill the cookies for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F/ 180C/ GM 4. Bake the cookies for 8-12 minutes, depending on the size of cookie, until they have just turned golden-brown at the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack.

While the cookies are cooling make up your icing. Sift the dried egg white (meringue powder) and icing sugar into the bowl of a free-standing mixture or large bowl, then add the lemon juice and 5 tbsp of water. Starting on a very low setting mix everything together then increase the speed and mix until well combined, glossy and smooth. In order to pipe the outlines you want the icing to be fairly thick so don't be tempted to thin it too much. Divide the icing into bowls depending on how many colours you want to make, then add a little food colouring to each bowl (I use gel paste food colouring so it doesn't thin the icing anymore and use a cocktail stick to add the colouring – a little goes a long way!). Put a little of each icing into a piping bag – I use sandwich bags then cut the very corner off so you just have a small hole. Carefully pipe the outline of the cookies. Once they have all been done you can add a little extra water to each icing to thin it slightly. Spoon some icing into the centre of each cookie and carefully let it flood to the edges, helping it with the back of the spoon or a small spatula. Once the cookie is evenly covered set aside and repeat using up all of that colour. Once you are finished sprinkle over the edible glitter if using then let dry completely. Repeat with all of the cookies then sit back and admire your handy work!


20 comments:

  1. these are beautiful! i love all the valentine's day goodies circulating around the blogosphere... i don't usually go crazy for v-day either but it's different when i blog about baking and sweets! ;)

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  2. Your photos are beautiful lynds x

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  3. Thanks Sillianah! It's funny the difference it makes when it's baking! My next post is a Valentines Meal and I'm sure it won't get as much attention as the cookies and cupcakes.

    Sarah, thank you so much - im still working on my photo skills....definitely need more practice but for the meantime they work! It's much harder avoiding thumb prints on the cookies than the cupcakes! I'm sure if you look closely there are a few lurking!!! : )

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  4. Beautiful cookies, and pictures! These look so delicious. I too don't go crazy for valentines day, my hubby and I don't usually even celebrate it. Lol!

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  5. Mmmm sooo making these for Valentines Day, and I can use my edible glitter I got for T's b day cake!

    P.S: Yayyy you found another use for the goodie box too hehe!

    ~*~Chels~*~

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  6. Those are so cute!

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  7. Wow...these are really beautiful. I would enjoy putting on the icing. I just came back from the supermarket and did not see anyone as nice as yours. I love it.

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  8. They are gorgeous. And the presentation is beautiful too. Ummm.... I am not doing anything for Valentine's. It comes on the back of a week of three birthdays in this house so by the time I have done cakes and things for those, I generally can't be bothered which is a shame as ordinarily I would love making pretty heart shaped things. Oh well. No reason not to make something romantic at another time of year.

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  9. Lyndsey, they are so sweet, so pretty to look at and bet they're just as good to eat. Too pretty: I'd tell family not to eat them and keep them forever ;-)

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  10. Thank you everyone for your lovely comments - it really means a lot to me! Valentines is just an excuse but really they should be made all year round as they are so much fun!
    Jill - they have to eat them so I have an excuse to make more! : D

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  11. Adore your glitter hearts! Congrats on making Top Nine! :)

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  12. I love the ones decorated with sanding sugar! Not an easy task to get them so neat and gorgeous! Happy Valentine's Day!

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  13. Such a beautiful photo. Congrats on your top 9!

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  14. Thank you all! I'm so delighted to have made the Top 9 on Foodbuzz - what a great start to the weekend! : D

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  15. Hi Lyndsey. Congrats on making top 9! Your cookies are really lovely! Love your blog and I just became your newest follower ;) I look forward to seeing what you whip up next!!!

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  16. wow these are so bright and vivid!!!! my cookies are often dull and sort of soft looking, these are so nice and buld. thanks for sharing the tips!

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  17. I think if you're going to 'do' Valentine's day you have a responsibility to embrace it's pink sugariness! Beautiful biscuits. x

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  18. Beautiful beautiful cookies. Congrats on top 9 :)

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  19. Thank you all so much - I'm absolutely thrilled!!
    Kathleen - im delighted to have you as my newest follower - welcome! Hope you enjoy my blog - Valentines Meal coming up next (hopefully later on this afternoon!) : )

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