For the hearts:
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon water
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the drizzle:
2/3 cup powdered (confectioners’) sugar
2 teaspoons water
red food color: gel, paste, or powder
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, stir together the espresso powder in the water to dissolve the espresso powder. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, nutmeg and salt until well blended. In a large bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the dissolved espresso. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until well blended. Spoon the dough into a cookie press fitted with a heart-shaped disk. Press the dough out onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing the cookies about 1 inch apart. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes or until they are dry. With a metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
Make the drizzle:
In a small bowl, stir together 1/3 cup powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon of the water until smooth and a good drizzling consistency. In a second bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/3 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of water, and red food color until smooth, evenly colored and a good drizzling consistency. Spoon each color into a self-closing plastic bag. Snip a tiny corner off of each bag, and drizzle both colors over cookies. Let the cookies stand at room temperature until the drizzles are dry. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
Variation: for Mocha Wreaths, use a wreath-shaped disk in your cookie press and substitute green food color for red.
Note: Adapted from a recipe found in Family Circle “Christmas Cookies & Crafts,” December 2002.
YIELD: About 108 Cookies