Valentines Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

This valentines I thought I would learn how to decorate delicious sugar cookies with a more-professional-looking royal icing technique rather than the regular frosting I usually slather on my cookies in a hurry. Usually I can get my baking to either look good, OR taste good–but I can never quite manage the art of both, so this time I was determined. I usually don’t do a whole lot for valentines, because my little guy was born on it, and I am usually making birthday cakes, and putting up balloons and birthday decorations, but since we’re still a week away, not only do I have the time to learn how to decorate beautiful valentines cookies… but I am still in time to teach you how to do it too! (Beginner to beginner!) I used the LionHouse sugar cookie recipe to make sure they tasted amazing, and kept with a really simple pink and white lace theme, which couldn’t have been easier for my first ever attempt at piping with royal icing! So here are a couple of recipes and tips that might come in handy this valentines:

Ingredients for the cookies: {makes 5-6 dozen}  
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup shortening
3 eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon extract
6 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
{For the Royal Icing}
4 cups SIFTED powdered sugar
4 Tbsp milk
4 Tbsp light corn syrup
4 drops lemon juice

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400degF. Line cookie sheet with waxed paper, set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the sugar, shortening and eggs. Add milk, vanilla and lemon extract; mix at low speed. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add to sugar mixture until well blended. Roll out 1/8 inch thick, cut into heart shapes.  Bake for 6 minutes, being careful not to over bake. Cookies should be light golden brown around the edges.

TO DECORATE:
For the royal icing: add the sifted powdered sugar, milk, corn syrup and lemon juice to a bowl (or mixing jug, so you can just pour it straight into the piping bag).

Fit a piping bag with a #2 tip (a really small round hole tip). Then pour half the mixture into the piping bag, and pipe the outline of your cookies.
Add more milk to the remaining royal icing, a tsp at a time {to make it a spread-able consistency} then with a knife, or spatula, fill your cookies. Leave them to dry overnight, so they’re nice and hard for decorating! To pipe the lace pattern on my cookies I used a #1 tip (the smallest hole tip I own), and I added a little hot pink food colouring and a little more powdered sugar to make it stiffer. I also used dots of royal icing to stick on the tiny heart “sprinkles.”

This cookie recipe was SO delicious that it was hard to let the icing dry in time (because everyone kept eating them!) But i’m glad I got to decorate a few and discover how simple and beautiful royal icing is to decorate with! I am also glad that I actually got to do something cutesy for my little family for valentines this year, before all the mayhem and chaos of another kids birthday party begins!

Enjoy this recipe (hopefully the way it tastes and looks!) And enjoy a valentines day for me!
<3 Sarah xoxo