Recipe: Valentine Cookies

Decorating these thin, crisp, vanilla shortbread biscuits is a good excuse to let your imagination run wild with bright colours, glitzy baubles and edible glitter and great fun for children who like to help! Makes 30-40 cookies.250g plain flour175g unsalted butter2 medium eggs yolks75g icing sugar1 vanilla pod1 tsp vanilla extract

For the icing:250g icing sugar2 egg whitesRed food colouring1. To make the pastry for the cookies dice the butter, sift the icing sugar and flour and scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod. 2. Place these ingredients in the bowl of a processor and blitz until grainy. 3. Add the egg yolks and process briefly to make a dough. 4. Form into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for half an hour.5. When you are ready to bake the cookies pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and on a lightly floured work surface roll the pastry out to a 2-3mm thickness. 6. Cut out your cookie shapes and place on non-stick baking trays. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until they are still pale but starting to colour at the edges. 7. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for a few minutes to harden slightly and then gently place on cooling racks.8. When they are completely cold and you are ready to ice them sift the icing sugar and whisk the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff. 9. Beat the icing sugar into the egg whiles until you have a smooth thick paste. 10. Divide into small bowls and colour each separately then ice and decorate away to your heart's content!


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