Happy Valentines Day to all of my beautiful readers!!
This has been one of my favorite holidays since I was a child! Each year I woke to find a little gift at the breakfast table along with a sweet card from my parents, to start the day off on a sweet note! The days leading up to Valentine's day, my mother used to help me bake dozens and dozens of sugar cookies, which I would wrap in pink cellophane and ribbon and pass out to the other kids in my classes. It's special memories like these that always reminded me that this day is about so much more than a significant other. Single or not, I've never had a bad Valentine's day, because I always shared it with family and friends!
Now that I have my own family and wonderful husband, I love celebrating Valentine's day with them as a family - and baking sugar cookies is still my favorite part!!
This is the same recipe I use every year at my holiday cookie baking party, they're the most delicious and light cookies. They're soft and chewy with crispy buttery edges, a delicious hint of almond and topped with a thin royal icing. I'm eating one right now, and I dare you not to eat 10 in one sitting!
The real secret here is the use of powdered sugar rather than granulated sugar - it makes all the difference! Try not to eat too much of the addictive batter, I promise the cookies are even better baked!!
Perfect Sugar Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg (medium sized)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- Cream the butter and powdered sugar together with an electric mixer. Once mixed, add the egg, vanilla, almond extract, and baking soda and continue to stir on medium speed. Once incorporated, turn the mixer down to low speed and add the flour in one cup portions. When the flour disappears, turn off the mixer and transfer the dough onto a floured surface. Knead the dough until it forms a solid ball. If dough is sticky, add additional flour while kneading (do not be afraid to add ¼-1/2 cup more flour while kneading if sticky).
- Next, on a floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to ⅜ to ½ inch thickness. The thinner you go, the faster they will bake & the crispier they will be. I like them to be thick and soft, so I keep them around ⅜ inch thick and use a 2.5 inch circle cookie cutter or wine glass rim to cut them out.
- As you are cutting them out, transfer them to a parchment paper covered cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches between them (to allow them to spread). Cover and refrigerate cut out cookie dough for 1-2 hours. (For more intricate cut out shapes, I highly recommend this refrigeration step. For regular circle cookies, refrigerating is not as important, but will result in a cookie that does not spread as much. For intricate shapes, I cut out the cookie shapes first and then refrigerate the entire trays. This helps so you do not have to work with a cold chunk of dough.)
- Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the edges are very lightly browned. Do not worry if they look underbaked, as they will continue to bake on the hot cookie sheet after it comes out of the oven.
- Cool and frost with a vanilla icing of your choice. Have fun with colors & decorations to make these match any occasion.
- ½ cup egg whites (I use liquid egg whites so that I don't waste the yolks from real eggs)
- 1¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- In a mixing bowl (using the whisk attachment) beat egg whites on high speed for 2-3 minutes or until stiff. While the mixer is still on, slowly add the powdered sugar and beat for another 20 seconds. Add almond extract.
- Pipe or smooth over cooled sugar cookies.
- Decorate and Enjoy!!
Adapted from Design.Eat.Repeat.
I hope you have a wonderful Valentines day!