Cookie-geddon all started when I was casually stalking my fellow mom-organic-baker-guru-friend Jen, owner of Piece of Love Pastries, on instagram. She posted a photo of heart shaped cookie dough and I immediately felt a twinge of "why didn't I think of that" followed by "I need to make Valentine cookies" followed by "I will never make them myself, I better email her now and get in on this goodness."
Jen obliged and invited Shep and me over to her kitchen to bake! This isn't your typical recipe blog post. This is a photo diary of a few mommas and babes making a tried and true treat. As Jen rolled out the dough for us, Sheppie and I marveled at her "Pinterest-worthy" pegboard baking wall and we chatted about lack of sleep and how silly Valentines Day is but yet how much we loved making Valentines-type crafts.
So here it goes...how to make Jen's FROSTED HEART SUGAR COOKIES, what you'll need & need to do:
- 1 lb unsalted butter
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 t pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 t salt
- 5 cups all pirpose flour
- Sprinkles, sanding sugar, icing for decorating
- Cream butter and sugar electric mixer (with paddle attachment) on medium high speed until very light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time then add vanilla. Scrape down between additions. Mix until combined.
- Combine flour and salt. Add flour in 2-3 batches and mix until incorporated.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Divide into two pieces, flatten each uinto a rectangle and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate for 2 hours, up to a week.
- Preheat oven to 350. Line baking trays with parchment paper. Flour your workspace and roll out one rectangle to 1/2 inch thickness (you don't have to measure!) Dip one end of your cookie cutter in flour and cut shapes. Use a small offset spatula to move shapes onto lined trays. Tip from Baker Jen: Once full, keep each tray in the freezer for 15 minutes before baking; this will help keep your shapes...don't skip this part!
- Re-roll your scraps and cut again. Repeat with the other rectangle and scraps.
- Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes, rotating halfway through. They will seem slightly underdone, but this is ok...otherwise they will get too hard when they cool.
Sheppie waited pretty patiently while Jen prepped the cookies for frosting. I gave him sprinkles to "shake shake" like the maracas in music class and he was golden. Royal icing is typically made with meringue powder but who has that on hand?! Jen replaced the meringue powder with confectioners sugar and made an equally delectable and much easier/quick glaze. Genius if you ask me!
- In a small bowl add 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- Slowly add milk 1/4 cup at a time and whisk until it's the consistency you want.
Another cool baking hack to our cookies? Jen used coconut milk to make the glaze just because she and her babe don't drink whole milk. Cow, Soy, Almond, Coconut...it's all fair game. And to get the pretty pink color Shep used to go to town on his cookies while decorating? No food coloring...Jen is an organic baker. She juiced beets! I mean come on, these cookies are practically healthy already! A tiny bit of the beet juice added to the icing and Voila...Valentine pink.
Sheppie and I dove right into frosting our hearts...and sprinkling...and making a mess in Jen's kitchen. I tried to "show" him how to spread and sprinkle but, as always, he had his own ideas about what to do. All good, I'll just decorate my own cookie.
Little hands frosted and then...one bite...two bites...three bites! This little rascal was in cookie heaven.
Sheppie showed us how to eat the cookies and Baker Jen finished up frosting our sugar hearts much more precisely that we could ever do.
I think all our creations look mighty fine together! Can you guess who made what? This "exercise" with Shep was a long one in toddler-time -- a whopping 45 mins! He would have poured the sprinkles all over everything and everyone if I let him. When he attempted to throw the spatula full of Valentine frosting across the room, we knew it was time to grab our milk and go. A bottle of milk to wash down those cookies was the perfect ending to a fun afternoon! Of course we left a trail of sprinkles behind us, as usual...it's always important to leave your mark.
**Jen Pattap is an organic baker based in Montclair, NJ. She is available for catering and private order. Her goodies are made with love using all natural, fresh and organic ingredients.