There is something so sweet and nostalgic looking at the Victorian Valentine cards. I can see the anticipation, I can see the longing and the shy expression of affection, peeping though the frozen doors of etiquette to offer the unmistakable “I love you”.
Thankfully, nowadays we are liberated from such formal restrictions. Yet, I wonder, why are so many people so shy in saying their “I do”s?
Whether we are extravagant with exuberant bouquets of red roses, delicious gourmet dinners or little signs of affection like home made coconut pink cookie hearts, all that really matters is our hearts reaching the other’s with this unspeakably beautiful mystery called Love.
For the Royal Icing
- 1 medium free-range egg white
- 225g powder sugar
For the Cookies
- 100g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 300g plain flour
- 200g icing sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 packages vanilla sugar essence Dr. Oetker
- Pinch of salt
- 10 drops of red food colouring
- 100g coco powder
- 1 tsp backing powder
- 3 tbsp clear honey
1. Cream the butter, caster sugar and vanilla together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Mix the eggs with the honey, and sift the flour with the baking powder and a pinch of salt in separate bowls. Add the flour and enough of the honey and egg mixture to the creamed mixture to make a soft dough. If it seems a little sticky, mix in a little more flour, but don’t let the dough get too stiff and dry. Add to the mixture the food colouring.
2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, divide into 2 and knead each piece briefly until smooth. Shape into flat discs, wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Using 1 piece of dough at a time, roll out on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thick. Cut out hearts, using a floured cutter, and lift onto baking sheets lined with baking paper. Re-knead and roll the trimmings to make more biscuits.
4. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges. Carefully lift onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
5. For the decoration, put the egg white into a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon to break it up a little. Sift in the pouder sugar and mix to give a slightly stiff but still pipeable mixture. Spoon the mixture into a small nylon or baking paper piping bag fitted with a number 3 or number 4 plain nozzle. Pipe heart designs around the edge of the cookies and dip them into the coconut mixture. Leave to set.