Decorating Valentine Cookies - An Adventure!

 When I started this blog (many years ago) I promised to share the 'good, the bad, and the ugly'.  I've always wanted to try my hand at decorating cookies with royal icing knowing that this would take practice and my first tries would be full of - ahem - "imperfections". Come along for the ride because I finally did it!  
Perusing Pinterest and seeing so many gorgeous cookies, I started reading and learned about: piping/outlining/flooding consistency, taste, eggs whites vs. meringue powder, piping tips and bags, food coloring, and more.  
Down the rabbit hole I went and it was DEEP and VAST!  Let's face it, you can read and research FOREVER, so I decided to take the bull by the horns and just jump in! 
The first thing I did was shop for my supplies:
Yes, I have cookie cutters - somewhere (probably in the storage unit).  I wasn't in the mood to hunt, so I bought these.  

I did my research and this set had good reviews.  

Because you don't want to use raw egg whites!

Gel-based was recommended everywhere I looked and you only need a tiny bit on a toothpick to color your icing.

Clear is recommended so you don't change the color of your icing with regular vanilla extract - especially the white icing.  
Who knew??

Time to bake!  I think everyone has a sugar cookie recipe, but in case you don't, here's mine:

Sugar Cookies

2-1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
Whisk these 3 ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

1 cup unsalted butter - softened
1 cup granulated sugar
Add to stand mixer bowl and beat until creamy.

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
Add to mixer bowl and mix until combined.
Add dry ingredients gradually and mix until dough is smooth.

Divide the dough in half and place on plastic wrap.  Cover each half with the plastic wrap and flatten the dough into round disks.  Refrigerate for 3 hours.

Once chilled, roll the dough on a floured surface to about a 1/4" thickness. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters.  Place on parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350-F for about 10 minutes.  

Allow your cookies to cool completely before icing.  I baked on one day and iced on the next.  
So far, so good.  The cookies were baked and tasted delish - according to my Taste-Tester.  You know him - aka - The Enabler!  They weren't too sweet, a good thing since they were going to be covered in royal icing.

On to the Royal Icing.  Here's the recipe I used: 

Royal Icing 

4 Cups Confectioner's sugar
3 Tablespoons Meringue Powder
Whisk  these 2 ingredients together.

1 teaspoon Clear Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup water - approximately
I added the water slowly while the mixer was running.  

I read SO many methods for making this icing and ended up mixing it at medium speed until I had a consistency that looked thin enough to flood and thick enough so it wouldn't run off the edge of the cookie.  I realize I'm not being clear at all, but in all honesty, you just have to play with it.  I added some of the icing to a bowl and used a toothpick to color it.  Here's how it looked on the cookie:
Sorry, no pics of me piping it.  I really needed both hands!
Next, some white dots:
You can see they are 'melting in'.
Then, a toothpick dragged through turned them into hearts....sort of!
The finished product:
As you can see, The flooding on some of the other cookies is not the greatest.  

Then I tried creating some lips.  I think they look more like wings!
Yes, that 'dimple' is from my finger testing to see if the icing was dry.  
Clearly, it was not!

But, remember, I promised to share the 'good, the bad, and the ugly'. 
The cookies were good.

The icing, not so good since the consistency was a bit off.  OK, it was bad.

The decorating?  Definitely ugly!

And I'm still smiling!  Why?  Because I did it!

The point of this post (if you're wondering) is to try new things

Remember, no one is an expert in the beginning (clearly, I am not!) and sometimes you never become one, and that's OK.  

Just keep trying and enjoy yourself!  

Have fun - Life is short - Eat the cookies!

P.S.  I'm making more cookies today and I'll post another update on my decorating skills.  I know you can't wait to see if I get any better! 😉

Decorating - Take 2!
This time the icing was thicker and didn't level out as much.

The piping consistency may have been a bit better.
My piping skills?  Not so much!.....I'll keep practicing!  

Have a wonderful week - Happy Super Bowl & Happy Valentine's Day!


  1. Yes you did it, kudos to you, I still need to try it. Well done, as long as it tasted good then you have won
    I visited you via The Lazy Gastronome: What’s for Dinner? Sunday Link up #458
    My links: 24+25. We will be honored and happy if you share your links with us at SeniorSalonPitStop. Link under BLOGGING.

    1. Thank you so much! I definitely need practice, but it sure is fun - and tasty!

  2. I love that you shared all the versions, even the finger print! I think if you pipe a thin line around your biscuit first and then flood it with the icing you'll get a neater edge, well that's the theory anyway! I love the little hearts and lips I think they turned out great.

    1. Thank you, Julie. I think it's important for readers to see that not everything goes according to plan. I did read about piping the thin line but...oh so many piping bags and tips! Clearly, I need to do that! Ha! There's more practice in my future and my husband has no complaints about more cookies!

  3. Lovely! I love little heart shaped cookies for Valentine's Day - I hope I make some in the next 2 days!

    1. Thank you, Jeanne. I will stop by and look for yours!

  4. I think you did a fabulous job, Ann. I don't see any "ugly" here. They look almost too pretty to eat! Happy Valentine's Day!!

    1. You are TOO kind, my friend! I will say it's a lot of fun - good thing since there's a lot of practice in my future!

  5. I did much better than I could have, so I take it as a win. The hearts are so cute. I always fancied myself a baker and cake decorator until I actually tried it that is. HA! I am like you and I share my creations even if they are not perfect. I wish I had my mother's talent, she always created my cakes growing up, and she did an awesome job at it. I recall a Strawberry Shortcake cake that I still think about to this day. How she drew her on the cake is beyond my comprehension. You did awesome Ann!

    1. Me too! I love to bake and now I've learned that decorating is whole different game. I guess I'll keep practicing!

  6. I love these creative decor techniques! Thanks for sharing on SSPS, I hope to see you again next week.

    1. Thank you. Hopefully, I'll get better at them!

  7. I think your cookies are beautiful!! Really! Happy Valentine's Day! Thanks for sharing the What's for Dinner party - have a fabulous day!

    1. You are so sweet, Helen! I plan to keep practicing...hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day!


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