I don’t usually bake anything for Valentine’s Day (I know it’s terrible especially since I’m a baker), but we had a snow day, and I had time on my hands. At first I thought about making red and pink cookies, but I wasn’t in the mood to flood large hearts and I was feeling a bit lazy with the two-part “border, then flood” process. I decided instead to make smaller cookies reminiscent of the chalky pastel colored hearts that I would get as child.
I have a great tip for cutting corners with having to chill sugar cookie dough (born out of laziness). This recipe calls for a lot of butter, so the dough tends to be a little tacky and soft and requires chilling. But, instead of chilling the dough in a ball, then rolling it out only to have it get soft again while cutting cookies, I roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper then chill the dough.
When it’s time for the cookie cutters, you’ll have nice clean lines, and the dough has less time to spread in the oven and the cookies have a better chance of retaining their shape.
As a personal challenge, I decided not to border the cookies before flooding them. I haven’t decorated cookies in a couple of years and wanted to see how rusty I was. I did better than I thought, but this let’s me know I should still practice!
Rolled Sugar Cookie
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Parchment paper
- Rolling pin
- Meringue powder (Ateco or Wilton)
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Your favorite flavoring (I like lemon, peppermint, orange or vanilla extract)
- Gel colors (I like Ateco)
Make the cookies:
Whisk together flour and salt. Combine butter and sugar on medium speed in a stand or hand mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 – 4 minutes. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined. At low speed, mix in flour mixture just until a dough forms. Divide dough in half, form each piece into a 4-inch disk, and place on parchment paper. Cover with another piece of parchment paper and with a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thick. Do the same with the remaining dough. Chill the dough until firm, about 30 minutes.
Cut and bake the cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cut cookies with desired cookie cutter and place on baking sheet 1 inch apart. Reroll the remaining dough, chill and cut until the dough is gone.
Bake cookies until they are a pale golden-brown on edges, 10 – 15 minutes (depending on size and thickness of the cookies). Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.
Follow the directions on the back of the container of the meringue powder for the royal icing. Add a few drops of your flavoring. Decorate as desired.