• Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 min. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Gradually mix in flour mixture. Turn out dough and divide in half. Flatten each half into a rectangular disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.

  • Heat oven to 325 degrees. Remove dough from fridge and let stand at room temp until just soft enough to roll, about 10 min. Roll out 1 disk on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick, adding flour as needed to keep from sticking. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 min. Cut with heart cookie cutters. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets as you work. Re-roll scraps and continue cutting. Repeat with remaining disk of dough. Chill cookies in freezer until very firm, about 15 min.

  • Bake cookies, rotating halfway through, until edges just start to turn golden, 12 to 15 min. Let cool completely.

  • Meanwhile, with food coloring, tint 1/2 cup fondant black, 1/2 cup gray and 1/2 cup burgundy. Knead each until color is fully blended. Fold each ball of tinted fondant into a larger ball of white fondant 2 or 3 times. With a rolling pin, roll out fondant into 1/4-inch-thick pieces (colors will bleed into each other, creating a marbled effect). Cut with heart cookie cutter. Let dry out as you repeat.

  • Spread a thin layer of frosting on top of each cookie to act as glue. Place a fondant heart over each frosted cookie and gently press down. Brush water lightly on fondant where you want to place gold leaf. Cut small pieces of gold leaf from sheets and apply to cookies with tweezers or a small paintbrush. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Tips for Working with Fondant

  • If at all possible, pick up pre-tinted fondant so you can skip the step of tinting it yourself. If you do have to work the food coloring in, put on a pair of thin plastic gloves to avoid staining your hands.

  • Always keep fondant covered - either in a sealed bag or under a damp towel. When rolling or patting out fondant, use confectioners’ sugar or cornstarch to keep it from sticking to the work surface, rolling pin or your hands.

Tips for Using Gold Leaf

  • Gold leaf can be difficult, but boy, is the payoff worth it! Two helpful tools are a set of fine-detail food-grade paintbrushes and some tweezers. Check and craft stores for both.

  • Once your cookie surface is dry, paint a little water on the fondant where you’d like to add the gold leaf. Pick up a small piece of gold and place it on the wet area. Tap down the gold leaf for a smooth finish, or leave it bumpy for some 3-D glam.

Nutrition Facts

253 calories; 3 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 62 mg sodium. 55 g carbohydrates; 0 g fiber; 45 g sugar; 1 g protein;