- 100g unsalted butter, roughly chopped
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 150g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 large egg yolk
- 100g icing sugar
- Put the butter, sugar and vanilla in a food processor and whizz until smooth. Add the flour, cocoa and egg yolk and whizz again until the mixture comes together in a ball. Turn out onto a large sheet of baking paper and briefly knead the dough, until smooth. Wrap in baking paper and chill for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/ fan160C/gas 4. Dust the cookie dough with plenty of flour and roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper to a thickness of 2mm. Remove the top layer of paper. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter (about 7cm), cut out 15 hearts from the dough. Re-roll the pastry trimmings between 2 sheets of baking paper, then cut out 3-5 more hearts. Place the hearts, spaced well apart, on baking paper and slide onto 2 large baking sheets. Use the narrow end of a small plain piping nozzle to stamp holes in the top centre of each heart, about 3mm wide. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are firm and golden. Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, gradually add 2 teaspoons of cold water, stir, then add another 1 teaspoon of water to make a smooth consistency.
- Put a fine plain nozzle into a plastic piping bag and fill the bag with the icing. Pipe various designs around the edges of each cookie, then set aside to let the icing firm up.
- Thread some white raffia through the holes in each cookie and tie a knot. Hang the cookies onto twigs to display and serve. Or, to make a gift, wrap in cellophane and tie with red ribbon.