aqua faba 120ml - the water (unsalted) from one tin of chickpeas
icing (confectioners) sugar, 600g
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
The ratio of aqua faba to sugar should be 1:5, so if your tin only yields 100ml, use 500g icing sugar
Whisk the aqua faba until it's white and frothy, then add the cream of tartar. Whisk some more then add the vanilla essence and add the icing sugar gradually. Continue whisking until you have a stiff glossy royal icing. This takes MUCH longer than it does with egg whites so either use a stand mixer or have strong arms.
This can be used now as stiff royal icing to outline cookies (this helps to create a barrier when you flood the cookies); to add a border; or to pipe brief note of encouragement to your Valentine.
It can also be flooded - simply add some water and when a thin ribbon disappears back into the morass after 8 seconds, it's ready. It can of course be coloured too.
|The ribbon test: one MISSISSIPPI two MISSISSIPPI three...|
That's the boring bit over and done with - you now have a 5 minute window of opportunity to have fun dropping in colours and shapes before the icing starts to set.
You can drop in polka dots, or if you want to make the dots into hearts, simply drag a cocktail stick through each dot.
For slightly fancier hearts, drop in two dots and pull them together with a cocktail stick to form a heart
Or if you'd like your cookie to look like a little Fairisle sweater, drop in some lines and feather them up and down with a cocktail stick
I've used gingerbread cookies - the vegan recipe is here along with a vegan icing recipe that does not use aqua faba.
Happy Valentine's Day!