Family birthdays are a special time. Not just because they mark the day someone we love entered into this world. But, mostly because they are an excuse to break out all of our glitter, sprinkles, and colorful icing. And these heart cupcake cookies made with multi-colored dough won’t disappoint!
To make birthday cupcake cookies with heart centers you will need:
- Cookies made from your favorite sugar cookie recipe
- Cupcake cookie cutter
- Heart cookie cutter (slightly smaller than the cupcake cookie cutter)
- Red or pink food coloring
- Royal icing in white and brown
- White sugar pearls
- Icing bags or bottles, couplers, and a #3 decorating tip
- Rainbow disco dust***
- Clear almond extract
- Two small, clean (used for baking only) painting brushes
After making your dough using your favorite sugar cookie recipe, separate it into two sections, one for the cupcake part and one for the heart part of your cupcake cookies. Since the hearts are smaller, reserve most of the dough for the cupcakes.
Add a small amount of red food coloring to the dough you separated out for the hearts. Knead the dough together until the red food coloring is blended throughout, creating pink cookie dough. Add more food coloring a little bit at a time if needed.
Using a small amount of red food coloring gives the dough a delicate salmon pink color. I used Americolor Super Red Soft Paste Food Coloring. If you would like a brighter pink color, I suggest using Wilton’s Rose Gel Food Coloring. You can see the bright pink color it turned the dough on my multi-colored cookie press flowers.
Once your dough is the pink color you are after, roll out the dough to your desired cupcake cookie thickness and cut out the hearts.
Then, roll out your un-dyed dough and cut out your cupcake cookies, cutting a heart out of the center of each cupcake shape. Replace each un-dyed heart with a pink heart. Bake your heart cupcake cookies according to the directions of your sugar cookie recipe.
Let the decorating begin! If you would like the centers of your cupcake cookies to have a sparkly look, it’s easy to do. Simply brush a small amount of clear vanilla extract (or a mixture of half meringue power and half water) onto the pink heart. Then, dip the end of a clean, dry paint brush into rainbow disco dust. Hold it above the cookie, tapping it with your finger so the disco dust falls lightly onto the wet surface of the heart. Gently shake off any excess dust and continue this process for each heart cupcake cookie.
***UPDATE: Please note that since this blog post was written, I have discovered that there is some debate over the use of disco dust on food products. It is marketed for cake decorating, but it is not FDA approved and is labeled only as “non-toxic”. My understanding is that it is not digested by the body and will pass through harmlessly in small amounts. For an edible alternative to disco dust, try Wilton Cake Sparkles or Sugarpaste Crystal Colors.***
Using white royal icing that is a 20-count consistency, pipe a border around the top of your cupcake cookies. (For more information about icing consistency, see Royal Icing Consistency by The Bearfoot Baker.) While the icing is wet, cover it with white sugar pearls. Work with a few cookies at a time, giving a few minutes for the icing to set on each one before gently shaking of any excess sugar pearls. Next, pipe the bottom border on the cupcake cookies using brown piping consistency (30-count) royal icing.
Let the cookies dry for 24 hours before packing or shipping. I used my heart cupcake cookies in a birthday gift basket with heart cupcake pops. Lucky for me there were extras of everything!
For more sweet inspiration for heart birthday treats check out these ideas:
1. Heart Candle Lollipops by Le Jardin de Monia (Okay, maybe they’re not sweet but they would be a great addition to something sweet!)
2. Heart Cake Batter Bark by Sugar & Cloth
3. Pancake Heart Doily via More Design Please
4. Heart Super Brownie Cake by Dozen Flours
5. Heart Sugar Cookies by sugarkissed.net