For the cookies
- 100g softened butter
- 75g caster sugar
- 1 large free-range egg yolk
- 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1-2 tbsp milk
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 200g icing sugar
- Red food colouring
- Black food colouring
- Preheat the oven to 180˚C/Gas 4. Lightly grease two baking trays and line with baking parchment.
- Add the butter and sugar to a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk. Sieve in the flour and add enough milk to give a fairly soft dough. Bring the dough together with your hands.
- Lightly knead the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out to a thickness of 5mm.
- Cut out heart-shaped cookies using the large and small heart cookie cutters.
- Place the biscuit shapes on the prepared baking trays and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until pale golden brown. Keep a careful eye on the cookies – it doesn’t matter if you open the oven door to check. Once baked, remove from the oven and lift out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the icing, first pass the lemon juice through a fine sieve to remove any pips or bits. Mix the icing sugar with the lemon juice. Add about two tablespoons of water to the icing mixture, adding it little by little until you have a relatively stiff but smooth icing. Add a splash more sieved lemon juice if necessary.
- Reserve a little white icing for the eyes of your love bugs. Divide the remaining icing into two separate bowls. Add red food colouring to the icing in one bowl, black food colouring to the other, adding a little at a time and mixing well after each addition, until you achieve the desired shades.
- Fit a small round nozzle into a piping bag and spoon in a little red icing. Pipe your decorations onto the cookies, using the red icing to first create an outline and then fill this in. On the larger cookies, use the black icing to add the face and wing details, and finish with little dots of white icing for the eyes.
Tip: For a smooth finish, pipe the outlines of your designs in firmer icing, then slacken the icing by mixing in a little more water and use this to fill in the designs.