Hi Fellow Cookie Lovers,
Today I am going to show you how to make a very simple heart; one of several I used last year for Valentine’s Day. They also make great favors for Bridal Showers and Weddings.
I get a lot of questions about how to make these hearts, specifically because of the “lattice” work on them. Believe it or not, this is a VERY simple design and I am certain that you will be pleased with the results if this is your first time making a heart like this.
I have picked this particular design because it gives you a chance to perfect your lattice skills in a small area and you get some ideas about adding borders to otherwise simple cookie shapes. So here is how I start…
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
A 4″ baked cookie in the shape of a heart
3″ heart shaped cookie cutter
#1 Decorating Tip
White Royal Icing – pipping consistency
White Royal Icing – flooding consistency
Bake a heart cookie; in this example I chose a cookie cutter about 4″ so as to give you enough room to work with but not to much to make the project cumbersome.
I am using a chocolate cookie because the royal icing detail shows up particularly well against the chocolate. I then take a smaller heart – about 3″ – and place it in the center of the cookie and then use a etching tool to outline the shape onto the cookie. This sets a pattern on which I will then pipe an outline.
I then take my Piping Icing with a # 1 decorating tip and outline the interior heart.
Once you have finished Step 3, you have the entire foundation of your cookie design in place. Everything you do from this point on is based on this heart outline. Easy so far.
Next, using the same #1 tip, I draw a line down the middle of the interior heart to divide the heart in half. On the left side of the heart I am going to flood it entirely in white icing of flooding consistency. I am going to use the right side of the cookie to do the lattice work. If you have a preference for doing the lattice on the left instead, that’s fine, whatever way feels more comfortable for you.
At this point, I set the cookie aside for about 20 minutes to allow the flooded area to harden up a bit before proceeding on to the outside border.
Don’t get scared at this point. Making half circles around the heart really is easy, it just take a bit of practice. When I first started making these hearts, my half circles were different sizes, even still they are never perfect. I just try and keep them all the same size. I typically start at the bottom and work my way around the heart. This process is somewhat forgiving as you get better and better at it. The overall design looks good even if the half circles aren’t exactly the same size! If you are not familiar with the “dragging” process, it is a process where you anchor your icing onto the cookie and then squeeze and pull the line of icing letting the icing fall onto the cookie while you control the shape it takes. On details this small, I don’t really drag and drop until I get to the lattice work so I keep the tip close to the working surface for this step.
Next, I continue on by adding a design in between each of the half circles. I do this by placing my icing tip (still #1 tip) about 1/8″ away from the area where each half circle meets the other. I then start making a medium-sized dot but rather than picking up my tip, I keep pushing icing through the tip and slowly drag the tip towards the area where the half circles meet slowing stopping the pressure on the icing flow.
Next, I add the tiny dots on the crest of each half circle. I place two dots at the top and then another dot in between those two dots. I continue to do this on every crest of each half circle working my way around the entire heart. You will see at the top and bottom of the heart there are some areas that won’t allow for all three dots, I just use one to balance out the overall design.
Next, I add a large dot in each half circle.
Again, I put the heart aside for about 20 minutes for the work to harden a bit before moving on to the lattice work. You want to make sure if your icing tip hits any part of the decorated sections that it won’t ruin your overall design. I tend to do the border first and then the lattice but a lot of other cookie artists do all of the lattice work first and then move on to the flooding and border work. See what feels comfortable to you. I’ve had a lot of practice with the lattice work and get a better idea of what design I want to put on top of the lattice only after I do the border work. You’ll find your own style/way of working.
Okay…the LATTICE WORK!! If I can tell you only one thing about doing lattice work it is this…practice, practice, practice. Last year, I had an order for 700 Valentine’s Day cookies that had to be completed in a two week time period!! It was the first time I did lattice work, if you can believe it, but I continued to get better and better even after that production nightmare was over. After you do a few of these you will laugh at how difficult you thought it would be. If you want to view an excellent tutorial on making lattice/lace cookies, you absolutely need to visit Julia Usher’s website and search her tutorial database. She has a couple of videos that helped me out tremendously and I don’t think anyone teaches it better. I think you’ll really enjoy all of her tutorials but the lattice/lace cookies especially. Just a warning, DO NOT BE INTIMIDATED by her cookie creations. She truly is an artist who is “off the charts” talented. I admire her work so much and am constantly inspired by her. I don’t think I’ll ever be THAT good, but I appreciate each level I get to in my own time.
Okay, moving on to the lattice work. As I stated, I selected this cookie design because the lattice lines are much easier to do if the distance between starting the line and finishing the line is short. If I have a larger cookie that requires a distance of 3+ inches or more in line length, I always use a ruler to start my first line. I simply place the ruler on the cookie and etch in my first line. This sets a straight guide for me from the beginning. Again, it’s a bit forgiving, so don’t worry so much about getting the lines perfect.
I lay out my first line and usually like to start in the middle of the area I am going to do lattice work in. I place my decorating tip at the left, squeeze a bit to anchor the icing onto the cookie, keep squeezing as I drag the icing across to the other side, drop the line and push down a bit to anchor the line down. You may find you get a small dot at the start and end points of your lines but with practice, you will get the feel of how much, or how little, to squeeze to eliminate the dots.
Here’s a hint, if you don’t get his line straight, simply take a toothpick and lift the line off the cookie and start over! That is also one of the benefits of doing lattice work straight onto the cookie (rather than on top of a flooded/dried area). Once you have that line straight, simply work up and down to fill in the area. You may find that your icing breaks from time to time. This can either mean that your icing is a bit too dry for this technique, or, an air bubble breaks the line. Again, use your toothpick to pick up the line and redo it.
Okay, sorry, time to let the cookie dry for about 10 minutes. Trust me, I let the first layer dry because if you make a mistake laying down the vertical lines, it is MUCH EASIER to pick up the icing line with a toothpick if the horizontal lines are dry to the touch.
Next, I repeat the same process for the vertical lines that I used to pipe the horizontal lines.
I let the cookie dry, yes, again, for ten minutes. I find letting the lattice work dry a bit lets the dots keep their shape better when you pipe them onto the lattice. At this point, you can do any design you like. One suggestion, however, I start in the middle first. It keeps your overall design balanced. In the example I simply used a straight line, every other dot, design and then added a couple of daisies and dots to the flooded area to complete the design.
I hope you enjoy this process and I promise you it get’s easier and easier the more you do. I wouldn’t suggest practicing on 700 cookies at once but trying your hand a few cookies at a time is fun. And don’t forget to search out other cookie lovers who do lattice work. You can always learn by trying their designs; it helps inspire you to create your own designs based on your skill level at any point in time.
I started my “love affair” with cookies when I saw lattice/lace cookies and have never looked back. They are still my FAVORITE cookies to make.
All the best,