Remember those Valentine's day candies of your youth? Today they're transformed into conversation heart cookies with messages that will really make your heart flutter!
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt together, set aside.
Cream the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix to combine.
Add the flour mixture in two batches and blend until the mixture just holds together.
Bake at 350 degrees until cookies are set, about 10-12 minutes, depending on the shape/size of the cookie.
Combine confectioners sugar, meringue powder and cream of tarter in large mixing bowl.
Add water and clear vanilla and beat on high speed with paddle attachment until stiff peaks form, but mixture is not dry.
Add drops of gel food coloring to reach desired color, but keep in mind the color will deepen and darken as the icing dries.
Fill piping bags fitted with round metal tips and ice the cookies. I divide the icing into two bowls, 2/3 reserved for flood icing (a thinner consistency ideal for covering the entire cookie) and 1/3 reserved for decorating (a little thicker and used for piping designs).
Allow the base to dry for a couple hours before piping designs.Let completed cookies dry for at least 12 hours before storing in air tight containers.
Cookies will keep for several days stored at room temperature.
Recipe Yields: 30 - 2 inch cookies