This is a few days late due to technical difficulties but this Valentine’s I worked up a variation on triple chocolate cupcakes with a lovey-dovey message in cookie letters. You could make these for anyone in your life, cause who doesn’t like chocolate, amirite?
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I have been sitting on these tiny letter cookie cutters for a while, dreaming of using them to spell things out on cakes and cupcakes! I am pleased to report it was much easier than I thought it would be. I’d also like to eventually give the cookie letter treat bags a try (sorry to link to a pin, I think the original source is out of business but the image is alive on Pinterest!).
I have recently taken to saying I am a card-carrying lazy girl (after reading this super cleaning hacks post!). I only needed the tiniest bit of dough for the cookie letters so what I did was mix up a whole batch of this sugar cookie recipe and roll out just as much as I needed to cut the letters out. Then I wrapped the rest of the dough up and tossed it in the freezer for a rainy day cookie emergency (I am a huge fan of freezing dough ahead of time!).
I had to use a toothpick to push some of the letters out, which made the edges a little ragged. Next time I would make sure to dip the cutters in flour before each cut (which I don’t normally bother to do).
Sugar cookie letters
After cutting the letters I chilled them for 15 minutes and then inserted a toothpick into each one. The chilling makes it a little less likely you’ll mangle the letter when pressing the toothpick in. I inserted the toothpick below the most “vertical” part of the letters so it wouldn’t fall off the toothpick once baked – see how it is inserted on the far left of the “L”? The only one I worried about was the “U” – it was fine in the end but next time I’d probably do a second toothpick on the other side of the letter.
I baked the tiny letters at 325F for 8 minutes (I set my oven at 350 but I know from my oven thermometer it was only around 325 – having an oven thermometer has made my baking so much more accurate!). They came out perfect – just barely golden brown on the bottom. I didn’t want the letters to get too crunchy.
My other lazy-girl hack for the letters is that I whipped up a quarter batch of royal icing (1 cup icing sugar, a little less than a tablespoon of meringue powder and a few tablespoons of water – just enough to get the right consistency). I couldn’t be bothered piping and flooding so I just held the bowl at an angle and dipped the cookie in, laying it down after the excess icing dripped off. It worked like a charm!
To avoid dirtying multiple bowls (see, wasn’t kidding about lazy) I dipped every third letter in white. I then added a little dye and did the pink letters, and then added just a little more dye to get the red letters (I used Wilton’s gel colouring from Michael’s). Then I popped the rest of the icing into the freezer too, after covering the surface with plastic wrap). I kept the consistency of the icing pretty thick so there wasn’t too much running.
For the cupcakes I used my own homemade chocolate cake mix (it’s vegan and everything!). I made a quick half batch that turned out 10 cupcakes (two extra just in case – there’s 8 letters in “I love you”!). I use reusable silicone liners whenever I am baking for home (they wash up really well in the dishwasher).
To add a little extra romance I decided to fill these cupcakes with chocolate ganache. I don’t think it’s worth it to store a special gadget for the once in a while that I make filled cupcakes, so I just cut out a cone with my knife. After I fill it I cut the pointy tip off the cone to make space and then pop it back the same way it came from. I’ve also seen some people also just place it inverted back on top (this would leave more room for filling).
Hot tip: Don’t make the mistake of trying to use unsweetened dark chocolate for your ganache! It is unfortunately super bitter. I may or may not know from experience. Definitely go with semi-sweet.
After topping the cupcakes with a fudgy buttercream frosting I added some sprinkles for a little flair and then inserted the letters to complete my masterpiece.
These cookie letters could easily be adapted for any holiday just by spelling out something like “Happy Birthday” instead (who needs candles when you could have cookies?!).
For a dessert with so many elements I really didn’t find it so bad after using all my lazy girl hacks. But, after all, mistakes have been my best teacher in baking, so I encourage you to give something new a try and learn a little something by doing it!
I’d love to see your cookie letter creations in the comments 🙂