Iced Heart Cookies

Rolling the dough between two sheets of floured parchment keeps it from sticking to the rolling pin. Dip the cutters in flour as well before each cut, and dust the spatula, too, before transferring the uncooked dough to the baking sheets. For icing techniques, see 4 Inspired Ways to Decorate Cookies for Valentine's Day.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 2 dozen

Photography: CHELSEA CAVANAUGH

Source: Martha Stewart Living, January/February 2017

Ingredients

Cookies:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Royal Icing:

  • 1/2 pound confectioners' sugar (2 spooned and leveled cups)
  • 1 large egg white, or 2 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • Gel food color (optional)

Directions

  1. Cookies: In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture; beat until combined. Divide dough in half; flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic and freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Remove 1 disk of dough; let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Roll out 1/8 inch thick between two sheets of floured parchment, dusting with flour as needed. Cut shapes with 2 1/2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutters. Using a spatula, transfer to prepared baking sheets (if dough gets too soft, refrigerate 10 minutes). Reroll scraps and cut more shapes. Repeat with remaining disk of dough.

  3. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, about 12 minutes. (If bubbles form, tap baking sheet firmly against oven rack a few times during baking.) Let cool completely on wire racks. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container up to 1 week.

  4. Royal Icing: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine confectioners' sugar and egg white on low speed. Add a scant 1/4 cup water, then increase speed to medium-high and mix until icing holds a ribbon-like trail on surface for 3 seconds when you raise paddle, about 10 minutes. Reduce speed to low and mix 1 minute more to eliminate air bubbles. Add food color, a drop at a time, until desired color is reached. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days. Stir well before using. Decorate cookies as desired.

Cook's Notes

If you want an icing with thinner consistency, which is usually used for flooding, add more water. A thicker consistency is generally used for outlining and adding details. If you're decorating cookies for children, pregnant women, or anyone with a compromised immune system, use meringue powder instead of egg whites.