It's that day folks. The (official) day we celebrate love.
Sadly, like most North American holidays now, Valentines's Day has become about buying things to show your love. I like to try and keep it real-er by showing my loved ones I care with things that actually matter, aka, cookies.
Let's get down to the cookie love!
Step 1: Recipe, Supplies & Template
Here is my minty candy heart version of Wold630's recipe for Icebox Sugar Cookie dough:
- 1 cup salted butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 egg (room temperature)
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
The best thing about this recipe is that it keeps it's shape really well. There's very little softening of the cookie's edges while baking, which helps mimic the hard edges of the heart candies.
Supplies you'll need:
- Large mixing bowl
- Wooden spoon or hand held mixer
- Measuring spoons and cups
- Professional grade food coloring gels or drops (I used yellow, green, blue, orange, pink, and red)
- Edible red decorating pen
- Cutting board
- Wax paper
- Parchment paper
- Baking sheets
- Exacto knife of sharp paring knife
- 1/4" thick rolling pin guides (See two steps down for description.)
- Disposable gloves (optional)
Step 2: Cut Out the Heart Templates
Print the attached pdf onto card stock (thick paper).
Then use scissors or an exacto knife to cut out the candy heart shaped templates. These are what we'll use as guides for cutting out the cookies.
I like to use the positive hearts and follow their outside contour with a knife to cut out my cookies, but I know some people prefer to be able to push up against a negative template. Try both and use whichever feels best to you.
Step 3: Rolling Pin Guides
I wanted these cookies to be an even, thick, thickness so that they resembled the proportions of the original candy hearts as much as possible.
To do this, I made two height guides for rolling out the dough in between. I used what I had on hand; large paint stir sticks and some tongue depressors. Their combined thickness was 1/4".
If you have 1/4 inch wood, even better. You can also use books or anything else you have two of that are flat and can get bits of dough on them! :D
I show you how to use these later in the instructable.
Step 4: Mix Butter & Sugar
In a large mixing bowl, use a spoon or a hand mixer to blend the butter and sugar.
Step 5: Egg, Vanilla, & Peppermint
Add the egg, along with the vanilla and peppermint extracts. Mix well.
Step 6: Sift & Mix
Sift in the 3 cups of flour and baking powder. Blend until all the dry ingredients are mixed in.
Step 7: Divide & Conquer
Use your hands to form the dough into a ball.
Cut the ball into 5 pieces and place them onto wax paper. You want one small dough ball per 'candy heart' color. I used:
Step 8: Prepare to Color
If you have them, I recommend wearing disposable gloves. If you get any of the colors on your hands they can temporarily dye your skin.
Lay out a small pile of toothpicks. We'll be using these to scoop bits of gel color out and onto the dough.
Step 9: Get Color Full
Starting with the lightest color (yellow in my case), add a small bit of gel coloring and mix it into the dough ball by kneading it with your hands. Do this until there aren't any streaks.
If the color isn't dark enough, add a bit more gel and mix again.
Repeat this for the rest of the colors, washing your gloves off in between if necessary.
Step 10: Prep Baking Pans
Line two baking pans with parchment paper.
Step 11: Roll & Cut the Dough
Place a large piece of fresh wax paper on a cutting board.
Then, place the rolling height guides on either side of a piece of colored dough, so that the distance between the guides is just slightly narrower than width of the rolling pin.
Run the rolling pin back and forth along the guides until the dough ball is flush with the guides.
Use a heart shaped template and an exacto or paring knife to cut out as many hearts as you can.
Remove the excess pieces of dough from around the hearts and squish it into a ball. This can be rolled out again for more hearts.
Step 12: Line Them Up!
Use a thin spatula to transfer the cut cookies to the lined baking sheets.
These cookies won't spread when baked, so there's no need to leave more than 1/2" space between them.
Once all the cookies are cut and placed on the lines baking sheets, stick them in the freezer for 1 hour before baking. This is the trick that keeps the dough from spreading while baking!
Preheat the oven to 350° F and once the cookies are frozen, bake them for 8-10 minutes, until the bottoms are JUST starting to turn golden.
Set on a rack to cool.
Step 13: Love Notes
Once the cookies have cooled, use the edible red pen to write sweet nothings on them.
You can use classic heart candy sayings (see the first image above for inspiration), or you can come up with your own!
NOTE: I discovered that my red pen had lost it's luster and the ink was coming out a very weak pink. So I ended up using it like a brush, mixing some red gel and liquid drops together to make an 'ink' and then just dipping the end of the tired pen into it before writing each saying!
Step 14: Happy Making!
Where is the love? It's right here in these cookies.
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!