These cookies look just like the Sweetheart Candies that have been around for decades! They are made from a simple sugar cookie recipe (Alton Brown has a good one). We used royal icing to make a smooth and colorful top and edible markers to write the Valentine's messages. Meringue powder and edible markers can be purchased at Sur la Table in Santa Rosa.
Valentine's Day Sweetheart Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar. Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack.
While cookies are cooling make the royal icing (recipe below or you can buy the powder and make it with that). If you haven't used Royal Icing it takes a bit of practice to get it right. To get the smooth surface on top of the cookie, the icing must be a thin consistency. The basic rule for this is to add water until you run your spoon through the icing and the line disappears in approximately 10 seconds. If your icing is too thick add more water (a little at a time). If your icing is too thin add more sugar.
Separate the icing into bowls and add food coloring (as many colors as desired).
Add to piping bottles or piping bag (or ziploc) with a small nozzle or opening. Pipe an outline around the outside border of the cookie to form a border.
Fill in with the same color and smooth to obtain a glossy, flat surface. Pop bubbles using a toothpick. Some hints about Royal Icing can be found online.
Dry completely (at least 3-4 hours). Grab those cool edible markers!
On our cookies we wrote expressions from the Sweetheart Candies, but the kids can get creative too. My daughter was writing her own messages on some coookies and my son was drawing pictures on them.
Happy Valentine's Day!
3 ounces pasteurized egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-4 cups confectioners' sugar
In large bowl of stand mixer combine the egg whites and vanilla and beat until frothy. Add confectioners' sugar gradually, until desired consistency is reached, and mix on low speed until sugar is incorporated and mixture is shiny. Turn speed up to high and beat until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks. This should take approximately 5 to 7 minutes.