It’s Valentine’s Day soon, so we thought we’d give you a hand wooing your loved one. Maybe Juliet Sear’s Loveheart cookies from Cakeology should sweeten the deal. Now all you have to do is remember to buy a card…
Lydia’s loveheart cookies
Makes about 20 cookies
Equipment: Rolling pin, guide sticks, 10cm round cutter, piping bag with the end snipped off, heart-shaped cutter (slightly smaller than the round cutter), piping bag with a No2 nozzle
Cookies: 200g salted butter, 200g golden caster sugar, seeds from 1 split vanilla pod, 1 lightly beaten egg, 400g plain flour sifted, extra for dusting
Decorations: Icing sugar for dusting, sugar paste in pastel candy colours (you need about 30g per cookie, so make up equal amounts of pink, mint green, lemon yellow and cream), a little soft-peak royal icing in white,
2tbsp soft-peak royal icing coloured with paste colour
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas 4) and line two baking sheets
with baking parchment.
2 Place the butter, sugar and vanilla seeds into a bowl and mix until just combined, either by hand or using a mixer on a slow speed. Add the egg a little at a time, stirring with a mixer or wooden spoon until fully incorporated.
3 Add the flour and mix until a dough forms. You will know it’s right when the dough comes together without leaving sticky traces on the bowl and it forms into a shiny, pliable ball.
4 Dust the work surface with flour and roll out the cookie dough. Using guide sticks will ensure your dough is an even thickness but if you don’t have guide sticks, just take care to roll it to about 5mm in thickness.
5 Using a circle cookie cutter, cut out your cookies. Place them on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for ten to 12 minutes, checking after ten minutes. Move to a wire rack to cool.
6 Lightly dust the work surface with icing sugar and roll out all of your sugarpaste colours to 2-3 mm. Cut out all of your sugar circles with the round cutter. Pipe a drizzle of white royal icing over each one using a piping bag.
7 Pop the sugar circles onto the cookies. Gently press each one to stick it down and flatten it neatly onto the cookie.
8 With the heart-shaped cutter, make an impression by gently pushing the heart into the circle. This will give you a guideline for piping. Personalise all of your cookies with the coloured royal icing in a piping bag with a No2 nozzle. Starting at the top in the middle, begin piping the royal icing over the heart guideline. Leave the cookies to dry for at least 12 hours.
Cakeology: Over 20 Sensational Step-By-Step Cake Decorating Projects by Juliet Sear (Hardie Grant, £20)
Heat Verdict: Corrie says, “Piping bag? Nozzles? Soft peak royal icing? Nah, just wing it! Being the kind of gal that likes to cut corners, I decorated my cookies with icing sugar that I found at the back of my cupboard, along with several shop-bought icing pens. I mixed 90g icing sugar with 1tsp of water and a couple of drops of food colouring, which generously covered three biscuits. I then made another batch of icing with a different colour and carried on until I’d covered all my cookies. Once set, I decorated them with shop-bought designer and writing icings in a variety of colours. Sainsbury’s sell these for around £1.40 each.
I used the thicker designer icing to trace the hearts and I wrote my slogans in the more delicate writing icing. The cookies themselves were delicious, and although they are now slightly stale, my boyfriend is still happily eating his way through them all.”
If you fancy trying this or any other of Juliet’s recipes, then why not treat yourself to her book Cakeology: Over 20 Sensational Step-By-Step Cake Decorating Projects by Juliet Sear (Hardie Grant, £20).
Also, if you have a taste for the good, the bad and the unmissable, check out the brand spanking new heat magazine.