Thursday, February 9, 2012

Conversation Heart Cookies

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and it is the perfect time to start your sweet treats for the holiday!  I love chocolates and flowers just as much as the next girl, but I wanted to give my Valentine something different this year.  One of my favorite memories of my childhood is receiving the little box of conversation heart candies from my grandparents.  I loved snacking on the bite sized candies and reading all the silly and romantic messages printed on them.  Instead of making candies, I made a sugar cookie version of these sweet treats which allowed me to paint my own messages on all the hearts.  I chose cute words in English and Spanish to write on all the cookies so that all of my friends and my Valentine could have fun reading my sweet sentiments to them!

You will need:

One recipe of Alton Brown's Sugar Cookie Recipe (add 1 tsp of vanilla extract!)
Gel Food Coloring
Small circular cutter (or small heart cutter)
Xacto knife or other sharp knife
Skinny paintbrush
Luster Dust

Split the dough into as any different pieces as you have colors to make.  I decided to make my hearts purple, pink, green, and orange.  Knead the gel food coloring into the dough until it is completely incorporated.  Chill the dough for an hour.
Once the dough has chilled, pull one color out of the fridge at a time to roll out.  I rolled my dough out with a small amount of powdered sugar to ensure it wouldn't stick.  Roll out to 1/8"-1/4" thickness (I made mine closer to 1/4" to look more like the real conversation heart candies). 
If you have a tiny heart shaped cutter, you can obviously use it to make these cookies.  I seem to always do things the long way, so I did not have a heart cutter on hand.  Instead, I used a circular shaped cookie cutter a little less than an inch wide to make these hearts.  I then followed an assembly line process and did a series of 3 steps to turn them into adorable heart shapes.  It may seem like a lot of work, but once you get going it actually goes pretty fast....and it adds so much more love into these treats!

Using the circular cutter, punch out all the circles from the dough. 
With your Xacto knife, cut one side of the circle into a V-shape for the tip of the heart.  Continue until all the circles have been cut. 

Using the tip of your paintbrush, gently press into the side opposite of the tip to create an indent.
Gently squeeze the tops of the heart into a neat shape and place on your cookie sheet.  Repeat with all the colors.
Bake at 350 for 4-6 minutes (depending on whether you like your cookies on the soft or crunchier side).  I baked my cookies on the lighter side to make sure the colors of the cookies weren't affected by browning.
After the cookies are completely cooled, they are ready to be painted!  I mixed pink luster dust with a small amount of rum to create a paint that would easily dry on the cookies.  Using the skinny paint brush, use your creativity to create messages on your conversation hearts that are perfect for your Valentine (s)!!  You can store these cookies in an airtight container for several weeks to enjoy yourself, or package in a cute tin or baggy to give away.
Share your passion for the Sweet Life and make some sweet conversation for your loved ones this Valentine's Day!

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