It’s Valentine’s this weekend so what other excuse do you need for cutesy shapes and touches of pink and red everywhere?! I also can never resist making something chocolatey for V-Day too (see my trio of chocolate treats from last year and my chocolate & pear pudding from the year before!). This time around I opted for simple heart-shaped cookies flavoured with good quality cocoa powder. They’re sweet with a lovely subtle flavour and so easy to make too!
Before you get started, here’s three useful things to know about these particular cookies:
- When I’m baking, I automatically preheat the oven before I get started. This cookie dough needs to chill for a couple of hours so there’s no point going near the oven too early!
- It’s better to slightly under-bake than slightly over-bake these so keep an eye on the clock when these are in the oven!
- These are especially incredible if — like me — you always dunk your cookies in to a nice cup of tea! They hold together really well, even after being submerged in hot drinks.
290g plain flour
170g room-temperature butter
25g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Icing sugar (optional)
Beat the butter until it has thoroughly softened. Gradually add in the sugar, beating continuously until light and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat for another minute or so.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder in to a separate clean and dry bowl. Gradually add these dry ingredients in to the butter mixture. Once you have a soft but firm dough; wrap it up in some kitchen paper and pop in the fridge for 2-4 hours.
When the dough has chilled for long enough, preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly grease two baking sheets and line with kitchen paper. Divide the dough in half to make it more manageable. Dust a clean board or kitchen counter with some flour and roll out each half evenly.
Cut out cookies using cutters (preferably heart-shaped!) or even an upturned glass, re-rolling the dough to use up every last bit! Transfer the cookies to the baking sheets. At this point, you can — if you like — shake some sprinkles directly on to some or all of the raw cookies. Pop the sheets in to the hot oven and bake for 8 – 10 minutes.
Once out of the oven, allow them to cool and firm up a bit for at least ten minutes. Then you can either enjoy your freshly baked cookies or leave them to cool for another hour or so before icing them.
I use a super simple icing here — literally just icing sugar and water. I don’t measure anything — it’s just the tiniest drop of cold water stirred in to a few tablespoons of icing sugar. It should be relatively spreadable but still quite a stiff icing so that it doesn’t run or drip off of the cookies. I initially started to apply this with a piping bag but — to be honest — I got bored quickly with that and just used a knife to smooth it on in the end instead! I get around 20 cookies out of this recipe. I iced roughly half of them, had some with sprinkles baked on to them (doesn’t really affect the taste or texture, just looks cute!) and then left the rest completely plain. It’s always nice to have a little mix and however you decide to decorate them, they’re sure to taste delicious! Happy Valentine’s!