Saturday, January 28, 2012

Valentine Envelope and Love Note Decorated Sugar Cookies

I had a vision. Yes, I did. It was of an open envelope with a heart or love note spilling out. It was a sugar cookie covered in perfect royal icing. They were gorgeous . . . in my mind.

In reality, not so much. Not tooo bad but not as nice as I would have liked.

If you'd like to try your hand at these cookies, here's a little tutorial on how to do it.

You'll need . . .
  • black royal icing, piping consistency, #2 tip for outlining, #1.5 tip for writing (if you're not like me and actually remember to switch tips)
  • white flood royal icing, 10 - 12 seconds, #2 tip
  • red flood royal icing, 10 - 12 seconds, #3 tip
  • square cookie cutters - 2 1/2" for the envelopes, 2" for the note paper
  • heart cookie cutter - 1 3/4" or larger

Roll and chill the dough as I do here.

For the sealed envelopes, use the 2 1/2" square cutter, then cut across, a little more than halfway up to make rectangles. (or if you're not like me and have rectangle cutter, use that.)

Using a knife, score lines to help later with piping.

For the envelopes with the hearts, cut squares with the 2 1/2 " cutter. Score across with a knife at the height of the envelopes. Using a knife, cut the flaps of the envelopes as if they were open.

With the heart cutter, cut hearts. Also cut into your open envelope shapes with the heart cutter. Insert the hearts into the blank areas you just created. (A larger heart would really have been better here. I was thinking that the bottom tip of the heart was going to be hidden "inside" the envelope because it was below that horizontal line. Doh. That's just the fold of the flap.)

Score the lines with a knife as before. (Not shown here.)

For the envelopes with the love notes, cut squares with the 2 1/2 " square cutter. Score and cut as before.

With the 2" square cutter, cut out squares. Also cut into your open envelope shapes with it, at a diagonal. Insert the note into the blank areas you just created. (It may be hard to see here how I inserted the paper because of my scoring on the envelope and across the note paper.)

No need to score across, horizontally, through the note paper, as I did. (Yes, I was confused. I actually had to get an envelope out and look at it! A little too late though for the hearts to be correct.)

Time to pipe.

For the hearts, I found it easiest to start at the bottom of each. It gives you more time to get going before the curve. (OK, it gives ME more time to get going.)

I piped the heart or note papers first, then outlined the envelopes, then the flaps.

See the fold lines? I'm still not sure if I should have outlined those. I can't decide if it would have looked better or worse without them.

I so wish those hearts were tucked down in the envelopes the way the papers are!

Pipe these babies too. Hearts first, then outline, then the flaps.

I used an edible marker to draw the hearts before piping. I very rightly so didn't trust myself to free-hand pipe those little guys.

All you've got left to do now is flood. By the time I piped everything, it was dry enough to get going.

I let the note paper dry for a little while before piping the words. Boy do I need practice writing. It would have helped if I had switched to a #1.5 tip as I had planned.

I made some plain hearts too. Just piped with black and flooded with red. Love the contrast! And they came out super smooth. Yay!

So what would I have done differently?

Definitely something with the heart coming out of the envelope. That's my biggest annoyance with this batch. I wish I had either used a larger heart cutter or just moved the small heart down lower.

I'm not all that pleased with my black piping on the envelopes. They looked fine until I flooded. Maybe if they were grey or white. Maybe no piping at all? Maybe using 20-second icing and flooding sections of the envelopes one at a time, the ones that don't touch first. You know?

A smaller tip for writing the love notes. Sheesh. I just wasn't thinking. If my handwriting was better, the #2 tip wouldn't have been so bad.

Overall, I'm semi-pleased with this bunch. I do love the concept. I do love the black/red contrast. I'm happy with my flooding. It's pretty smooth (except in the smaller areas). The piping and flooding of the plain hearts is good. Coming up with a way to make the envelopes with the hearts and notepaper coming out was very fun.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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