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2/12/13

"Painted Hearts" Cut Out Cookies for Valentine's Day Gift Giving

I love the way these bake up and leave a cookie dough outline around the outside of the cookie from  when you painted them.  The crackle is lovely and I dusted half of the cookies with red sugar which adhered well to the paint and gave a really nice effect.
I have had this recipe pulled aside to make for quite a while now and not gotten to it.  Ree Drummond the "Pioneer Woman" blogger had posted it for Christmas Cookies.  I have adapted it and am using heart cutters with pink and red colors to paint them to send off to my grandchildren.  Katie will surely smile if I have a package ready and pick her up from school and I am sure she will share with her older sister Emily.  Jack and Sam will be excited to get a package in the mail and cookies are always welcome treats.

My husband, Brian's Valentine, shhhhh don't tell.
So......it is 9 AM two days before Valentine's day and I have the cookies baked, Decorated and the frosting is firming up under the breeze of the ceiling fan above them in the kitchen.  I mixed them up last night and left them to chill overnight so I could bake them off first thing today.  The dough was easy to work with and I loved the way the painting went.  These have found a permanent place in my cookie file and I will for sure make them again and again!  As for today, I have but to box them up and deliver to the girls and mail off to the little boys!  I  am so blessed and it is such fun to be MOM and GRANDMA!

Ingredients for Painted Cut Out Cookies:

1 1/3 C. shortening
1 1/2 C. sugar
2 eggs 
2 T. + 2 t. milk (8 teaspoons total)
1 t. vanilla
4 C. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt

Combine the sugar and shortening in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth, add the vanilla and the milk and beat 5 minutes.   Add the 2 whole eggs and continue beating for 1 minute.

This recipe makes 4 nice disks of dough to wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate.
Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together and add to the creamed mixture beating until it forms a dough.   Divide the dough into 4 equal portions resembling a disk and wrap each in waxed paper.  Slip the disks into  a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least a half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment or sil-pat mats. Set aside.

Ingredients for Cookie Paint:

2 egg yolks
5-6 drops food coloring (I made both red and pink paint.)
2 t. water

HELPFUL HINT:  Here is the part where I place the 2 unused egg whites in a small container and pop them into the freezer to use another day.
Combine the yolks, water, and food color.  Since I used 2 colors I placed one yolk and 1 teaspoon of water in each small bowl and mixed in the gel paste food color.   Paint the unbaked cookies with a soft brush using the colored glaze.  Add a few more droplets of water if needed to reach a paint like mixture.

It is fun to collect cookie cutters and they make nice gifts too.
Roll the chilled dough about 1/4" thick and cut with floured cutters into heart shapes.  Using a soft brush paint the tops with the cookie paint you have prepared.  I paint all of the way to the edge and when they puff up baking it leaves a nice rim.

Unbaked painted cookies ready for the oven.
Place on the prepared pans and bake for 6-7 minutes.  Do not brown the cookies, they should be slightly puffed and the glaze will look crackled.  Bake in several batches.  Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes before frosting.

Ingredients for  the White Decorative Icing:

1 pound powdered sugar
1/4 C. milk (You may add more milk a droplet at a time until you reach the right consistency if needed.)
1 rounded T. dried egg whites

The kid's all get a cookie with their initial made just for them.
Mix the sugar, milk, and egg whites and beat well.  Make sure the frosting is thick enough to retain it's shape.  Using a pastry bag or a zip-top bag pipe the cookies with the icing to further decorate.

Some of the cookie decorations are made just for fun.
Ultimately half of the cookies are painted and sprinkled with cookie sugar and the other half painted and frosted which makes for a nice variety in this big batch of cookies.   Yield 4-6 dozen cookies depending on the size of the cookies and if you re-roll the dough scraps. ( I always do re-roll.)


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