My sister introduced me to this Williams-Sonoma recipe several years ago. Ever since then, I’ve made these cookies as a tradition every Valentine’s Day season. They have become my husband’s favorite cookies!
VALENTINE SUGAR COOKIES:
When working with differently shaped cookie cutters, make sure that the cookies on each cookie sheet are the same shape to ensure even baking.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 8 Tbs. (1 stick) margarine
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. grated lemon zest
- Frosting, decorative icings and sugars
Have all the ingredients at room temperature.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat together the butter, margarine and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and beat until just blended. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, beating each addition until just blended.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a disk. Wrap the disks separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.
Preheat an oven to 350ºF.
Generously flour 2 cookie sheets and roll out the dough directly onto the sheets to 1/4-inch thickness. Using lightly floured cookie cutters, cut out cookies. Carefully gather the dough from around the cutouts and set aside to roll out again.
Bake the cookies until the edges are just golden and the centers are just firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes. Using a thin metal spatula, immediately loosen the cookies and let them set for 3 to 5 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a wire rack and let cool completely. When the cookie sheets have cooled, roll out the remaining dough onto the sheets, cut out cookies and bake.
Decorate the cookies with frosting, icings and sugars. Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days. Makes 20 to 24 cookies.
SUGAR COOKIE ICING:
This icing dries hard and shiny and the colors stay bright. Choose as many different food colorings as you desire.
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 teaspoons milk
3 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
assorted food coloring
In a small bowl, stir together confectioner’s sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add a tiny bit more of corn syrup and/or milk to get the desired consistency, if needed. Divide icing into seperate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Put the icing onto the cookies with a frosting spatula or spoon. Sprinkle crystal sugars onto them, if desired. It takes several hours for the icing to dry.