Heart Cookies Decorated with Royal Icing


Iced heart-shaped cookies make a lovely gift for your Valentine. This recipe uses the flood technique with royal icing to achieve a gorgeous and smooth result that sets firmly.

Prep Time:
1 hr
Cook Time:
10 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 25 mins
24 cookies


  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 ¼ cups white sugar

  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

Royal Icing:

  • 2 egg whites

  • 3 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, or as needed (Optional)

  • red food coloring


  1. Cream 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Add white sugar and lemon zest and mix well. Mix in eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition. Mix in 1/2 of the flour until combined. Mix in remaining flour until dough comes together.

  2. Shape dough with your hands into a thick rectangle. Press flat and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

  4. Dust a work surface with flour and roll out dough into a thin circle. Cut out heart shapes and arrange cut-out cookies on the prepared baking sheets.

  5. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove hearts from baking sheets carefully and transfer to wire racks. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.

  6. Beat egg whites in a bowl until frothy. Beat in confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form. Add lemon juice to thin out the mixture. Add more lemon juice for runnier icing. Divide icing into small bowls and color with red food coloring in different shades of red or pink, keeping a portion of the icing white. Cover with a damp kitchen towel at all times so it won't dry out.

  7. Decorate as you like using different techniques. For the flood technique, use runny royal icing in a piping bag with a small round #2 tip and pipe a line around the edge of the cookies. Fill in the center, evenly distributing the icing with a scriber tool.

  8. For hearts, add dots of a different color onto the wet icing and drag the scriber tool downwards through the dots. For lips, add an oval shape onto the wet icing and shape the oval into lips with the scriber tool.

  9. For feathers or patterns, pipe a line around the edge, then add stripes in different colors. Drag the scriber tool down through the stripes. For a marbled effect, pipe lines of different colors across a base layer, then drag the scriber tool up and down through the lines. Allow the icing to set completely.

    close up view of Heart Cookies Decorated with red, pink and white Royal Icing on a parchment paper lined baking sheet

Cook's Note:

Baking time is often shorter after the first batch of cookies.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

223 Calories
9g Fat
34g Carbs
2g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 24
Calories 223
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 6g 28%
Cholesterol 38mg 13%
Sodium 12mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 26g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 7mg 1%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 25mg 1%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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