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With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to try and improve my decorating skills by making a batch of heart shaped cookies. I do enjoy a theme and I am especially fond of Valentines Day. So to spread my love and cheer. I made these for my lovely coworkers.

Ingredients

Sugar Cookies

200g of all pupose flour

1/4 of a teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1 stick of butter (128g)

100g of white sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

Royal icing

1 egg white

1 teaspoon of lemon juice

200g of icing sugar

Directions

In a bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In a second bowl,  beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for about one hour or until firm enough to roll.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in centre of oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or just butter them up.

Remove one half of the chilled dough from the refrigerator and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch (1 cm). (Keep turning the dough as you roll, making sure the dough does not stick to the counter.)  Cut out desired shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter and transfer cookies to baking sheet. Place the baking sheets with the unbaked cookies in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill the dough which prevents the cookies from spreading and losing their shape while baking. Note: If you are not going to frost the baked cookies, you can sprinkle the unbaked cookies with sparkling sugar.

Bake cookies for about 8-10 minutes (depending on size) or until the edges are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Frost with royal icing, if desired. Be sure to let the royal icing dry completely before storing. (This may take several hours or overnight.)

To make the royal icing, beat the egg white with the lemon juice until they have quadrupled in volume. Add the sifted sugar and beat on low speed until smooth. If necessary, to get the right consistency, add more sugar or water. Add food coloring, if desired. You will need to split your icing into several different contains and add all the different colors you are planning to use. The icing needs to be used immediately or put in an airtight container as it hardens when exposed to air.

Pipe a line of icing around the outside of your cookie and allow it to set. Thin the icing a little while you are waiting for it to dry then apply a second coating in the middle of your cookie. This should be runnier and hence why it is called flood icing. If you are wanting to make cookies like me then you need to let each different color set before moving on to the next one. I saved the heart with the decorations for last. If you are stuck for ideas about how to decorate your cookies then try looking on Pinterest for inspiration. It’s amazing what some people can do with an icing bag.

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