Last-minute Valentine Cookies

Valentine's Day is TOMORROW, people!!!

{Did that scare anyone? It's OK...there's still time!}

Right before I left for New York, our church had a big celebration....there was music and gumbo and a bake-off (!).

I made a little something for the bake-off, but there was also a need for desserts for the dessert table.

{It's hard for me to say no to bringing dessert.}

Did I mention I had my bake-off baking to do and a little trip to New York City to pack for?

I needed something quick and easy, but still pretty. Inspired by these at Munchkin Munchies and these by The Decorated Cookie, I decided to go with mini chocolate hugs & kisses cookies.

This recipe made a bunch (I forgot to count) and they were fast (no flood icing). Perfect for last minute baking!

The only thing I would change would be to make the x's and o's pink next time.

You can even play tic-tac-toe with them when you can't eat anymore.
{That may not happen as they are deliciously addictive, especially in bite-size form. Seriously...make these cookies!}

Chocolate Cut-Out Cookies
{modified from Cookie Craft}

2 & 1/2 c. all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/2 c. dutch-process cocoa (natural is OK, too)
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1 c. unsalted butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flour,cocoa, espresso powder and salt; set aside.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light an fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well combined.

In 3 additions, add the flour mixture at low speed. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl as needed.

Roll the dough on a lightly floured and cocoa-ed surface. (I mixed the 2 of these, then spread on my rolling surface, on my rolling pin, and used it to dip my cookie cutters.)

Cut the cookies with a square cutter, then divide into smaller squares, if necessary, using a bench scraper.

Freeze cut cookies five minutes.

Bake 8 minutes. Let cool completely.

With white royal icing and a #4 (or so) plain tip, pipe the x's and o's.

With red icing and a #3 or #4 tip, pipe hearts on some of the cookies.

Let the icing dry (overnight is fine).

Mix equal parts meringue powder and water. Brush onto piped designs with a small paintbrush and sprinkle on sanding sugar. Shake off the excess.

Stray sanding sugar REALLY shows up on these cookies, so use a dry paintbrush to remove the this:

More Valentine Cookie Ideas:
PS....remember to vote each and every day, though February 19th, for Kelly's Cake for a Cause (our team's cake was Take a Bow, but a vote for ANY cake donates $1). Each time you vote, Electrolux donates $1 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund!!!

vote for me
{Oh, and after you do, go on back to this post and leave a comment. You'll be entered to win a dozen decorated cookies from me as a thank you!}

♥ Happy Valentine's Day, you guys!!! Make it sweet! ♥
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