it's always been a tradition among a few of my friends to bake and decorate cookies for each holiday, and because we've pumped out sugary pink and red love almost every valentine's day for the last 5 years, we had no choice but to keep the tradition alive. this weekend i invited them over for a cookie making & decorating slumber party, and the results were my favourite to date.
how we do: 'heart marbled' valentine's day cookies
using this recipe for royal icing, and a top secret family recipe for sugar cookies (this recipe is pretty damn close), we made enough icing and dough to yield approximately 6 dozen cookies. we chose to stick with classic hearts, and went with three different sizes. once you get through the less fun part (making the dough, rolling, cutting and the baking), you can sit down to do the more fun part -- the decorating.
again to keep things clean and simple, we made just three colours of icing; a dark red, a bubble gum pink, and a pastel baby pink. i prefer to use gel food colouring when dying icing (as opposed to the wee liquid bottles), as it's much more potent, so not only do you need less of it to achieve your desired colour, but it ends up more true to the colour you are going after. this tutorial will explain how we outlined, filled & added a heart marbled detail to some of our cookies.
using a #2 piping tip, start by outlining the cookies with your icing colour of choice. allow that to sit and harden up while you outline any other cookies you may use this design for. letting the outline harden creates a border for your icing to stay confined in, which looks tidier, and is easier to work with. when the outline has hardened, go back and fill or "flood" the centre of your heart with the same icing. note: some tutorials will advise that using a thicker consistency icing for outlining, and thinner consistency icing for flooding is the best way to go, however we were too fucking lazy to do this, so we did it our way. feel free to be a hero.
while your icing is still fresh and wet, you can add your design. using the same size tip, pipe a line of dots along the outside edge on one half of your cookie. using a toothpick, pull through all the dots until you reach the end, and repeat on the other side, wiping the toothpick clean before you go. working on one half at a time ensures your dots are as wet as they can be, which makes them melt into the bottom layer of icing more easily, and create an even design. allow it to harden, and you're golden.
this little detail looks just as sweet on one half of a smaller cookie, as it does all the way around for larger cookies. it's an easy way to dress up your valentine's day baking, and looks professional enough that your friends just might think you paid someone to make them, when you really spent 4 hours on a snowy saturday getting it just right. and if you want to stick to tried & tested classic conversation hearts, well those are always fun too. my valentine is one lucky bastard.