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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Valentines cookies

I LOVE Valentines day, always have and always will. I really dislike when people are so grumpy over what should be a lovely day, whether you are with someone or not, it can still be a fun day when you can show people around you how much you love them.

This year I had already bought my husband tickets to see a comedian, so as an easy extra gift I decided to make some cute hand iced cookies. I've never iced biscuits like this before, I don't have too much patience for fiddly jobs and I'm the worlds clumsiest person so this was a bit of a challenge!

 I started by making some biscuits with this recipe, it turned out very dry but just about workable. I chose this recipe because it's great for shaped cookies as it doesn't spread when being baked so your shapes stay perfect.

I researched the proper way to get nicely iced biscuits and learned about how to use royal icing to create line icing and fill icing to get nice edges. You use thicker line icing to pipe around the edges and then once dry you can fill the middle in with runnier "fill" icing and the line icing will act as a barrier to stop it spreading out. I used royal icing for this, I picked up a pack of Tayte and Lyles royal icing mix from my local supermarket, all you do is add water and it saves mixing raw eggs (which is the traditional way to make it) and takes just 5 minutes.

I divided my icing up and added food colouring, then started to draw my edges on before adding a few drops of water to the icing to fill in my biscuits.

I found the line icing quite difficult at first, it's definitely something which requires practice. Getting quite low to the biscuit and piping very slowly definitely helps (also not having a small child hanging on your arm while you try to do it is a bonus!). I used disposable piping bags for this with a small round nozzle which was perfect for the small line icing. I switched to a bigger round nozzle for the fill in's and found that gently using a teaspoon to spread out the icing helped stop me from over filling the biscuits (which causes the icing to leak over your lines!).

I played around with the fill icing by dotting some contrasting colours onto the biscuits while they were wet, I then dragged a cocktail stick through the dots to create little hearts. Once the fill is dry you can add detail with more line icing, I chose white so that it would stand out. Unfortunately I had left it out a bit too long so it was quite dry, it was still ok to use but very difficult to pipe and as a trigger finger sufferer I had difficulty using my hand after! If you leave yours out too long, add a tiny drop of water to it to make it workable.

I like to get Enid involved and she loves getting stuck in, so after she helped me make the biscuits, I let her go to town on one (with a little help of course!). I'll wrap this one individually for her to give to her dad at breakfast!

I'm really happy with how they turned out, I don't think they're too shabby for my first try! I really hope they're appreciated and can't wait to hand them over in the morning!

Happy Valentines Day everyone! Hope you all have a great day!