For me, baking and love have long been intrinsically interwoven. But what if food can actually cause love, rather than just reflect it? In the move Chocolat, Juliette Binoche played a mysterious and mischievous chocolatier who was able to produce divine, personalized chocolates for each customer who came to the store, guaranteed to fulfill their desires and enhance their relationships within days. These Love-letter Cookies and Monogram Cupcakes I’m going to teach you today may not be quite so magical and powerful (who knows?), but they’re absolutely a sure-fire way of sending love messages to those you love this year on Valentine’s Day.
In this project I’ve used a single monogram initial seal which would be great for a partner or best friend (or for yourself!), but you could also substitute a heart design if baking a batch of cupcakes or cookies for co-workers or a class. Hope you’ll enjoy the project!
Love Letter Cookies
- Cookie dough (homemade or store-bought)
- Rolling pin and knife or rolling pizza-cutter
- Cardstock rectangle cut to your desired cookie size; I used 3″x 2″
- White fondant paste
- Red fondant paste
- Apricot jelly to glaze the cookies, or edible glue if you prefer
- Monogram seal (or use a heart design or a kiss!)
- Optional Vellum envelopes to slip your cookies into and closures; I used mini wooden pegs and faux petals
Roll out your cookie dough and use the cardstock shape to cut out a set of rectangular cookie envelopes. You can use a regular knife for this, but a rolling pizza wheel is great for cutting straight lines; use this if you have one. Lay these out on a cookie sheet and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes before baking; this helps to minimize spreading. Place in the oven once chilled and bake according to your recipe instructions. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Roll out your white fondant icing to your desired thickness and cut rectangles using your cardstock shape as before. Take a knife and press gently across the shapes to make an indent from corner to corner (top right to bottom left, top left to bottom right; be careful not to cut right through), to imitate the folds on the back of an envelope. Leave to harden slightly for a few minutes.
Brush your cooled cookies lightly with apricot glaze (or edible glue if you prefer), and then gently lay one of the white fondant envelope shapes atop each cookie. Press down lightly to seal in place.
Knead your red fondant icing until it becomes pliable and soft, and then break off pieces to roll into balls(similar size to your thumb). Space these balls out properly along the length of your chopping board.
Take your wax seal and press it down into each ball, which will spread your red fondant to form the seal, just as it would with warm wax. Leave it there for a few minutes to set and harden.
Put a dab of apricot glaze or edible glue on the back of each and add to the center of your love-letter cookie.
To package up your love-letter cookies, try using vellum envelopes, which continue the theme and allow a tantalizing idea of what’s inside. Or for a special, one-off cookie, place it in an individual shallow gift box, perhaps with a poem or a letter. Use a dab of icing to secure your cookie to the base of the box for extra stability, if needed.
- Colored or plain white fondant icing
- A monogram initial wax seal (or any shape you prefer)
- Brush-on edible gold luster dust (optional) to gild your monogram seals and a soft brush to apply it with
- Chopping board
- Powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice for the cupcake icing
- Plain, un-decorated cupcakes (homemade or store-bought both works fine)
Using the same technique as for the love letter cookies seals, take your fondant and roll into small balls before pressing the seal into the center of each. If you’re using gold luster powder, dip a dry paintbrush into the luster powder and brush it lightly onto each seal, building up coats until you reach the level of sheen and gilding you’re looking for. The small tip is to do this when the fondant is still a little bit moist, but not to jab with the brush or press hard in a way which dents the fondant seal. Allow to harden.
While waiting, mix up the icing for your cupcakes. Pour a full cup of sugar powder into a bowl and add lemon juice until you have a paste of the consistency where it will drop slowly from a spoon; you want it to be runny enough to cover the top of your cake without needing to be spread out, but not so runny that it thins or drips. Scoop up a heaped teaspoon of the icing and add to the center of each cupcake, gently pushing it out with the back of your spoon, if needed, to form a circle.
Place one of your monogram seals on top of the icing while it is still setting.
Finally and the most importantly step— taste your work!
Storage notes: You can make the edible fondant seals upto a week in advance and store in an air-tight container at room temperature. Both the cupcakes and the cookies will taste best if eaten within 3 days of making. Happy Valentine’s Day!