Remember Valentine’s Day when we were kids? My friends and I would trade conversation hearts throughout the day as you got valentines from your friends. You always traded the “BFFs” with your best friend. If there was a cute boy and you were brave enough, you would slide a “Love” or “Be Mine” on the sly. I saved all the “Pals,” “Friends” and “Buddies” to give to all my friends.
When I saw these Conversation Hearts cookies, it was a complete “Throwback Thursday” moment for me! We usually make cookies for the school Valentine’s Day parties, so Conversation Hearts will be delivered to school tomorrow. Who doesn’t like to say it with cookies? Wondering how you write the words on the cookie? Egg yolk paint! It was super easy to do. As a rule, if there are too many steps in a recipe or it looks like it takes 8 hours, we’re not making it! Take a look at how we made these Conversation Heart valentines for the boys to give to their friends.
Just like with any trusted cookie with a solid reputation, begin with one cup softened butter. Then add powdered sugar. As you can see, my instructions to “gently” add the powdered sugar resulted in a giant dust cloud, shocked face, then a fit of giggles. Seriously? Someone is doing some hard time in the kitchen afterward to help clean up. Which reminds me: if you are working with powdered sugar, start your mixer on low to combine the sugar and butter, or you’ll have powdered sugar everywhere!
I find that if I leave my butter out for about 30 minutes, it’s soft enough that we can hand mix the butter and sugar to avoid the baking cloud of doom in the house.
Add two egg yolks to the batter. I always say to myself, “I’ll just save the egg whites and make an omelet tomorrow morning”. Nope. I forget that the egg whites are in the fridge. I find them a week later and they’re crazy weird. But maybe tomorrow is my day to make it happen? Maybe I’ll try this Egg White Omelet recipe!
Next add the vanilla. I asked Tyler who he was going to give cookies to at the party and he started to giggle. Apparently there are three girls who like him. What?! He’s seven! But I remain calm and casual to try and get their names so I can say “hi” to them. Mental notes – sign him up for every sport in the spring so that he doesn’t have a single spare minute. Swimming, basketball, baseball, tennis or whatever else there is to do. I decide to help relieve nervous energy by continuing to beat the dough...
This is going to be the recipe for making lots of friends! I think I will make these for my co-workers, too. Add 2 1/4 cups flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt. With small kids “helping,” I usually hand-mix the flour first (same concept as the powdered sugar dust cloud). Then I use the mixer to thoroughly mix the dough.
The dough is almost ready! Divide it in half and shape into ball. Flatten the dough to 1/2-inch thickness, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate it for about an hour. Putting the dough in the fridge to chill will make it easier to roll and help the cookies hold their shape when you bake them.
While the dough is chilling in the fridge, it’s the perfect time to preheat the oven to 375°F and mix the egg yolk paint. Here’s how you make it: Separate an egg using only the egg yolk, and add 1/2 teaspoon water to it, mixing the two together.
Place yolk mixture into separate bowls. I found that I had enough “paint” to effectively make 2 colors with one egg yolk. If you would like to make more paint colors, just add another egg yolk and you’ll easily have enough paint for your conversation hearts.
Add food coloring and mix to make the desired color. While mixing the paint, Bryce informed me that we were going to make a cookie for his best friend. This then became plural – he apparently has seven of them! So cute, sigh of relief – I love kindergarten! No problem. I tell him we’ll just make them for the whole class so nobody feels left out. He tells me that’s a much better idea!
Great colors for painting!
Our dough was ready to roll out, so we lightly floured our surface and rolled it out to 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick cookies.
We used a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter to make the conversation hearts. We also made some little hearts because they were just cute. If you are planning on writing words on the cookies, use the 3-inch cookie cutters so you have enough room to write on them.
Place cookies two inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. You are ready to paint! Use a regular art paint brush to write your letters. I found the smaller brushes work better to paint letters. Given the age and attention span of my kids, I found it was easier for me to help with painting the words to avoid frustration. There are no erasers when you use paint! If you have older kids, they will easily be able to write the words. The boys also painted the hearts with different designs. So easy!
I denied some artistic license and a request to write “YOLO” on these.... Nope. Not going to do it. I am not a hipster mom, nor are they teenagers yet. I kept it simple and classic.
Slide the cookies into the oven to bake at 375°F for 5-8 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. I think I pulled these out at 6 minutes (we like softer cookies). Remove from the pan to a cookie rack to cool completely. Of course, this is the perfect time to taste test! The conversation heart cookies have a rich, buttery shortbread cookie taste.
As a Valentine’s surprise, I thought about making some super sexy notes on cookies to leave for my husband to find the next morning. For us, a romantic note would include “Kitchen Clean,” “Trash is Out” and the provocative “Lunches Made Already!” I know, I’m a keeper.
To take the cookies to school, we grabbed a cookie tin box and lined it with tissue paper, then placed some of the cookies on parchment paper.
We even made one for Maca (our name for Grandma) because we know these are one of her favorite cookies!
Tyler decided that he was going to go with the “Pals” theme for the three girls who said they liked him (Whew!).
The recipe says you can also frost the cookies and then write on them, but we kept it simple and easy, as I was working with younger kids.
Check out the recipe for more ideas. I hope you decide to try these Conversation Hearts. They are a simple, easy and inexpensive (yes!) Valentine’s Day idea that shows your family and friends how much you appreciate and love them! What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than to say it with cookies? Leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of these cookies. I’d love to know what you wrote on yours.
Alexandra is paid to write for the Recipe Buzz® Blog.