For me Valentines Day is all about fun and romantic food. I could care less if I get a card or a present from my husband. I love flowers but he has learned over the years that they are much cheaper the following day.
What I love to do is cook a special meal including a decadent dessert on Valentines Day. This year things will be a little different as I will be in the hospital with our new baby boy! Since my daughter may not be at daycare on Valentines Day either, I wanted to create a fun Valentines Day treat for her to share with her friends.
If you read my blog regularly you know that I am not much of a baker. Anything I can find that makes baking easier I am game to try. I had never tried using refrigerated cookie dough for cut out cookies before, but I am happy to report it works great!! Just keep it cold.
If it gets too warm it will get tacky and hard to roll. If that happens, just pop it in the freezer or fridge to firm it up and keep on trucking.
Since I was keeping it simple with the dough I decided to try my hand at royal icing for the first time. Royal icing hardens at room temperature so it can be difficult to use but it makes such a beautiful presentation! I used a fun glitter gel icing to outline the cookies and then dyed the icing different pastel colors with gel dye to make them look like conversation hearts. Since the daycare kids (well, all but one) can’t read I decided to forgo the fun messages, but you could easily add them.
- 1 roll refrigerated sugar cookies
- 1/2 cup flour, divided
- 2 large egg whites
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 cups confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
- Gel food coloring
- Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Stir or knead in 1/4 cup flour until well blended. Remove half the dough, and refrigerate remaining dough until needed.
- Sprinkle half of sugar mixture onto work surface. With rolling pin, roll dough 1/8 inch thick. With 2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter dipped in sugar mixture, cut out dough hearts. On ungreased cookie sheets, place hearts 2 inches apart. Repeat with remaining dough and sugar mixture.
- Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
- In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the egg whites with the lemon juice until combined.
- Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined and smooth. (The right consistency is when you lift the beater, the ribbon of icing that falls back into the bowl remains on the surface for a few seconds before disappearing.
- If you need to thicken the icing add a little more confectioners sugar. If you need to thin it, add a little water.
- Divide the icing into your containers based on how much you will need of each one. Proceed to color the icing and then cover each container with a damp paper towel. It is key when working with royal icing not to allow it to dry out.
- Outline your cookies either with the royal icing, or I used a gel icing pen.
- Spoon in the icing to almost completely fill the inside the cookie. Then take a toothpick and gently use it to distribute the icing to any empty spots.
- Let the icing dry and harden.