These Chocolate Valentine Sugar Cookies illustrate why there are not a lot of frosted cookies or decorated cakes on this blog. This is the very first time I tried "piping and flooding" cookies with royal icing, and it was a royal pain. Clearly, I'm more of a "rustic" baker.
However, my grandsons were hanging out with me as I iced them, and they thought I was a genius because I made these little hearts by dragging a toothpick through the icing. Judging by the number of cookies they ate, these cookies were a total success!
I'm definitely going to work on my royal icing skills, because these cookies are totally delicious!
The flooding part worked out fine, and I'm pretty happy with the little red hearts. I've just got to work on the piping part so the edges aren't so squiggly. Next time, I'm going to try using a smaller piping tip, and I'm going to try doing the piping sitting down so I can prop my elbow on the table for stability. I will not be defeated! If you don't have hungry boys waiting patiently for their cookies, you can wipe off the squiggly parts and re-pipe them.
Mr. Kitchen said they tasted like "grown-up" cookies! If you want to please both kids and grown-ups, definitely make these!
After the recipe, check out the rest of the links to the Valentine's Day cookies from the members of the Creative Cookie Exchange.
Chocolate Valentine Sugar Cookies
Adapted from King Arthur Flour, yield is based on the size of the cookies. I got about 32 hearts.
3/4 cups (149 grams) sugar
1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp espresso powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup (21 grams) black cocoa (or omit this and double the Dutch process cocoa)
1/4 cup (21 grams) Dutch process cocoa
2 1/4 cups (269 grams) unbleached all purpose flour
- Beat the sugar, butter, baking powder, vanilla, expresso, and salt together until fluffy.
- Beat in the egg.
- Whisk the cocoa powders and flour together and add to the mixing bowl. Beat until fully combined.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two or three baking sheets with parchment.
- Divide the the dough in half and roll out to 1/8 inch thick between two sheets of wax paper. Cut the dough with cookie cutters and place the pieces on the baking sheets.
- Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely on the baking sheets before icing.
Adapted from Annie's Eats
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp meringue powder
5 tbsp water, plus more to thin the icing
Gel food coloring
- Place the powdered sugar, meringue powder, and water into a bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the paddle attachment on medium low for about 7 to 10 minutes, until the mixture looks matte. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container.
- At this point, the mixture is too thick to pipe. Add more water by tablespoon to the mixture, stirring thoroughly between additions, until it is at a consistency that can be piped. Add any coloring you might be using. If you are using more than one color, divide the mixture among airtight containers before adding the color. In my case, I used some red to turn the mixture pink for piping and flooding, and then added more red for the hearts.
- Place some of the icing into a piping bag with a small tip. Pipe the borders of the cookies and let dry for about an hour.
- Dilute the remaining royal icing with water, adding it one teaspoon at a time until it runs off of a spoon but is not thin. The goal is to have it thick enough to be opaque, but thin enough to create a level and flat "flooding." You can always add more sugar or water as necessary to achieve the right consistency. Divide into small airtight containers and add more colors of your choice.
- Place the flooding icing into plastic squeeze condiment bottles.
- One cookie at a time, squeeze some of the icing onto the cookie and spread it with a toothpick to the edges. Dot a contrasting color onto the icing with more icing of the same consistency. Drag a tooth pick through the dots to create "artsy" hearts.
- Let the icing dry for about 3 hours.
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