For Christmas, I got a set of three heart-shaped cookie cutters. I have always wanted to make cookies with flooded royal icing, and I figured that now I had the time and some great cutters to use. For direction, I turned to Annie’s Eats as I feel like she breaks down the process of making great looking cookies into simple steps. I was so happy with how my cookies turned out. They take some patience, but it was so rewarding to have such success on my first try.
I used Annie’s recipe for chocolate sugar cookies. They aren’t super chocolaty and they taste good, but honestly, it’s the look of the cookies here that is the winner. I made the cookies one afternoon and did the icing that evening. This recipe for me made about 22 cookies. The dough did get a bit sticky as it warmed, so try to work quickly when you are rolling and cutting the cookies.
I made two colors of icing, white and red. This process does use many tools: bowls, piping bags, squeeze bottles, etc. I had picked up the squeeze bottles about a year ago as I wanted to make these. It really does make the job easier. I thinned the icing a little for the border of the icing, then thinned it more for the flooded part. I used powdered food color, so I didn’t have to worry about the coloring thinning the icing too much. For complete instructions on how to do this sort of icing, I highly recommend checking out Annie’s tutorial. It’s the best!
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
¾ cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoon butter, room temperature
¾ cup powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons meringue powder
5 tablespoons water
Make the cookies: In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt. In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in the egg and vanilla. Turn the mixer to low and stir in the flour mixture. Do not over mix. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 1-2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about ¼-inch thickness. Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters. Bake 10-12 minutes, just until set. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Make sure they are absolutely cooled before icing.
Make the icing: In a large mixer bowl, combine the powdered sugar, meringue powder and water. Mix on low speed until the icing has a matte appearance, 7-10 minutes. Transfer the icing contents to an air-tight container. I put mine in two bowls and colored the icing at this time. I left one part white and colored the other half with red powdered food color. Gel or paste coloring would also work.
At this point, the icing needs to be thinned before decorating the cookies. Add water a very small amount at a time (about ¼ teaspoon) and stir by hand until fully incorporated. Continue adding water until the icing can be piped (not too thick, not too thin). Using a pastry bag, pipe around the edges of each cookie. Allow to set at least one hour.
To flood the cookies, thin the icing some more, until the icing drips off the spoon easily when lifted and then disappears back in with the icing that is still in the bowl. Transfer the icing to a squeeze bottle (or a plastic bag with a hole in one corner), and flood the area surrounded by the piping on each cookie. Use a toothpick to help the flooded icing reach the edges of the cookie. To make the designs, top with the alternate color of icing and swirl with a toothpick. Allow to set.