adorable little heart and love shaped sugar cookies
- 1 vanilla bean
- 350g flour (2 and 3/4 cups)
- 100g sugar (1/2 cup)
- 200g butter, softened (7oz)
- 1 egg, room temperature
- pinch of salt
- zest of half a lemon
- Scrape out the seeds of 1 vanilla bean and set aside.
- Combine all ingredients and the vanilla in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and mix until you have a uniform dough.
- Divide dough into two discs and wrap into plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.**
- Once chilled, set out one of the discs on the kitchen counter for about 20-30 minutes to slightly warm up.
- In the meantime, preheat your oven to 200°C or 400°F. On a floured surface roll out the dough (about 6mm or 1/4 inches) with a floured rolling pin. Cut out shapes as desired and place onto a baking sheet fitted with parchment paper.
- Bake for 7-8 minutes. (Oven times may vary depending on the strengh of your oven.) Take the cookies out when they are slightly undone and let them set on the hot baking sheet.
- Continue until all cookies are baked. (Working with at least two baking sheets makes everything a lot easier.) Let the cookies cool completely.
- Before starting, make sure the bowl and whisk attachment are completely grease free.
- Combine the meringue powder, powdered sugar, salt and water in the bowl of a standmixer and whisk until icing forms peaks, about 6 minutes. Add in the vanilla and almond extract and whisk once more.
- Divide in 3 different bowls and using a toothpick tint as you desire. Add very small amounts of food coloring, you can always add more later.
- At this stage you can also use more water to thin down the icing. Use a thin consitency for outlining and flooding the cookies and a thick concistency for decorations. Allow icing to set for at least 15 minutes before adding another layer of icing. If using sprinkes, add right away before icing sets.
- Allow icing to set for at least 3-4 hours before storing.
- *The amount of almond extract will depend on the brand you use. I used 5 drops.
- **Feel free to freeze one of the discs for another baking session. The unbaked dough can be frozen for up to 3 months. Keep in mind to cut the royal icing recipe in half if doing so.
- Cookies can be stored at room temperature for up to 4 weeks in an airtight container.