Whether you are looking for a homemade gift for someone special or a fun holiday activity with kids, these sugar cookies couldn’t be simpler, tastier or more beautiful. We take the buttery and perfectly crisp rounds and dip them into colored icing, resulting in a marbled and jewel-like effect that’ll surely impress your valentine. Swap out the cookie cutter shapes and colors to create cookies for any holiday or special occasion.
heart-shaped cookie cutters in various sizes (suggested sizes: 3-inch and 1 1/2-inch)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
For the cookies: Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and mix until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and mix until well combined, scraping down sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed, about 2 minutes.
Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, roll the dough on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper until it’s about 1/8-inch thick. Using heart-shaped cookie cutters, cut the dough and place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart (a small off-set spatula is really helpful when transferring the cookies). After both pieces of dough have been rolled out and cut, combine the dough scraps and re-roll and cut to utilize as much of the dough as possible.
Bake until the cookies are just barely golden around the edges, rotating halfway through, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
For the icing: Meanwhile, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla in a medium bowl until smooth. The consistency should be similar to that of slightly thinned yogurt and should coat the back of a spoon. Adjust with additional confectioners’ sugar or milk, if needed.
Place 2 tablespoons of icing into each of 2 small bowls. Add 4 drops of red gel food coloring to one bowl and 2 drops of pink gel food coloring to the other and stir until fully incorporated. Using a small spoon, drizzle a small amount of each color over the white icing and then repeatedly drag a toothpick through the icing until you create a marbled effect.
Working with one cooled cookie at a time, carefully dip it face-side down into the icing and allow any excess to drip off before placing the cooking back on the cooling rack. Add additional red and pink icing to the bigger bowl of icing as needed to maintain the marbling effect. Decorate with sprinkles (if using) before allowing to the icing to fully set, about 4 to 5 hours.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off the excess. Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods. If you prefer a softer cookie, reduce the baking time by 2 to 3 minutes.
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