Valentine Sugar Cookies

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Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies!  After my years at the bakery, it just doesn’t feel like a sweet heart day unless I bake some of these wonderful cookies. They smell fantastic when they’re baking…irresistible!  This is my favorite sugar cookie recipe--it’s so easy to mix up and roll out. Don’t skip the step of chilling the cut out shapes, otherwise you will have heart “blobs”!   If you aren’t up for icing and decorating, just sprinkle on some coarse decorator or baker’s sugar before baking and you’re done.   This recipe makes about 60 3″ heart cookies.

 

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These are frosted with Royal Meringue Frosting.  This frosting dries hard so they can be stacked, boxed or packaged and your designs stay in tact.  You could also decorate with a simple powdered sugar+cream+vanilla frosting–this icing will stay soft, so no stacking for gift giving, but are they really going to last that long??  Next step, the decorations.  I’m going for the old style home-made look on these!  Nothing too fancy.

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The Best Sugar Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter room temperature (2 sticks)

2 cups sugar

2 eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or flavoring of choice)

2 tablespoons milk, cream or half and half

4 cups all purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, vanilla and milk and mix well. Mix the dry ingredients together and slowly add to creamed mixture. Divide into 2 equal portions and wrap each one tightly in plastic and allow to chill for at least 1 hour or overnight. (in freezer should take about 30 minutes)

Preheat oven to 350°.   Remove one portion of dough from refrigerator and let sit out at room temperature until just beginning to soften. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/4” thickness. Cut into desired shapes and place on a parchment covered sheet pan. If using decorator sugar, sprinkle on before baking.   Chill cut outs on sheet pan for at least 10 minutes before baking to help cookies retain their shape. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from sheet pan and cool completely on wire rack.

Frost and then decorate with Royal Meringue Frosting if you plan on packaging these cookies.

 

Royal Meringue

3 tablespoons Meringue Powder

4 cups (about 16 ounces) powdered sugar

1 teaspoon extract of choice

5-10 tablespoons warm water

Beat all ingredients on medium high speed for about 7-10 minutes. Add less water for piping and more water for frosting cookies.   Add paste color as desired.