Valentine's Day Heart Sugar Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
These adorable Heart Sugar Cookies are easy to whip up and make the perfect Valentine's Day treat! They're buttery soft, not overly sweet, and decorated with a creamy cream cheese frosting and fun sprinkles. Cut them into any shape you like, for any holiday!
1cupsalted butter, softened at room temperature(2 sticks, 16 tbsp, or 226 grams)
1 and 1/2cupspowdered sugar
1 and 1/2tspvanilla extract
2 and 1/2cupsall-purpose flour
1tspcream of tartar
For the Frosting:
6tbspsalted butter, softened at room temperature
6ouncesfull fat cream cheeseUse the kind that comes in blocks
2 and 1/3 to 2 and 2/3cupspowdered sugar
red food coloringSee note
Make the cookie dough: Cream softened butter in a large mixing bowl. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, almond extract, and egg and mix until just combined. Don't over mix. Add the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar and mix until a very crumbly dough forms, and then just begins to form larger clumps. Stop mixing, and use your hands to form the dough into 2 rough balls, making sure there isn't any flour in the bottom of the bowl that was missed (if there is some, just incorporate it with your hands). If the dough won't come together (it will look like a bowl of crumbles instead of forming clumped cookie dough), mix in the tablespoon of milk. (I always have to add this).On a lightly floured countertop, gently flatten each ball into a disc that's an inch or two thick. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge at least 2 hours, in the freezer for 40 minutes, or overnight in the fridge.
Prep: After the dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Roll Out Dough and Cut Out Cookies: Roll out the dough, one disc at a time, to between 1/4 and 1/8 inch. If the dough is cracking, let it sit out at room temp 5-10 minutes, then try rolling again. Cut out cookies using heart cookie cutters and place on prepared cookie sheet. Place in the freezer for 5 - 10 minutes before baking. The cookies should feel pretty solid before baking. This is the best way to prevent them from spreading and losing the nice shapes you cut out. You can also chill them in the fridge for 15 - 20 minutes. Re-roll dough scraps and repeat until you've used up all the dough.
Bake: Bake cookies for 8-9 minutes. They'll still be pretty light in color (see photo above), but the bottoms will be lightly browned and you won't make a visible dent when you gently poke the cookie with your finger. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Make the frosting: Cream together softened butter and cream cheese until well mixed. Sift in the powdered sugar and mix. Add vanilla and mix. Add the extra 1/3 cup powdered sugar if frosting seems too thin. Divide into two and keep half white, and add a tiny amount of red food coloring gel to the other half to make pink frosting. This stuff is strong, so start with a dot on the end of a toothpick, and mix. Then, add more, a small amount at a time, until desired color is reached. Chill, covered, in the fridge while waiting for your cookies to cool.
Serve + Store: Frost cookies once completely cooled. Add white and gold sanding sugar sprinkles if desired or dust with powdered sugar. See note about my food coloring preferences. Store cookies in airtight container at room temp for 3-4 days.
Make ahead tips: Cookie dough can be made up to 2 months ahead and frozen. Wrap the discs tightly in plastic wrap, then place in a ziploc bag in the freezer. Thaw in the fridge overnight before using. Cookie dough can also be made a day in advance and stored in the fridge - wrapped tightly in plastic wrap. Let it set out for a few minutes before rolling it out. Frosting can be made a day in advance, as well, and kept in the fridge, covered tightly. I find that when working with thoroughly chilled frosting, using the electric mixer to mix it back up helps soften it to the right spreading consistency in a jiffy! If you're not in a hurry, you can also let it sit out at room temp until it's spreadable.
Food coloring: This is the food coloring I like to use. A small drop goes a long way. Use a toothpick and just dab a tiny amount into your frosting, and mix it in well with your mixer. Add a bit more at a time, until desired color is reached. You can use red, pink, purple, or any color you want! I reserved about 1/3 of the frosting to frost some cookies white and I dyed the rest with red food coloring for the pink shade. Wilton also has a burgandy shade of gel food coloring that makes a gorgeous pink. That food coloring will stain your clothes, so be careful when using it! Wear an old shirt or an apron, and cover your counter with wax paper for easy clean-up.