It felt sort of like Christmas again in my kitchen last week. The smell of gingerbread cookies baking on a cold, winter day is heavenly. The taste of gingerbread cookies with my afternoon tea - even better!
I hadn't thought of making gingerbread hearts for Valentines Day until a friend of mine forwarded a link to me of a blogger in Norway who turns gingerbread cookies into beautiful works of art that she displays in her home during Christmas.
I don't have the patience for spending hours decorating cookies since I'm not fond of frosted cookies anyway. So, I really didn't give much thought to them and, after all, I had just made my favorite recipe for gingerbread cookies at Christmas. Also, my one and only attempt at Royal Icing was a total flop.
Then we had a snow storm. I was stuck indoors and decided to give my decorating skills another try. I won't show you the first few, but after getting the consistency of the Royal Icing worked out and the right tip on my decorating bag, it started to get more and more comfortable.
I cut the heart shapes with a knife to get a variety of free-form shapes. The frosted cookies will be used solely for decoration. I added a dusting of granulated sugar to some and topped others with sliced almonds. My friend tells me the taste of these cookies reminds her of old fashioned Windmill cookies.
You can find my personalized recipe for gingerbread cookies here. I punched a hole in the top of each heart with a plastic drinking straw before baking.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes about 2 1/2 cups (I halved this recipe)
5 Tablespoons meringue powder
4 cups confectioners' sugar, or more to thicken icing
6 Tablespoons water
3 drops glycerin
Note: You can find both meringue powder and glycerin at JoAnn in the baking section.
Add the meringue powder and confectioners’ sugar to a bowl Add water, a few tablespoons at a time and mix until the consistency looks good. Not too runny. Add more powdered sugar if needed. Beat for 1 minute. Add glycerin and mix thoroughly.
The icing will keep for several days in an airtight container. After you decorate the cookies the frosting will take about one hour to dry thoroughly so handle carefully until then.