Pink Heart Cookies

24 Sep

cookieSo I was sitting in the kitchen this morning, minding my own business when this very pink fairy flew in through the window. She had glitter dust all over her wings, sparkles in her hair, and she had the most annoying whiny buzzy sound … So I smushed her. And she exploded. And the entire kitchen was filled with pink glazed sugar cookies, bedecked with hearts and sparkle and glitter. This is what happens, apparently, when a pink fairy explodes.

Actually, I spent most of the morning baking these cookies (I tripled the recipe so I ended up with about 100 biscuits) and most of the afternoon glazing them. These are not quick work if you want to roll out the dough and then cut patterns out with a cookie cutter. They are however quite simple if you want them for easy log slices – if you want to roll the dough into logs about 2 – 3 inches thick and then just slice rounds and bake. Either way, they are very very delicious – crumbly and yet sturdy, very buttery and not too sweet. I based the cookie on Cook’s Illustrated Sugar Cookie – but I used my hands rather than a stand mixer. It worked out fine.

I used royal icing to glaze the cookies – a basic confectioner’s sugar and water mixture with the addition of meringue powder (basically freeze dried egg whites). The addition of the egg whites makes the glaze harden extremely well. If you have access to meringue powder, use it – there is a huge difference. You can also make royal icing with egg whites, but since they are raw, and I am making the cookies for a children’s birthday party, I decided to go with the powder.

I used the India Tree dye – and as you can see from the image – it was gorgeous! Very easy to work with, very strong colour, and an almost imperceptible taste. I love this stuff, and I love that I can bake wildly colourful cakes and cookies for young people, and not worry about poisoning them with too much food dye. Decorating these cookies by hand took a lot of time and work – but they are so pretty, it was worth it!

Sugar Cookie

This cookie is basically much like the basis for a sweet tart shell – butter (so much butter!), superfine sugar (which gives a more tender cookie and a finer crumb), a touch of salt, flour, vanilla and cream cheese. Thats it. You have to be quite gentle with the dough, and once it comes together, you shouldnt really handle it a lot. Its very very tender. I made the dough the night before, refrigerated it well wrapped, and baked the next morning.

This should yield you about 30 – 40 cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 16 tbsp butter (2 sticks) – at room temperature. It should be soft, but not totally giving, if you know what I mean. You want it to still hold its shape – so take it out of the fridge about half an hour before you mean to use it, and dont leave it in the heat.
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 heaping tbsp cream cheese

If you are baking immediately, preheat your oven to 170C (375F).

Whizz the light brown sugar in a food processor or with your immersion blender so that the sugar becomes superfine. Its not 100% neccessary but it does make a difference in the finished product.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.

Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. You want flakes of butter to be completely incorporated into the flour – it should look like oatmeal. Do this as quickly as possible, but also as completely as possible. When you are happy with the mixture, use your whisk to just combine everything together again.

Pour over the vanilla and cream cheese, and again using your hands, quickly and evenly work these two ingredients into the mixture. You will see that they bind the flakes together and you will have an extremely soft dough.

Take the dough out of the bowl, and on a clean surface, knead a couple of times, using the palm of your hand to smear the dough away from you. This will lengthen the butter flakes within the dough.

Roll the dough into a ball, and divide into two.

If you are making slice cookies, fashion each half into a log, and wrap well with parchment paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes before slicing and baking. These also freeze bloody well, so you can always have a fresh baked cookie to hand!

If you are making cookie cutter cookies, wrap each half in parchment paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.

Take dough out of fridge, and centre each half between two sheets of parchment paper, about the length of a jelly roll pan. Using a rolling pin and light movements, roll out the dough between the sheets, to about 1/4 – 1/8th inch thick, and refrigerate again. If you are working in an extremely hot climate, you can freeze the rolled out dough for a few minutes so it is quite stiff.

Place the parchment on a flat surface, and gently peel the top layer of parchment off the dough. Use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of the dough, and gently transfer the cookies to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Any scraps, you can re roll and recut into cookies, but make sure you rest the re rolled dough in the fridge or freezer before cutting cookies out of it!

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the edges just begin to brown (I burnt one lot, by the way, and they were DELICIOUS!).

Cool on a rack before glazing.

Royal Icing

  • 2 cups confectioner’s (icing) sugar
  • 2 tbsp meringue powder
  • 3 – 5 tbsp warm water
  • 3 – 7 drops of food colouring (I chose red – because PINK is our theme – of course!)

Sift the confectioner’s sugar into a medium bowl. You dont have to do this, and it usually turns out fine, but this just makes sure there are no lumps!

Add the meringue powder, and stir to combine. Add 3 tbsp of water, and whisk well. You can whisk with a balloon whisk or with an electric whisk, but you really want to combine the mixture until the icing is thick, and forms gentle peaks. Add more water if you need it – I like quite a liquidy glaze – dont worry, with the addition of the meringue powder, it hardens!

Add food colouring, a drop at a time, and whisk well to combine, until the royal icing is tinted to your desire.

Do note that I added a drop of vanilla to the icing – it made it taste quite good, but it did change the colour from light pink to darker pink.

cookieAssembly

  • Sugar Cookies
  • Royal Icing
  • Decorations – I used sanding sugar, pink and silver glitter, sparkling sugar, and sugar hearts – optional – you might want the beautiful elegance of a glazed cookie – but I was looking for exploding fairy pink!

You need to work systematically when icing these cookies.

Arrange the un-iced cookies in a tray lined with parchment paper. Have next to you the royal icing in a bowl, covered with a tea cloth (to keep it liquid), a mug, half filled with warm water, a tea spoon, and whatever decorations you want to use.

Ice 4 – 6 cookies at a time by taking a teaspoon of icing, and pouring it over a cookie, using the back of the spoon to smooth the icing over.

Once up to 6 cookies have been iced, decorate them with your sparkly sugary delights. Then go on to the next 6. The reason you do this is so that the icing does not harden before you can decorate it.

Add more water to the royal icing if it becomes too stiff – but do this literally half a teaspoon at a time – you will be amazed how it reacts to just a few drops of water.

Let the icing harden for at least 2 hours before packing the cookies into an air tight container. They can be refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving.

5 Responses to “Pink Heart Cookies”

  1. Mariana September 24, 2010 at 8:34 am #

    … looking for pink fairies to smush … 🙂

  2. Kit Yin October 3, 2010 at 3:37 am #

    I hope u found the fairy castle and captured more fairies I have decorative ideas just thinking about it!

    • delectableblog October 4, 2010 at 3:00 am #

      Yes, Kitten, I did! Loads of cupcakes decorated with pink fairy things…

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    […] (4 batches) and about 200 of these gorgeous decorated gingersnap cookies. I was going to make sugar cookies, as I did for my sayang niece’s 1st birthday, but I thought I would try something different […]

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