Happy Valentine's Day (almost)! Are you ready? If not, may I suggest these adorable sugar cookies? I've never really decorated sugar cookies up until a couple of years ago, and I've definitely gotten better with practice. Lots and lots of practice! I even think they're pretty fun now, which completely surprises me.

These are great for teachers, kids, and the people you love...or like...or even just tolerate. Even better is that they taste good! Let's look at how to do this.
You'll need a batch of royal icing, split into the colors you want. You'll want to keep some of it in bags and flood the rest and place it in squeeze bottles. See how to do that here. I prefer to use a number 3 tip to outline the cookies and a number 2 tip to draw any details on after they dry.
You'll also need cookies. I did hearts and then scalloped circles. When the scalloped circles came out of the oven, I lightly pressed the heart cutter into the circles so I could outline it easier (instead of drawing it by hand).
Outline the cookies using the icing from the bags and let them rest for about 20 minutes or so.
Next you want to flood the cookie with icing from the squeeze bottle.
Then move it to the sides using a toothpick. Once the cookie is flooded, you can add details to it right away using the flooded icing (like polka dots or hearts) or let it sit for several hours and pipe details on top later.
To make the polka dots, right after you flood the cookie drop small amounts of another color icing on top using the squeeze bottles. It would have been helpful if I had darker colors...
To make hearts, place a toothpick at the top (or side of) of each polka dot and drag it through the dot and subsequent dots without picking up the toothpick. It will make a heart. Let these cookies dry overnight before packaging. 
To pipe details on top of the cookies, wait until they dry for at least a few hours and then pipe details on top. Let them dry overnight before packaging.

Sugar Cookie Recipe
Makes about 40 cookies
Print this recipe

1 cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and powdered sugar until combined. Add in the egg and mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla, salt, and nutmeg and mix until incorporated. Add in the flour and mix until combined. Place the dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness on a floured counter. Cut with cookie cutters and place on a greased cookie sheet. It is helpful to freeze the cookies for 8-10 minutes before baking as they will hold their shape better. Bake for 8-10 minutes; the cookies will not brown. Remove from the pan and let cool completely before decorating.

Royal Icing Recipe

4 tablespoons meringue powder
Scant 1/2 cup water
1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
1/2-1 tablespoon corn syrup
Few drops of clear extract (I use clear vanilla)

Place the meringue powder and water in the bowl of your stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to beat it until it's combined and foamy. Add in the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low until combined. Add in the corn syrup and extract and beat on high until the icing is thick and glossy. It should have stiff peaks. Divide the icing into bowls to tint, and make sure to keep it covered.

Cookies adapted from Annie's Eats
Icing recipe from Bake at 350
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Comments

02/13/2013 8:45am

Delicious! You make it look so easy, I had a seriously sad fail last night on sugar cookies.. my heart melted :(

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02/13/2013 11:55am

These are so cute! I've been wanting to get into some cookie decorating, but I'm still a bit apprehensive, these look so cute I think I'm going to make some and have a practice!

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02/13/2013 3:46pm

So cute!! I learned how to make the hearts by dragging a toothpick last year. My mind was blown!

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02/13/2013 9:18pm

I'm going to have to try your sugar cookie recipe. Every cut-out sugar cookie recipe I've tried has spread or puffed too much, and I like the look of nice neat edges, like on yours. I'm wondering if the lack of a leavening agent is the secret? These look beautiful AND delicious!

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She Makes and Bakes
02/13/2013 9:27pm

Yep, no leavening equals no (or little) spreading. I also put the cookies in the freezer for about 10 minutes before I bake them and that helps to keep them from spreading.

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10/05/2013 9:04am

Every action of our lives touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.

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