Sugar and Spice Heart Cookies
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C Fan, Gas Mark 4). Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment. Put the butter and caster sugar in a bowl and beat until pale and creamy.
Sieve the flour, Bicarbonate of Soda and spices on top. Carefully combine to make a mixture that resembles a crumble topping and then bind together with the milk. Using your hands, bring the mixture together to form a firm dough. Turn on to a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth and pliable.
Roll out the dough to a thickness of ½ cm (¼ inch). Using an 8cm (3inch) wide heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out 10 hearts, re-rolling the dough as necessary. Arrange on the trays and prick with a fork. Chill for 30 minutes.
Bake the cookies for 15-18 minutes until firm and lightly golden round the edges. Whilst the hearts are hot, using a skewer, make a small hole in the top of each cookie for threading ribbon through, then leave to cool on the baking trays for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To decorate, dust the work surface lightly with icing sugar and knead the white and red Regal-Ice in turn until smooth and pliable. Roll out thinly and cut out 6 hearts from the white Regal-Ice and 4 hearts from the red Regal-Ice, re-rolling as necessary.
Brush the tops of each cookie with honey and stick the icing hearts on top. Carefully make a hole through the icing and biscuit beneath using a skewer, and also make a small indent in the icing above the hole for the ribbon or cord to sit neatly. Leave the cookies on a wire rack, lightly covered with greaseproof paper, for a few hours (or overnight) so that the Icing dries out a little.
Sift 30ml (2 tbsp) icing sugar into a small bowl. Mix in 30 drops Red Gel Food Colour and mix with a few drops of warm water to achieve a thick, bright piping icing. Mix the remaining icing sugar with a little water to make a white piping icing. Load the white and red piping icing into 2 small piping bags fitted with fine writing nozzles. Pipe your designs on top of each biscuit. Leave to dry for a few minutes until firm.
Carefully thread thin ribbon or cord through the holes on each heart; tie and hang on the tree.