Valentine Sugar Cookies

  • Active Time 30m
  • Total Time 2h 40m

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies

In my house, it's not a holiday without a sugar cookie cutout, and our Valentine's Day sugar cookies are some of the best. I think it's because they're so cute and so easy to make. During the first week of February, whoever is home gets to help me cut out the various-sized heart shapes from the pink and white dough. Then we begin mixing and matching the sizes and colors to make lots of different patterns and designs. For an afternoon kitchen project, you'll want to make the dough ahead of time, so it will be chilled enough for you and your little sweethearts to roll it out.

ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup superfine sugar, plus more for sprinkling (or granulated sugar processed for 10 seconds in the food processor)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 drops red food coloring

directions

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In another bowl, use an electric mixer set on medium speed to beat together the butter and 1/2 cup sugar until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla, and continue to mix for 2 minutes.

On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined. With lightly floured hands, gather the sticky dough into a ball. Divide the ball in half. Return one half to the bowl, add the food coloring, and mix until blended. With floured hands, form each half into a ball. Divide each ball in half, and flatten each half into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Set aside the 2 1/2-inch and 1 or 1 1/2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutters, and two ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheets.

Remove one of the plain dough disks from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured board, on a pastry cloth or between two sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap, roll out the dough 1/4-inch thick. (If it is too hard, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.) Use the 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter to cut the dough into hearts. Use a spatula to place the dough on a baking sheet, leaving 1/2 inch between the hearts. Repeat rolling and cutting with one of the pink dough disks.

To create contrasting colors and patterns on each cookie, use the 1 or 1 1/2-inch cutter to cut out and lift out a smaller heart inside, or to the outside edge of, the larger heart. (The small heart will lift up with a cutter.) Pop out the dough with your fingertip, and replace it with a heart of the contrasting color. (Dough scraps can be combined by color and rerolled once, or both colors can be combined once to make marbleized hearts.) Sprinkle with sugar.

For soft cookie, bake until set but still pale, about 8 minutes. For crisper cookies, bake until pale golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling, cutting, and baking with the remaining chilled dough.

VARIATIONS:

  • For flavored hearts, substitute 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract with wintergreen, lemon or almond extract. Continue as directed.
  • For spicy hearts, add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or Chinese five-spice to the other dry ingredients, and continue as directed.
  • TIPS FOR ROLLED COOKIES:

  • Using a superfine sugar creates a lighter, flakier cookie.
  • Forming dough into disks instead of balls before chilling guarantees easier rolling.
  • Rolling chilled dough between two sheets of lightly floured heavy-duty plastic wrap is an easy way for beginners to get good results (I use Saran Wrap). By lifting the bottom sheet, the cut shape will often pop right out, ready to transfer to the baking sheet.
  • Serving size = 1 cookie

    Recipe reprinted by permission of Chronicle. All rights reserved.

    RecID 4642

    nutrition information per serving

    66 calories; 3g total fat; 15mg cholesterol; 54mg sodium; 8g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 1g protein

    These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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