Valentine's Day Conversation Hearts
Remember in middle school when you would have a crush on a certain boy, and they would give you one of those conversion hearts on Valentine's Day that said "love" or "be mine" and you would start dreaming of your future wedding? No? Just me?
We have all had some great, and not so great Valentine's Days, but they are definitely memorable! Full disclosure, I have been through more Valentine's Days solo than I have in a relationship. I was ALWAYS that girl who either got broken up with right before Valentine's Day, or just didn't have a boyfriend on the holiday. I don't have bad feelings towards the holiday though, because my dad still sends me flowers every year. He has been, and always will be the best Valentine that I could have asked for. He also gave me an inaccurate idea of what men are really like, and made my expectations way too high. No matter what though, Valentine's Day has always been one of my favorite holidays, because it gives me an excuse to bake, and make everything pink!
If you saw some of my Christmas posts, you would have seen the adorable gingerbread cut out cookies that I added to my hot chocolate bar. The unique cookie cutters are by a company called Cookie Cutter Kingdom! When I mentioned to them how much I loved the cookie cutters from Christmas, we teamed up for a Valentine's Day post. They decided to offer the From Scratch readers an opportunity to get a free cookie cutter on YOUR next purchase using the link below!
I am so excited to offer this to you all, because they have SUCH cute cookie cutters. You can get started on your Valentine's Day cookies with these adorable "conversation heart" cookies cutters. These are perfect for people who don't do well working with icing, because the cookies are already decorated when you stamp them with the cutter. I just added food coloring to my sugar cookie batter before I added in the flour to create a red dough.
I also like that these cookie cutters are not made from metal. When cookie cutters are made of metal, they tend to rust and go bad.
In order to get the "hard" icing, or royal icing, that you see on very professional cookies, you need to start with meringue powder. All brands require different amounts of water, and powder sugar, but generally those are the only other ingredients you need.
Royal icing can be sort of tricky, but after a little practice you will get the hang of it. Royal icing's texture can be adjusted easily from runny to thick, depending on what you are using it for. I like to have some of the icing thick, to create a boarder around the cookie, and for fun details. Then, the more runny texture is good for filling in the cookie, so that it is covered.
Soooo.... when whipping up the icing in my stand mixer, once I achieve the "runny" texture that I am looking for, I pour it out into a couple different bowls, depending on how many colors I need. Then, I whip up the rest of the frosting until it is thicker, which means it will hold its shape, and be able to create details and boarders on the cookies. I know it sounds like a weird science experiment, but once you do it, you will get the hang of it.
Another great trick! After I get my piping bags ready with the tips attached, I place them over a large/long glass, and then pour the icing into the bag. This is less messy then trying to hold the bag in one hand, and pour the icing with the other. It will get everywhere if you do it that way!
In this picture you can see that the dots are created with the thicker frosting. The cookie that is filled in with frosting is the more "runny" icing. In the picture above, the "hearts" are created with the runny frosting by making a dot, then running a toothpick down the center to create a heart.