Soft sugar cookies with vanilla watercolor buttercream frosting.
When I first decided to make watercolor heart cookies for Valentine's Day, this is not at all what I had in mind. I originally planned for chic, royal iced cookies with hand-painted watercolor decorations. They were going to be gorgeous!! But then our nanny had a minor accident and called out for the week... In the end, I've never been more in love with the final versions of these Soft Watercolor Valentine's Day Cookies. Here's why...
It's so sad that after knowing our dear nanny was going to be okay, my next reaction was panic. I love my son more than life, and I hate how anxious I became just thinking about entertaining him for a full week all my myself. I am so grateful to be able to work from home with a flexible schedule, but being a toddler mom is super exhausting. It's not that our nanny is a better caregiver than I am or that Everett prefers her over just mom, but the break she gives us twice a week makes both of us love and appreciate each other even more. Even after working for us for nearly a year, she is still so fresh, new, and able to switch up our busy weeks. For Everett, he likes the change of pace and not having the same person dictate his days and tell him what to do and not to do all day.
After scratching my week's to-do list, I started brainstorming some new activities for me and Everett to do. As mentioned, I already planned on making cookies for Valentine's Day, so this recipe was added back to the schedule. Making and decorating cookies with Everett turned into a three part project - preparing the dough, baking the cookies, and (of course) decorating them. Guiding him through each step was such a joy. As he grows, his listening skills are sharpening, his motor skills are becoming more refined, his patience is always surprising, and his creativity makes this mommy's heart explode with pride.
There was so much love that made its way into these cookies. We had such a great week full of mom-son activities, but being able to share one of my deepest passions with my little man flooded me with emotion and pure happiness. He shocked me with his independence, his ability to sit and calmly spread frosting as I snapped pics, and his patience for applying each sprinkle with his tiny fingers. He was concentrating so hard! He surprised me by asking to mix the colors and waiting until I said it was okay to eat our final products.
As I observed his craftsmanship, I noticed how beautifully the shades of buttercream began to blend together. The pink, sky blue, and violet colors (that he picked out himself) started to marbleize and create a stunning watercolor effect. Now, I won't lie - frosting these types of cookies with buttercream is a bit tricky. But as I started frosting a few of my own, I realized that we created an even better version of the Watercolor Valentine's Day Cookies that I originally planned. Even better, I got to share the entire experience with my best bud.
The recipe for the soft sugar cookies comes from Sally's Baking Addiction.
For the Vanilla Buttercream:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
gel food coloring, optional
Make the Vanilla Buttercream:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer on low, gradually add in 1 1/2 cups of the confectioners' sugar. Add in the milk and vanilla. Once incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for 2 to 3 minutes. The buttercream should be white and creamy. If it is too thin to spread, add in the remaining sugar. Divide the buttercream and tint to your desired color(s).