Heart-Shaped Sugar Cookies

When I was in elementary school, Valentine's Day was always really fun. I remember making heart-shaped mailboxes out of red paper with my classmates and taping them to our desks. Everyone would bring in those little valentines to give to the whole class. In middle school, it got a little awkward. People could send candy grams or fake roses to classmates but could pick and choose who to send them to. My friends and I always sent them to each other, that way we never had to worry about whether any boys had taken notice of us. I even randomly sent valentines to my friends a few years back. I don't think there's anything wrong with doing something sweet to brighten someone's day. That's part of why I think upgrading from paper valentines or silk roses to heart-shaped sugar cookies is the perfect way to spread the love this year.

Whether you love or hate Valentine's Day, I'll bet you can't deny a love for cookies, especially ones as cute as these. Sugar cookies aren't my favorite -- I'd rather have something chewy, gooey, and chocolatey -- but they are the best cookies for decorating.

I used a recipe for Simple Sugar Cookies from The Craft of Baking and made regular and chocolate dough.

Then I went with a number of different decorating ideas. I sifted through all my containers of sprinkles and colored sugars to find the ones that would be suitable for Valentine's Day, and I made royal icing and a simple glaze. My counter did not look so pretty! (Does your counter ever get like this?)

I decorated some cookies just by brushing them with egg white and then sprinkling colored sugar all over them prior to baking them.
I decorated others by brushing them with a simple glaze (1 cup confectioners' sugar, 3 tablespoons milk, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract). I coated a few cookies with the plain white glaze and used sprinkles to add a splash of color.
I then added a few drops of pink food coloring and brushed the colored glaze on some other cookies.

I made royal icing by beating 1 egg white with 1 cup of confectioners' sugar and adding a few drops of pink food coloring.
Using a small paper cone that I crafted from parchment paper, I piped lines, dots, and letters on some cookies, outlined others, and completely frosted others.
I had so much fun playing with the different combinations, seeing what colors worked well together, and working on my piping skills. And even though I say I'm not a huge fan of sugar cookies, I enjoyed these cookies much more than most other cutout sugar cookies I've had.

Are you planning to make any heart cookies for Valentine's Day? What's your favorite way to decorate sugar cookies?