Homemade Valentine’s Day cookies are the best way to show your love this season. Give someone special a sweet delicious treat! Have fun by customizing these heart-shaped cookies with royal icing colors and adding personalized messages.
With love in the air this February, you can make these decorated shortbread cookies for friends, family, and those extra special loved ones in your life. This Valentine cookie recipe is also great for kids that want to share with their classmates and buddies.
Ready to give it a try? Let’s get your stand mixer fired up, rolling pin handy, and some piping bags ready to go for a little Valentine’s Day fun!
When making rolled cookies, you’re looking for a dough that can be easily rolled and then hold its shape after baking. Ever since I started making my shortbread cookies, I use a similar base for cookie cutter shapes because the recipe yields a sturdy treat that can be stored for a long time.
The size of the cookies can vary from tiny hearts to bigger sizes over 4-inches. For this recipe I used a 3-inch heart shaped cookie cutter and that produced about 12 cookies. With the scrapes, I like to roll and make smaller shapes for variety otherwise those pieces just go to waste.
The great thing about this Valentine cookies recipe is the type of flour you choose can be flexible. I used Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking Flour for a tasty gluten-free result, otherwise, all-purpose flour works well.
Border and Flood Icing Technique
There are many different techniques and recipes for decorating sugar cookies. I used the “border and flood” technique with royal icing made with meringue powder. This method uses a thicker icing to create a border design and allows to dry slightly. Next, you flood the inside of the border with a thinner icing to completely cover the cookie.
Border Icing Tips
The icing should have the thickness of creamy peanut butter when you pipe it, but easy enough to push through your piping bag. You want the icing to hold in place and not run off the cookie. I always add some icing to my piping bag, write a few letters and see if it will hold its shape or design. If it doesn’t, add more powdered sugar!
Flood Icing Tips
The flood icing should be a little more loose, creating a smooth ribbon when you lift it in the bowl with a spoon, similar to Elmer’s glue. That way it will be easy to spread. I noticed that the less water you add, the quicker the flood icing will dry. It takes about 6 hours plus for this icing to dry, longer if the icing is thick. It may take a few tries, but just continue to check the texture, adding more powder sugar to thicken, and a little bit of water to loosen the icing.
For coloring the icing on the Valentine cookies, I recommend Wilton Gel Icing Colors. You only need a very small amount of gel color to achieve the colors you want and the icing does not get diluted. I use a toothpick to transfer a small amount of gel color to the icing, then mix with a spoon while adjusting the intensity and hue of the colors as needed.
The royal icing recipe makes about 1 3/4 cups, just enough for about 7 colors at 1/4 cup (2 ounces each) split up for border and flood icing for 12 cookies. It may be easier to make a few colors or make two separate batches or royal icing base if making several different colors.
From here you can wrap them up in clear bags and give them as delicious cookie presents, or make conversation heart cookies with a message. You can use border icing or edible markers to write your special notes on each cookie. Make sure the surface is completely dry before packaging or writing on the cookies.
My son James and I had a great time rolling and decorating these adorable cookies together. I hope you have as much fun making these adorable Valentine’s Day treats!
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If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #jessicagavin on Instagram. I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
Let the Cookie Dough Chill
It’s important to rest and chill the cookie dough in between mixing and rolling. This allows the proteins in the dough to relax and not be tough when you roll out the cookies. The chilling allows the butter to solidify slightly, so it’s easier to cut and transfer to the baking sheet. You want your cookies to be tender yet durable for decorating.
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