Inspired by a request from Tasting Table for a Valentine’s Day piece, we came up with these super fun ways to use those conversation hearts in new creative ways to spice up sugar cookies.

sugar couture cookies (5 of 5)

sugar couture cookies (2 of 5)

The heart flower cookies are inspired by a little image my mom used to draw everywhere, a small delicate flower comprised of 4 connected hearts which formed the petals.  Four smaller hearts made up the centers and single leaf.   I translated this into a cookie and though it would be fun to use the Sweetheart candies as the smaller center hearts and leaf.    There are two other versions as well, a heart and a lip version.

Chocolate Chili Sugar Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour

1.3 cup cocoa powder

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs brown sugar

10 Tbs unsalted butter

3 egg yolks

1 Tbs Vanilla extract

The extra punch of the chili powder really brings the chocolate alive.  If you’re making them for kids, it can be easily omitted or replaced with cinnamon.

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder baking powder, chili powder and salt.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, place the butter, brown sugar and powder sugar.  Cream with a paddle on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Mix in the yolks one at a time.  Mix in the vanilla.

Add flour/coco mix in two additions, mixing on low speed just to combine.  Divide the dough in half and place each half between two pieces of parchment.  Roll the dough between the parchment to about ¼” thick.  Repeat with the remaining half.  Refrigerate or freeze until firm.

Using a template and xacto knife or a cookie cutter,  cut cookies from the chilled dough and place them on parchment lined cookie sheets with about a 1/2” of space between the cookies.  Bake for approximately 12 minutes until the tops are no longer shiny.   Cool completely.

Makes 15 large cookies or 20 medium ones.

 

Royal Icing

1 pound confectioners sugar

3 egg whites

1 tsp lemon juice

Beat egg whites with whisk attachment on medium speed in a standing mixer until soft peaks form.

Change to the paddle attachment, and add the sifted sugar in small amounts at low speed, until incorporated.

Add lemon juice and beat on medium sped until icing holds its shape. Cover with plastic wrap at all times until ready to use.

TO DECORATE THEM:

Heart Flowers

After your cookie dough has been rolled and chilled, use the template to cut out the cookies.  Print the template out and with scissors, cut about 1/4” around the entire shape.  Cut the chilled dough with an Xacto knife or sharp pearing knife.

Bake the cold cookies in a 350 degree oven for approximately 12 minutes, turning the sheet tray once during the bake time.

While the cookies are cooling, Make the royal icing with a flood consistency.  Color as desired.  I used a super light baby pink and a for the stem, I mixed some leaf green and brown colors to get a more interesting green.  Place the icing in a piping bag with a number 1 or 2 tip.

Reprint the template and cut out one of the heart petals.   Lying it on the cooled cookie, trace the outline with a number 2 pencil.  With the pink icing, trace the outline you just made, holding the tip about 1/2” above the surface of the cookie.  Allow this to dry while outlining the remaining cookies.

Pour the Sweetheart candies onto a tray with the text facing up so it will be easier to select your favorites.

Using the same, or a larger piping tip fill in the centers of the petals with royal icing. Use the piping tip or toothpick to push the icing into the form.

Place the candies, text up in the center of each petal, with the point facing the center.

Pipe a single green line from the petal, to the bottom of the stem of the cookie.  Place one green Sweetheart in the middle to form the  leaf.

Allow cookies to dry completely for at least 3 hours up to overnight.
Using a lip cutter, or  template, cut the cookies from the rolled and chilled dough.

Bake the cold cookies in a 350 degree oven for approximately 12 minutes, turning the sheet tray once during the bake time.

While the cookies are cooling, make the royal icing with a flood consistency.  Color as desired.  I used a very dark red .  Place the icing in a piping bag with a number 1 or 2 tip.

Pipe an outline of the lips, including the middle line and let this dry to set about 7 minutes, or while you’re piping the rest of the cookies.

With the same or larger sized tip, pipe icing in between the form you’ve piped to fill it. Use the piping tip or toothpick to push the icing into the form.

While the icing is still wet, sprinkle the  red sanding sugar over the cookie, and place the single Sweetheart candy in place.

Allow cookies to dry completely for at least 3 hours up to overnight.