February 9, 2010

Conversation Heart Cookies

What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day than to replicate, in a sugar cookie, NECCO's conversation hearts?  Chocolate is nice but there's something about these tiny hearts with their catchy phrases that always make me laugh.   Remember when you were a kid in elementary school and you handed out those boxed cards to all your classmates?   The  most prized Valentine's were the ones that had a few conversation hearts stuffed in the envelope.  

Back in the day the flavors didn't taste all that great.  I do recall some, I think  the green ones especially, that tasted like medicine.  But the flavors took a back seat to the imprinted words.   True, most of them were really cheesy, remember So Cute and Lover Boy?  You couldn't help but chuckle.  This year is the first time in their 145 years of production that the company that makes the candies, NECCO, decided to go a bit more modern with the sayings....My Boo being a perfect example.   On top of that they updated the flavors and they  all taste really good  (Strawberry, Green Apple, Lemon, Grape, Orange and Blue Raspberry)..trust me, I've sampled!  

Basic Vanilla Sugar Cookie 

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla extract and combine until egg is completely incorporated.  Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix until no trace of dry ingredients remain. 

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4" thickness and cut out shapes using cookie cutters.

Bake for about 18 minutes or until golden brown.

Royal Icing

4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup meringue powder
gel food coloring

Mix powdered sugar and meringue powder in mixer until well combined.  Slowly add water and mix until you get the consistency you want*.  Add food coloring to achieve your desired color.

For outlining: consistency should be like glue paste
For flooding: add enough water so that the consistency is pretty runny

* Note: Royal Icing is extremely forgiving.  If you find you've added too much water and the icing is too runny, just add more powdered sugar.  Vice versa if your icing is too thick.


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