Happy Valentine's Day! A romantic day for many, but not for us. It will always be a special someone's birthday in our house and we celebrate my elder son's birthday over Valentine's Day every year. However, he came home earlier this week telling me that his teacher had asked who was going to make her a Valentine's cookie. At six (seven today!) years old, they're all eager to please so he put his hand up and volunteered - then promptly came home and told me the news that "we needed to make cookies". Given the amount of homework and after school activities we have every week, I knew he was really saying "you need to make us cookies"!!
Everyone's making Valentine's cakes and cookies right now, but I've been especially mesmerised by the fabulous Nectar and Stone who make the most gorgeous baked goodies and package them beautifully as gifts. Unfortunately they're based in Melbourne so I can't pop in for a visit - but that doesn't stop me drooling over their very pretty Instagram feed!
Inspired by their lovely painted cookies, I decided I'd create some with watercolour paint effect and gold highlights. It was lots of fun making these. The base is a simple vanilla cookie with a fondant topper hand-painted using Sugarflair Edible Tints mixed with vodka. But given the fun I had, I think this would be a great activity to do with children and edible pens would work perfectly for kids to draw pictures and create their own masterpieces. I'm definitely re-visiting these during the holidays! In the meantime, with some lovely packaging and a hand-written note, these are a perfect gift to celebrate a day of romance :)
Vanilla Cookies (30 small cookies)
- 200G UNSALTED BUTTER
- 200G GOLDEN CASTER SUGAR
- 1 MEDIUM FREE-RANGE EGG, BEATEN
- 2 TSP VANILLA PASTE
- 400G PLAIN FLOUR
- Cream the butter and sugar and then add the beaten egg and combine.
- Stir in the vanilla paste (you can use vanilla essence if you don't have the paste, but the paste gives the final cookie dough the lovely little specks of vanilla throughout).
- Gently fold in the flour and mix through until the dough comes together.
- Wrap the dough in clingfilm and then leave it in the refrigerator for at least 30 mins to firm up.
- When you're ready to bake your cookie, pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (160 degrees fan).
- Lightly flour your work surface and then roll out the dough to 4-5mm thickness. If the dough crumbles apart, mould it back together with your hands.
- Stamp out your shapes using your desired cookie cutters (I used hearts and circles) and place them well apart on lined baking trays.
- Large cookies take around 10-14 mins until they're pale golden (keep your eye on them after 10 mins to ensure they don't burn) and the little cookies take around 5-8 mins.
- Roll out sugarpaste in your desired colour (I used Renshaw White Sugarpaste but you can get other brands and supermarkets are now doing their own too)
- Cut out your toppers using the shapes you used for your cookies (use the same size topper to cookie) and attach to the cookie with a little water or edible glue.
- Then using Sugarflair Edible Tints (I used pink, peach, pale blue, purple and gold), mix with a little vodka and paint onto your cookie. I wanted the watercolour effect so I made sure it was diluted enough (just test it on a piece of kitchen towel until your get your desired colour strength).
- Create your masterpiece and then package in a little bag with a handwritten note!