It’s a bit late, sorry, but I couldn’t find any time to post these before or on Valentine’s Day. The cookies were sent to my son’s class celebration party last Friday. But this post is not entirely about these cookies.
Over some time, I’ve been observing what little kids (I’m speaking about 5-7 year young here) usually bring to school for special occasions, what they prefer to eat and how they do it. Being germophobic and mess-intolerant, I found that individually wrapped basic sugar cookies is an effective and hygienic solution. Everyone gets their own little bag, unties it, and then handles the content with his (or her) clean (or not so) hands, without palpating the rest of the cookies. And there’s another benefit. Even if not all treats are eaten in the class, everybody usually grabs one “to go” and there’s nothing left. Why should it be considered as a benefit? Well, my son gets pretty upset if his cookies are not in demand (not that they are not good; they just can’t compete with heart-shaped store-bought lollipops).
I know I’m crazy, but I also know I’m not alone. And to add more to my profile – I used beet juice to color the dough. If anybody knows where I can find natural food colors, please, please, let me know.
Makes 4 dozens about 2 ½ -inch cookies.
- 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour + 2 tbsp, divided
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp fresh beet juice
In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 2/3 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Gradually beat it the sugar and continue mixing until light and well combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until the dough forms; you might finish mixing with your hands or a wooden spoon.
Pinch off a small amount of the dough (about ¼ of the whole amount, 200g) and transfer it into a small bowl. Add the beet juice and 2 tbsp of the flour and knead until the color is uniform (ware gloves ). At this point the dough will seem bright purplish; the color will fade in the oven, don’t worry.
Shape the of the dough into ½-inch-thick disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 1 day. Let the dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.
Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll a half of the plain dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out as many palms as you can fit, place onto the prepared baking sheet, cover with parchment or plastic, and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Continue with the rest of the plain dough, including the scraps. Then roll the pink dough to the same thickness and place the rolled dough, covered with plastic, in the refrigerator to firm up. It might seem like a lot of chilling, but it ensures a perfect fit. Once the palm cutouts are chilled and firmed up, remove them from the refrigerator and, using a small cookie cutter, cut out small hearts right in the middle of each palm. Remove the pink dough from the fridge and cut out small pink hearts. Fit the pink hearts into the heart-shaped hole of each palm. Refrigerate again for about 15 minutes before baking.
Bake, in batches, for about 12 minutes, until the edges start turning golden. Cool the cookies on the sheet on a cooling rack. The cookies can be kept up to a week in an air-tight container at room temperature.