Love heart cookies

Inspired by the classic love heart sweets, Angela Nilsen has created these gingery-shortbread cookies, each one decorated with a personal message
By Angela Nilsen
Love heart cookies
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Makes about 20
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 175 g plain flour
  • 125 g cold butter, cut in small pieces
  • 50 g light muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 25 g crystallised stem ginger, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest

For the icing

  • 200 g fondant icing sugar
  • pink or red edible paste food colouring

Tips and Suggestions

Because this dough is rich and buttery it may crack a little when rolling out. If it does, smooth the surface with your hands and press together as you roll it out.

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160/gas 4.

2. For the cookies: put the flour and butter in a mixing bowl and rub together with your fingers until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, ground and stem gingers and orange zest, then start to press the dough together, again with your fingertips, until it starts to stick together in big lumps. The warmth of your hands will help. Finally, press the dough together and lightly knead to form a smooth ball.

3. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 5mm, pressing it together if it cracks a bit. Cut out with a 6cm heart-shaped cutter, re-rolling and cutting out any trimmings. Lay the cookies on 1 or 2 baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes until pale golden. Remove, transfer to a wire rack and leave until cold.

4. For the icing: sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl. Pour in 2 tablespoons of cold water and stir to make a smooth, thickish, spreadable icing. Leave half of the icing in the bowl white and spoon the other half into another bowl and colour pale pink. Spread half of the cookies with the white icing and the other half with the pink. Leave to set for about 10 minutes.

5. Combine the leftover icings and colour a slightly deeper pink. Make up a little more icing if necessary. Using a small greaseproof paper piping bag fitted with a small writing nozzle, pipe valentine messages on each cookie and outline with a piped heart. Leave to set.

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