Heart Cookies are the perfect Valentine’s Day cookies! Thick lemon cutout cookies are baked to soft & chewy perfection, then frosted with a silky raspberry lemon cream cheese frosting. Most of the frosting color comes from freeze dried raspberries!
Nothing says ‘I love you” like a plate of homemade cookies – and these are incredibly delicious and festive for Valentine’s Day! Make them for a classroom Valentine’s Day party treat, to share with friends and neighbors, or as a fun dessert to enjoy after a romantic dinner at home. Let’s dive right in. And, if you’re not one of those chocolate lovers – this festive cookie is your dream dessert!
Why you’ll love these Heart Cookies:
- Chewy Lemon Cutout Cookies – These cutout cookies have the perfect soft & chewy cookie texture, with a slight hint of crispness at the edges.
- Cutout Cookies that Hold a Shape – This no-fail cutout cookie recipe always holds its shape beautifully!
- Easy Cutout Cookies – No rolling out a rock hard lump of dough or long chill times here! As soon as the dough is made, it can be easily rolled out between sheets of parchment paper & quickly chilled in the freezer until solid, before cutting shapes & baking.
- Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting – A creamy raspberry cream cheese frosting is not only delicious, but compliments the subtle lemon flavor in the cookies perfectly.
As always, the full recipe with measurements & directions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Butter – I always use salted buter for the best flavor, but feel free to use unsalted butter if you prefer.
- Eggs – Use large eggs, at room temperature.
- Sugars – A mix of brown sugar and granulated sugar ensures the perfect amount of flavor, chew, and spread in these cookies.
- Lemon – Use fresh lemon zest and fresh lemon juice.
- Vanilla extract – Use real vanilla extract for best results.
- All-purpose flour – Spoon your flour into the measuring cup, then level it with a flat utensil for best results, or use a scale. Scooping the measuring cup directly into your flour will lead to too much flour, and a potentially dry bake.
- Dairy-free – Use your favorite, trusted dairy-free butter and cream cheese to make this recipe dairy-free.
- Gluten-free – I have not tested a gluten-free version of this recipe.
How to Make this Valentine’s Day Heart Cookie Recipe Step-by-Step:
Step 1: Mix Wet Ingredients. In a large bowl with an electric hand mixer, cream butter and sugars, then mix in the eggs, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and lemon juice. (Yes, you do this in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, as well!)
Step 2: Mix Dry Ingredients. Mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt. You’ll have a thick cookie dough that will not be sticky.
Step 3: Roll, Chill, & Cut Shapes. Divide dough in half, and roll each out to 1/2″ thick between two pieces of parchment paper, using a rolling pin. Chill the dough in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes. Cut shapes with your desired cookie cutters.
Step 4: Bake Cookies. Bake the chilled cookies, 350 degrees F, for the bake time indicated in the recipe card below. Place cookie sheet on a cooling rack to allow cookies to cool.
Step 5: Make Raspberry Frosting & Frost Cookies. While the cookies cool, mix up your frosting. Beat together butter and powdered sugar, using heavy cream or milk as needed to help it come together. Then mix in vanilla, salt, lemon juice, lemon zest, raspberry preserves, and freeze dried raspberries. Divide the frosting into three bowls, and add extra raspberries and/or food coloring to make different shades of pink. Frost the cookies with an offset spatula or butter knife.
Serving + Storing this Recipe:
Store frosted cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Unfrosted cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 4-5 days.
Expert Success Tips:
- Oven Thermometer – An oven thermometer will tell you if your oven is actually running at the temperature you set it to. Your oven may not be accurate. Accurate oven temperature is crucial for most bakes, so I leave an oven thermometer in at all times to keep an eye on my oven’s calibration.
- Kitchen Scale – A food scale is the best way to make sure your flour is at the proper weight, since amounts will vary SO widely based on how you measure it, as well as the measuring cup you use, as they are not standardized.
- Roll Dough Immediately – Gone are the days of needing to wrap discs of dough in plastic wrap to chill, then having to fight hard-as-a-rock dough while trying to roll it out. Simply roll out the dough as soon as it’s made, between two pieces of parchment paper. Then, chill it already rolled out to! This trick will change your entire outlook on cutout cookies.
- Piping Bag – Feel free to use a piping bag with a round tip like the 1A if you want to pipe the frosting into a heart shape on the cookie, instead of free handing it.
- Sift Freeze-Dried Raspberries – As you can see in the photos, there’s a bit of texture in my frosting. Even though I strained the raspberry preserves, I forgot to sift the freeze dried raspberry powder, so some of those seeds made it into the frosting. If you want perfectly smooth frosting, be sure to do this!
You can halve it, but if you want double, I would recommend making two separate batches of dough as it will be too much for a mixer to handle at once.
If you want a different flavor profile for these cookies, you can follow the recipe for my Cinnamon Spiced Maple Cutout Cookies – it’s almost the same but with a few small tweaks. Don’t just swap the lemon juice for maple syrup. For a complimentary frosting, brown the butter for the frosting in this recipe and omit the raspberry & lemon. You’ll have cozy, warm cinnamon and maple flavored cookies with a rich brown butter frosting!
Not in their natural form, no. There would be too much moisture and the frosting wouldn’t turn out. This is why we use freeze dried raspberries and raspberry preserves – the flavor is much more concentrated, and there isn’t excess moisture to worry about!
Yes! Roll the dough out immediately and chill in the freezer as directed in the recipe card below. Cut shapes, then store shapes in a freezer-safe container, with parchment paper between layers. Cookie dough can be frozen for up to 2 months. bake from frozen!
Recipe Variations for these Heart Cookies:
- Maple Brown Butter Cutout Cookies – See FAQ above for an alternative flavor for these cutout cookies if you want a cozy, warm spiced cookie rather than a bright, tangy lemon raspberry cookie. A drizzle of milk or dark chocolate would also be a fun & easy way to decorate these cookies if you want to skip the frosting.
- Alternate Decorating Methods – Not into frosting? No problem! Decorate these cookies with royal icing (use the recipe from my Gingerbread Cookies, and add some food coloring and a splash of vanilla).
- Almond Extract – Add 1/2 to 1 tsp of almond extract to the cookie dough if you want a little bit of almond lemon flavor!
- White Chocolate Raspberry Cookies – Add 1/4 cup white chocolate chips, melted and slightly cooled, to the frosting. White chocolate pairs beautifully with these raspberry lemon cookies!
- Offset Spatula – An offset spatula makes frosting heart cookies (or any cookies!) and cakes a breeze! I use it for spreading batters as well.
- Red Food Coloring – Use red gel food coloring rather than the liquid food coloring you find in the grocery store. It’s much more concentrated and you won’t have to add excess liquid to get the color you want. I like this deep red gel food coloring.
- Heart-Shaped Cookie Cutter – I used this set of heart cutters and this set of heart cookie cutters to make my Valentine cookies.
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More Valentine’s Day Cookie Recipes to Love:
- Cream Cheese Frosted Red Velvet Cookies
- Double Nutella Stuffed Cookies
- Bakery-Style Monster Cookies (use festive m&ms!)
- Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (also great with festive m&ms!)
- Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (Cut out shapes with a heart cookie cutter for another fun take on heart cookies!)
More Valentine’s Dessert Recipes to Love:
- Homemade Nutella Pop Tarts
- Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes for Two
- Red Velvet Brownies
- Raspberry Chocolate Cake
Did you make this recipe? Snap a photo and leave a comment!
Heart Cutout Cookies with Raspberry Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Cookies
- 1 cup salted butter, softened at room temperature 2 sticks, 16 tbsp, or 226 grams
- zest of 2 large lemons
- 1 cup granulated sugar 210 grams
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed 220 grams
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 617.5
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the Frosting
- 6 tbsp salted butter, softened at room temperature 85 grams
- 2 cups + 3 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1-2 tbsp milk, as needed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cold from the fridge 113 grams
- 2-3 tbsp raspberry preserves, strained I do recommend straining as it removes the seeds.
- One, 1.25 ounce bag freeze-dried raspberries, divided
- red food coloring, as desired
- Prep: Zest your lemons. Rub the lemon zest into the granulated sugar with clean hands until you have a mixture resembling wet sand. Set aside. Add the freeze dried raspberries to a food processor and pulse until you have a fine powder. Set aside.
- Make the Cookie Dough: In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter with electric mixer until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add the lemon zested granulated sugar and the brown sugar and beat on high until well creamed, about 1 minute. The mixture will be fluffy looking. Add the eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice, and mix on medium high speed until just combined.Add the dry ingredients, and mix until just incorporated – stop when no bits of flour remain.
- Roll Out Dough & Chill: Divide the dough in half. Roll out each section of dough between two sheets of parchment paper (don't add extra flour!). Roll to between 1/2 inch and 3/8 inch thickness. Place each of these sheets of dough, still encased in the parchment paper, on a baking sheet and pop in the fridge or freezer to chill until firm, about 30 minutes in the freezer and 1-2 hours in the fridge.
- Cut Shapes: Cut heart shapes from the chilled dough with desired cookie cutters.
- Bake: Preheat your oven to 350℉. Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 6 cookies of similar size on a prepared baking sheet, and keep the rest cold in the freezer until ready to bake the next pan. Bake one pan of cookies at a time (for the most even bake) for 8-11 minutes. The cookies will appear just set. Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes or so before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
- Make the Frosting: While the cookies bake & cool on a wire rack, make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and powdered sugar, using a few splashes of milk as needed to help it come together. Add the salt, vanilla extract, and lemon juice and mix. Add the cold cream cheese and mix until just combined and smooth. (Adding it cold instead of at room temperature helps keep the frosting from getting weepy.) Add the strained raspberry preserves and 1/3 of the powdered freeze dried raspberries. Mix until you have a light pink frosting. Remove 1/3 of the frosting and add to a small bowl. Add another 1/3 of the freeze dried raspberry powder and mix until just combined. Remove another 1/3 of the frosting to a second small bowl. Add a bit of red food coloring to deepen the color of the remaining frosting.
- Frost Cookies: Use an offset spatula to spread frosting onto the completely cooled cookies. Add a sprinkle of leftover freeze dried raspberry powder to the cookies for a rustic look, or use sprinkles as desired.
- Serve + Store: Store unfrosted cookies in airtight container at room temp for 4-5 days, and store frosted cookies in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days.
- Make-Ahead Tips: Cookie Dough: Once the cookie dough has been cut into shapes, you can freeze them in an airtight container, with parchment or wax paper between layers of cookies. Freeze for up to 2 months, and bake from frozen. Frosting: Frosting can be made a day in advance, as well, and kept in the fridge, covered tightly. Let it come to room temperature for 10-15 minutes before using and give it a mix with the mixer to help bring it back to spreadable consistency.