Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine Cookies

"A hundred hearts would be too few
To carry all my love for you."
~ Author Unknown


Last week I made Valentine cookies, and I hope this will become an annual tradition. These were a labor of love, but I am so pleased with the results.

Valentine Cookies

These lightly sweet cookies with a touch of lemon would be perfect with a cup of tea. The dough holds its shape well during baking, so it works well with cookie cutters.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1cup sugar
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

Lemon Meringue Icing:
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups confectioners sugar

For cookies, preheat oven to 350 degrees at least 30 minutes before baking. Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the egg and extracts, and mix to combine. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and  salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet a little at a time, mixing after each addition. Chill the resulting dough for at least 2 hours before turning the dough out onto parchment paper sprinkled with flour. Coat your hands and rolling pin with flour, and roll the dough to a thickness of 1/4- to 1/2-inch. Sprinkle with more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes, and place the shapes on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 until the edges of the cookie are just beginning to brown. Remove the cookies to cool on the counter before decorating.

For meringue icing, beat egg whites and lemon juice with a handheld electric mixer until frothy. Gradually add confectioners sugar and beat until glossy. The icing is the proper consistency for covering the cookies when you lift the beaters and drips of icing stay on the surface of the icing for a few seconds before blending into the rest of the icing. Fill an icing bag with a small tip with the meringue icing, and fill one cookie at a time. To do this, pipe an outline around the cookie, then fill it in by piping icing back and forth across the cookie. The icing should blend in to create an even coating. Work quickly, and cover any icing left in the bowl when not in use, as it sets up very quickly. Allow the icing to harden completely before continuing to decorate.  

I experimented with a new technique for decorating many of these Valentine cookies. I found edible wafer papers at Fancy Flours, and they really are easy to use. With dry hands, you cut designs from the wafer paper and use a sponge brush to paint the back of the cut-out with corn syrup. Then you gently press the wafer paper to a cookie covered in hardened icing. Once the wafer paper dries for a few hours or overnight, decorate as desired. I used a stiff decorators icing to add the final details to these cookies.

I did not have enough wafer paper to cover all the cookies, so some cookies were decorated with meringue and decorators icing only.

Decorators Icing

I did not want to use butter or margarine in this icing because I wanted it to be very white and stiff. I used Wilton gel paste to tint a little of the icing for the rose buds and leaves.

1 cup shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
1 pound confectioners sugar
Beat shortening, vanilla and milk with a hand mixer until thoroughly blended. Add sugar gradually, and beat well after each addition.

Here are a few more of these sweet Valentine cookies -- a gift of love for the hearts we hold dear.

"In melody divine,
My heart it beats to rapturous love,
I long to call you mine."

~ Author Unknown


Lori said...

The details! So sweet and I am sure yummy too. Love the paper accents, so femine.

Jeannie B. said...

Those are simply beautiful!!

Deborah said...

Those are the most lovely Valentine Cookies I've ever seen. I'm looking forward to trying the edible wafer paper. Thanks for sharing

Valerie said...

As always...gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

These cookies are exquisite! Too beautiful to eat, but they do look delicious! Wow! Debra

Kelly (Seaux Southern) said...

They are all so beautiful!

Rach said...

Those are very pretty!

Anonymous said...

WOW!!!! They are SO pretty!!!
How did you make those ruffles? They are so sweet!
Kind regards, Mariel

Tina Foster said...

These are simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing this labor of love!
Happy Valentine's Day to you!

Jennifer Driver said...

WOW!!! Those are beautiful! I am impressed!

Sue said...

Wow, they are just gorgeous!

Melissa Lester said...

Thank you, everyone, for your comments! These cookies were a labor of love, so I have been really eager to hear your reaction to them.

Mariel, I used a small, angled cake decorating tip to pipe the ruffles and rosebuds on. To pipe a ruffle, you touch the point of the tip to the cake/cookie and move the tip back and forth slightly to create a ruffled effect as you pipe. The brand I use is Wilton, but I'm not sure if that is sold worldwide.

Auntie Cake said...

Love your sweet cookies. I have been eyeing those papers but as of yet, have not given them a try. After seeing your sweet cookies, maybe I will buy some after all. I am a piping maniac over here. I drive everyone nuts because it takes me about 15 minutes for each cookie. Those papers are looking like a wonderful option!

Chris said...

Hi there, just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

Leanne Helums said...

I adore your cookies. They are beautiful. I always love looking at all of the pretty ideas you have.

Anonymous said...

Melissa, thank you for your answer! They have a little shop here around the corner who just started to sell some Wilton supplies..and...they had the ruffle tip, too! I will try them soon on cupcakes! Those cookies are for advanced decorators;-)
Kind regards, Mariel

kr said...

Your blog is wonderful with all your creative ideas and beautiful pictures.

Every year at christmas our family adopts a family for a secret 12 days of christmas gift giving event. We've been doing this for about seven years. Each year we change or add a few things. Now what does christmas have to do with your gorgeous valentine cookies? When I visited the site and browsed through their wafer papers I saw papers for the 12 days of christmas. I think this year we may add a cookie pertaining to that day wrapped in cellophane and tied with a bow to our little gifts. Thanks for the link and idea!

Melissa Lester said...

Kr, what a wonderful tradition! I look forward to trying out wafer papers for different seasons, too.

Susie said...

First time to your blog. Found you through Pinterest. Melissa, these cookies are just the sweetest! Oh be still my heart! Thank you for the recipes and the beautiful photography as well.

Susie ~

Blog Widget by LinkWithin