Monday, January 7, 2013

Confection Affection.

Christmas is over. No birthday parties to plan. So you know I'm antsy about starting a new project. I'm scratching my crafty itch by thinking about the next holiday-- only a little over a month until Valentine's Day!

I've been poking around on Pinterest, trying to decide on a little Valentine for the boys' classmates. Homemade treats with a personalized bag topper is my go-to plan for most holidays-- they're cute, and depending on the treat inside, they're not too terribly difficult, expensive or time consuming. So, I'm thinking I'll do a combo of this & this.

I've made iced cookies one time before-- My first attempt wasn't a disaster, but I wasn't exactly proud of them. Outlining & flooding cookies is definitely a skill that requires practice, not to mention perfecting the sugar cookie & royal icing recipes! So, in order to have lovely little iced treats in time for Valentine's Day, I decided to start practicing this weekend.

I found a REALLY good sugar cookie recipe. I think I may slightly increase the almond extract in my next batch, but this dough was easy to make, easy to roll & cut, didn't spread when baked and had a really nice firm consistency, almost like shortbread. (I prefer this to cakey cookies, if they're going to be iced.) As for the royal icing, I followed this, but I found it to be way too thick & ended up adding lots of water (at least another 1/4 cup). Really, I think that most royal icing recipes taste the same... like powdered sugar. Making it is easy-- working with it to get the right consistency is a little more challenging.

This batch definitely looked better than my first attempt!! I'm still trying to figure out the best method to ice them. Last time I made these, I made a batch of icing, then split it-- leaving one slightly thicker for piping and watering down the rest for flooding. I piped the outline, let it dry for a bit, then flooded them. I didn't love that you could still see the outline.

I read a tutorial that suggested that I could use the same icing for both outlining and flooding, so I decided to try that this time. This tutorial suggested outlining, then immediately filling them in with the same icing & gently shaking them to help the icing settle. I tried that with the hot pink hearts-- some of them turned out better than others. I love that there's no distinct outline, but I felt like some of the shapes aren't as crisp as they could be, because shaking the cookie distorted the outline shape. (And since the icing isn't thinned, it doesn't spread and fill in as easily on its own.) With the light pink, I outlined the cookies, then let them dry for about 5 minutes before filling them in with the same icing. I like that the outline kept its shape, but like my first batch, I don't like that you could still see the outline once the icing dried.

So, after talking to someone who makes cookies for a living, she suggested that I go back to the two consistency plan, but pipe & immediately flood. Of course, the only option I haven't tried! Her cookies look beautiful, so I'm going to give that a try with the next batch. I'll probably make them one more time before Valentine's Day, just for practice.

My official taste-tester didn't care what they looked like-- he was just happy I let him have one for breakfast.


Talk about perfect timing-- I just linked up with Meredith over at The Tichenor Family for Make Cookies Monday!


  1. Those are so cute! I wish I were in Liam's class!

  2. Please let me know if you need to dispose of any of those's the least I can do, friend! ;-p

  3. They are gorgeous! I linked up too but with slice and bake. We have the same pj's as your taste tester.

  4. New to your blog, I'm also 32 and a mom to 2 boys (3 &1)

    What about interchanging the icing colors? Light pink inside a dark pink outline? So the border is noticeable but pretty and it looks intentional....

    Either way, cookies look delicious and your blog and family are so sweet!

  5. I seriously LOVE how these turned out. All of your trial and tribulations were so worth the end result. Gorgeous cookies, almost too pretty to eat! Almost... LOL