Monday, February 13, 2012
Since Christmas we've been inundated with hearts, pink, red, and sweets in preparation for Valentine's Day. I guess I couldn't help but get in on the V-Day spirit with some hot pink heart cookies. I have to say the cookies were super easy, but I will always be so impressed by the bakers out there who ice their cookies so beautifully. The sugar cookies by themselves are perfect, delicate and buttery. They were a dream to work with, easy to roll out, cut out, and transfer to the cookie sheet. It was my first time working with royal icing though, and I can't say that we are best friends. My piping bag decided to explode and I was too frustrated to try using another one, so I just swirled the icing onto the cookies with a spoon. They weren't quite as pretty as I was hoping for, but the hot pink color was pretty fun!!
Cut-out Sugar Cookies
From The Kitchn
1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature for an hour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 ounces cream cheese (1/4 of a standard cream cheese package)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and add the sugar. Cream until light and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat until golden. Add the cream cheese and again beat until well incorporated. Add the flavorings and lemon zest.
Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl then add, bit by bit, to the butter/sugar mixture until fully incorporated.
Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour.
Heat the oven to 350° F. Divide the dough into smaller balls and roll out 1/4 to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut out cookies.
Bake cookies for 8 to 12 minutes, depending on thickness. The small, thinner ones started browning after about 8 minutes, and I didn't want these brown at all. The larger ones had a slight golden bottom after 11 minutes, which was perfect for my purposes.
Let cool before icing or decorating, and store in a tightly covered container.
(This recipe makes a ton of icing)
5 tablespoons meringue powder
3/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
1 kilogram of icing sugar
Whisk together water and meringue powder for 30 seconds. Add the cream of tartar and whisk for another 30 seconds.
Add all of the icing sugar and the vanilla. Blend together using a hand mixer, on low, for up to 10 minutes. To test the consistency, take a butter knife and draw a straight line, about an inch deep, in the icing. The line should take 10 seconds (or less) to disappear. If it remains after 10 seconds, add a bit more warm water until it reaches the right consistency. Mix in the food coloring. I used Wilton Gel Food Coloring in Rose - it turned out hot pink!