food coloring of your choicegel coloring works best
Make the cookie dough:
Heat oven to 350°F. Line a few cookie sheets.
Place butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until well combined. Then add the egg and vanilla and beat just until incorporated (do not overmix egg!).
Combine flour, baking powder, salt and spices in a separate bowl, then gradually add to butter mixture and mix on low speed until combined into scraggly dough (again, do not overmix!).
Roll out and cut shapes:
Remove dough from bowl and place on a clean, lightly floured surface. Push together with your hands a few times until a smooth dough forms – do not knead or overwork; or cookies will be tough! Divide dough in half and roll out each half on a lightly floured work surface to ¼ inch thickness.
Cut out heart shapes with a heart cookie cutter, re-rolling any scraps of dough to cut out more. Place similarly sized cookies on same cookie sheets, 2 inches apart to allow for even baking.
Bake, cool and decorate:
Bake one sheet of cookies at a time for 8-12 minutes (8 minutes for small cookies, 10 minutes for medium cookies, 12 minutes for large cookies), or until they're lightly golden underneath and feel dry and delicate when lightly touching the top.
Cool cookies on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
To ice the cookies, stir all ingredients for icing together until smooth. Color as desired (I divided the icing between 3 bowls and colored one red, one pink and left one white). Ice cookies as you like (decorate with sprinkles while icing is wet, if you want). Let dry for a good few hours before packing or boxing up!
Butter: Use unsalted butter. Make sure it is very soft before you start making the dough, it makes the mixing a million times easier.
Cinnamon: This is optional, but I love to add a warm spice when we make these otherwise very classic sugar cookies for Valentine’s Day. It just adds a little extra hint of warmth, which is fitting for a day celebrating love! We extra-love using a Chai spice mix if we have it on hand, but regular old cinnamon is just fine. You can skip it if you prefer. Or use some leftover pumpkin pie spice… which is actually quite similar to Chai spice!
Don’t overwork the dough: I already noted this in the instructions above, but it’s really crucial not to overwork cookie dough. You want it to be well combined and smooth to roll out, but don’t knead it like bread dough or mix it for too long. This will develop the gluten in the flour and turn out tough cookies.
For rolling: Make sure you don’t roll the cookies too thin, or they won’t be soft. If you prefer, you can dust your work surface with icing sugar instead of flour.
!! If it takes a long time to cut out the cookies !! If it’s taking you a relatively long time to cut out the cookies (it does for me with the kids), place the cut out cookies on the baking sheet in the fridge (or outdoors if it’s cold where you are) for 5-10 minutes before baking.
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