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Upgrade Your Cookie Shapes with a Piping Bag

Crumbly, melt-in-the-mouth, and lightly scented with vanilla, an old-fashioned butter cookie is a dreamy biscuit that’s universally adored. However, there’s always room to level up, even with the most beloved of recipes! Elevate your next batch of butter cookies by adding food coloring to the dough and piping it into cute customizable shapes, like hearts, wreaths, and fingers for any occasion.

The dough for butter cookies contains egg (unlike other varieties of biscuits, like shortbread, that have a sandier, drier texture), making it more pliable and therefore easier to pipe out smoothly. Its forgiving consistency is an absolute boon for getting creative with unusual designs and its neutral hue is also perfect for taking on colorings. Simply make up your cookie batter as normal, add in a few drops of your desired color, and incorporate evenly into the dough to create anything from cherry pink to sunshine yellow. You can even make natural dyes with plants, such as matcha, beets, and turmeric if you prefer. 

When your batter’s prepped, add it to a piping bag that’s fitted with a star nozzle. This type of nozzle will create biscuit shapes with the characteristic ridges typical of Danish-style butter cookies — the thin ridges on the top become crisp in the oven while the center remains beautifully buttery. Pipe out your cookies onto a lined baking sheet into any shape you fancy, from a mini coronet for an Easter party to a green Viennese finger for a Halloween treat.

How to pipe out heart-shaped cookies

Variety of piped butter cookies

To make a heart shape, perfect for anniversaries and Valentines, it’s best to pipe your cookies out in two parts. Begin by pumping out a small rosette on a silicone mat, bring your nozzle out and down to form one-half of the heart shape, then create its mirror image. No matter the shape, it’s important that there are no gaps or thin spots in the dough, or they’ll be too brittle and fall apart. 

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Once you’ve piped all your cookies, be sure to refrigerate them before placing them in the oven so the butter can chill and firm up. If you immediately put them in the oven after piping them out, the butter will melt too quickly and cause the cookies to spread out. 

When your cookies have cooled, you can gussy them up by dipping them into a bowl of melted chocolate to create a scrumptious chocolatey shell. Milk chocolate is the classic flavor of choice but you could even try using a caramelized white chocolate or a dark chocolate for an intensely rich taste. Finally, shake over some multicolored sprinkles, edible luster dust, or miniature candies for an extra pop of color and sweetness.

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