Thursday, March 24, 2016

Cats and Hearts Sugar Cookies

Cats and Hearts make a wonderful theme for a kid's birthday party, and this year, I set out to create some adorable one-of-a-kind sugar cookies for my niece's special day.  I had been searching online for some cookie decorating inspiration, but I just couldn't find what I was looking for.  It wasn't until I came across a handmade Valentine card that I had my breakthrough moment. I knew the instant I laid eyes on the charming image of a cat hugging a giant heart, that it would translate well for decorated sugar cookies.


I had to search through my cookie cutters for the hearts that I thought would be great for this project, and then sketch out the treats to see how I could make them work.


This is my original sketch of the cookie, along with the cookie cutters and candy elements I wanted to use.  


These cookie cutters are made by Wilton and can be found at craft stores.  At the very top of the photo we have the Wilton Hearts 4-piece set.  The largest of the set is the base for the Cat & Heart sugar cookies.  Below we have the Wilton soft-grip heart cookie cutter and the Wilton cupcake cookie cutter.  The soft grip cutter is used for the kitty cat's head and the cupcake cutter is used to cut out the ears from the heart.  

Keep reading for the how-to!


After talking to my niece as to the colors she wished to have on her cookies,  I baked several batches of my sugar cookie doughs, which were enhanced with some fresh vanilla beans from Joshua MacTaggart's Brand of Vanilla.  I have to thank my friend Joy of 'How'd You Do That', for putting this great purveyor on my radar!  Then it was onto making batch after batch of my royal icing. 


The wonderful color palette of royal icing included a light orange for a ginger tabby cat, a soft gray for the gray tabby cat, some white, pink, red and light burgundy for the hearts.

The decorative candy elements that I used for this project are really meant for Valentine's Day cookies, but for this set of treats they were absolutely perfect. The eye candies, the mini pastel hearts, the large heart candies and the multi-colored minis are just some of the great items I used.


As you can see, photo a. shows you how I cut out the heads of the kitty cat cookies.  Using the soft-grip Wilton heart cutter, I cut out the heart shapes and then removed the top centers of each of these with the Wilton cupcake cookie cutter.  At this point you are left with a little devilish-looking shape.  In photo b., cut out the bottom third of the kitty cat heads with the large Wilton heart cookie cutter, because this is the shape you will be attaching these cookies to. Make sure that you've used the large, red Wilton heart cookie cutter for the heart cookie bases.  It is then only a matter of applying some beaten egg to wedge the cookies together.  

Have prepared baking sheets ready.  Once they get a 30 minute chill period, they can then be baked in a 350F oven for approximately 16-18 minutes.  Let cool completely.

Note: it is important to roll the cat heads and the heart cookie bases the same thickness, so that you have a finished cookie that is flat and even for decorating with royal icing. 


Using a food-coloring marker (Wilton or Ateco), trace out the cat paws on the large heart.  I used the  heart lobes of the small red Wilton heart cutter to make these paws.  Next, choose the eye candies carefully so that they are the same size.  As you can see, the pupils vary from candy to candy so make sure your kitties don't have funny-looking eyes.  Outline and flood the heads of the cats in gray or light orange royal icing and carefully place large heart candies for ears, two candy eyes and one small pastel-colored candy heart for a nose.  Outline and flood the paws of the kitties in the same color, giving them white "mittens".  Outline and flood the large heart in the color of your choice.  Let the royal icing dry completely.


Using white royal icing, pipe the whiskers and the small outline of the cat's mouth.  I piped a bead of icing along the perimeter of the head, paws and hearts in the same color of royal icing to make them stand out even more (this is optional of course).  You can leave the giant hearts as is, you can write a message on them or you can pipe icing and attach candies to them.  It's up to you!

I piped three claws on a couple of cookies to see what they would look like. Not a big fan of this look, so I kept the majority of them with plain white mittens.  Still cute though!

A side view of the finished cookies shows you the even thickness of the heads and large hearts.  It's really important to get that right so that you have a flawless finish.  Using wooden dowels when rolling out your cookie dough helps.

Meow!  
Aren't they cute?


As for the heart cookies that I made for my niece, I used the cutters from Wilton and I also used a large bubble heart that measures 6" wide by 5" high.  The royal icing colors and the nonpareils were perfect for these shapes.

The large bubble hearts were outlined and flooded in a single color and were then sprinkled with nonpareils (let dry completely).  The other hearts were outlined and flooded in a single color, left to dry completely, and were then given a border of alternating colored dots.

The ruffled hearts were first decorated with large dots of royal icing on each ruffle; these were covered in nonpareils while the icing was wet.  Once dried completely, any stray candies were brushed off.  A heart in the center was outlined and flooded in royal icing and was then given a small bead of royal icing along the edge.  Done!

The small ruffled hearts were piped as follows:  Pipe royal icing dots with spaces in between, along the edge of the heart cookies.  Immediately pipe royal icing dots in a different color in between the spaces of the outer dots (this plugs up the border and creates a dam).  Immediately flood the middle of the cookie with that color of royal icing and let dry completely.  Easy!  

Made this way, the dots on the border of the cookies are embedded into the icing.

I love these hearts!


Paper Source is a constant inspiration to me and I love their products to no end.  Right around Valentine's Day, I stocked up on cellophane bags, pink ribbons, enameled heart stickers and Xoxo mini clothespins so that I could package my niece's cookies for mailing.


The kitty cats were carefully placed in clear cellophane bags which were then sealed shut with two mini clothes pins and those beautiful enameled stickers.  


If you look closely, you can see the distinct cookie shapes on the backs of the cookies.  

This kitty is ready to be shipped out.

Large cellophane bags, small cellophane bags, pink ribbons, both wide and narrow, made this cookie box for my niece's birthday extra special.  Among my favorite cookies from the dozens I made were the large bubble hearts.  That bubble gum pink royal icing really made that particular cookie rather extraordinary.

Happy Birthday to my wonderful niece!



Cats and Hearts Sugar Cookies are bound to make anyone smile upon receiving them.  Whether you reserve these exceptional cookies for Valentine's Day, a birthday party or for any other celebration, make sure that you give yourself a couple of days to create them.  Keeping candies, icings and cookie supplies at the ready makes this kind of undertaking less of an ordeal, and much more enjoyable.  I can't tell you how much fun I had making them. 

From my home to yours, make it a family tradition to gift the little ones some decorated cookies for their birthdays.  They're going to love you for it.

6 comments:

  1. You know I love all your cookies.. but these are so creative and just so adorable! You never stop amazing me. xo

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    1. Thank you so much Kenn! That means a lot to me my friend. :)

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  2. Oh, David! They're PURRRRRRfect!

    The love you have for your niece is precious!

    Well done. Again. Still. Always.

    xo

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    1. Thanks SO much for liking them! I tried my best to make these extra special. :) <3 <3 <3

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  3. Adorable. I love that you so thoroughly share your great creativity and fab tips. Thank you, David.

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    1. Thank you, Gwendolyn! Have a great Spring!

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