Recipe by Sarah Phillips; Food styling and photos by Kelly Hong © 6-17-2014 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
If you are looking for something memorable and extra special to hand out at a wedding, look no further than these gorgeous cookies. Handmade and decorated sugar cookies make beautiful, and delicious, wedding favors. The foolproof recipes and step-by-step tutorials below will give you everything you need to create these elegant treats right from your own kitchen. Bonus: Find out the inventive way Kelly bagged these beauties!
COOKIE RECIPE HELP
KELLY SAYS: "You can simply place the cookies in cellophane treat bags, gather the top, and tie them with a bow. But I found because they have a pointed tip, heart-shaped cookies tend to want to tip over in the bag, so I decided to use a heat sealer to make a pointed bottom on each bag. That way, the cookie easily slides into the bag and stays in place."
1 recipe Sarah’s Creative Cut Out Sugar Cookies, baked and cooled; each recipe makes about 20, 3 1/2-inch cookies using a 3.25-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter
1 recipe Royal icing; ices about 55 3 1/2-inch cookies
Wilton #2 or #3 piping tip for outlining and flooding
Wilton #1 piping tip for detail work
Disposable piping bags and couplers
Sanding sugar or granulated sugar, for sugaring cookie details
Clean soft bristled paint brush, used for food only
10- x 4-inch cellophane treat bag
1 heat sealer, optional
Decorative ribbon for tying; each bow takes about 16-inches of ribbon to make a generous bow, so buy accordingly. If you use a ribbon with wired edges, you will have more control over the shape of the bow.
STEP I: DECORATE THE COOKIES
1. Make the icing and remove about two cups from the batch and put it into a bowl. Thin the icing it by adding water, a tiny bit at a time until it flows slowly off the end of a spoon.
NOTE: Be sure to tightly cover the main bowl of icing tightly, with plastic wrap, so it doesn’t dry out! Do not refrigerate the icing; it is not necessary and will ruin it's texture.
3. Fit a disposable piping bag with a #2 or #3 piping tip and pour the thinned icing into the bag.
4. Pipe a heart-shaped outline around the cookie, starting about 1-inch down from the top of the cookie.
NOTE: if you do not feel sure of your ability to pie the shape, you can use the cookie cutter and lightly pencil the shape on the cookie before you start. Pencil graphite is non-toxic.
If you choose to do this, make sure that you pipe outside the line, so you cover the pencil marks with the icing.
5. Immediately fill in the outline with icing, use a toothpick to nudge the icing into any un-iced areas. Gently tap the cookie on the work surface to even and flatten the icing.
Repeat these steps with all the other cookies and set them aside, uncovered, to dry.
If you need more thinned icing before you are done icing the cookies, just repeat the steps above and then continue.
The icing must be COMPLETELY dry on the cookies before continuing with the rest of the decorating process.
I like to let them dry overnight. Make sure they are uncovered.
6. The next morning, remove the plastic wrap from the main icing bowl and give it a few slow turns with a large rubber spatula.
You may notice some watery looking icing at the bottom of the bowl. Stir that in until the icing if fluffy and uniform again.
Do not over-work the icing, because it breaks it down, causing it to become fragile and chip when it dries.
7. Thin about 1 cup of icing as described in step #2 above.
Pour the icing into a disposable piping bag fitted with a Wilton #1 piping tip.
NOTE: It is easier to deal with less frosting in the piping bag when you are doing small details on the cookies. If you run out, just thin out some more icing, and then add it to the bag.
8. Pipe two lines, about 1/4-inch apart, mirroring the curve of the heart shape.
Start the top line slightly inside the edge of the dry icing.
9. Pipe several fancy “S” shapes, evenly spaced over the surface of the base icing, then fill in the empty spaces with dots.
10. Pour some sanding sugar or granulated sugar in a bowl and, working quickly before the icing starts to set, spoon the sugar over the wet icing so it is completely coated with sugar.
Gently tip the cookie over so the excess sugar falls back into the bowl.
11. CAREFULLY brush the excess sugar off the edge of the top of the iced area of the cookie with a brush.
Keep in mind that the icing under the sugared area is still soft, and it you hit it with the brush, it will mar your cookie.
12. Pipe small dots of icing all along the top edge of the iced area of the cookie.
Try to space them as evenly as possible.
13. Rotate the cookie and pipe the “string of pearls” at the top of the cookie.
14. Repeat steps with all of the cookies then set them aside to dry overnight. Make sure they remain uncovered.
STEP II: PACKAGE THE COOKIES
You may simply place the cookies in cellophane treat bags, gather the top, and tie them with a bow.
I found, however, that the heart cookies tend to want to tip over in the bag, because of the pointed tip, so I decided to use a heat sealer to make a pointed bottom on bag for the cookie to slide into.
KELLY SAYS: "I have a very old vacuum sealer that I used."
1. Place cookie in the bag, straighten it and push it up about two inches from the bottom of the bag.
2. Hold the cookie on one side and place the excess cellophane into the heat sealer and press to seal.
The sealer will remove the excess and seal the edge of the bag.
3. While still holding the edge of the cookie, place the other side of the bag into the sealer to seal the other side.
Nudge cookie down to the bottom of the point.
4. Gather the top of the bag and seal it with a twist tie.
5. Tie bag with a decorative ribbon.
NOTE: If you used a ribbon with wired edges, you will have more control over the shape of the bow.
Store decorated cookies at room temperature in a cool, dry place. They will keep for a week or two. They can be frozen for a month or more. Thaw at room temperature.