Decorating Valentine Sugar Cookies
Valentine’s Day is coming and you’re looking for the perfect treat for the kids, their teachers, and your coworkers. You’ve found it here, with these Valentines Sugar Cookies. They start with a super easy sugar cookie recipe from Out of the Box Baking! (This is the only recipe I use for my cut-out sugar cookies and it’s an original recipe.)
Say it with a Sugar Cookie!
There’s no better way to say “I love you” or “I care about you” than a lovely Valentine. On February 14th, all across the globe, people will send cards, flowers, candies, and a host of other sweet treats, signifying their love for one another.
Now, imagine saying the same thing with a cookie! That’s what you’re doing every time you pass one of these sweet Valentines treats along! Here at Out of the Box Baking we want to help you do that by giving you the tips and tricks you’ll need to hand-paint these lovely Valentine’s Day cut-out cookies.
The Perfect Sugar Cookie
You might also recall that I gave you my Top 7 Hacks for Cookie Decorating in a separate post.
And I did a full write-up at Christmas-time related to Holiday Sugar cookies, as well.
One would think I had thoroughly covered the subject, but. . .no. By far the most popular day of the year for sugar cookies is. . . (((drum roll))) Valentine’s Day!
Ask any baker which day of the year causes the most hand cramps and he/she will say, “Valentine’s Day, of course!” (You just haven’t lived until you’ve hand painted 250 cookies in a 24-hour period in preparation for the busiest day of the year!)
Learn to Paint Valentine’s Day Sugar Cookies
You’re not interested in making 250 cookies. You’re not even sure you can make 25! Well, rest easy! That’s about how many cookies you can make from one batch of my sugar cookie dough. And by the time you’ve painted 5 – 6 of them, you’ll start to feel like a pro! (No, really!)
Are You Ready to Make My Valentines Sugar Cookies?
If so, you’ll need to gather a few items before you begin. No doubt you have most of these in your pantry right now. You’re going to want to settle in for a fun experience. Hand-painting sugar cookies is a blast, after all! So, what will you need? Take a look!
Valentines Sugar Cookie Ingredients:
There’s a printable recipe card with a complete list of ingredients, measurements, and directions at the bottom of this page. I’ve made this super easy for you! In the meantime, here’s a peek at the ingredients you’ll need:
- room temperature butter (salted)
- powdered sugar
- granulated sugar
- clear vanilla extract
- almond extract
- extra-large egg
- baking powder
- all-purpose flour
That’s it! All things you probably have in your pantry or fridge right now. And don’t worry! If you only have unsalted butter you can use it. Just add a pinch of salt to the recipe.
But wait, there’s more! If you’re making my famous cut-out sugar cookies you’ll need the recipe for my royal icing. Check it out below!
Royal Icing Ingredients:
These are simple ingredients, with the exception of one very special addition, meringue powder.
- meringue powder (Wilton)
- powdered sugar
- almond extract
- clear vanilla extract
How do I make Valentines Sugar Cookies?
I covered this in my Cut-Out Sugar Cookies post but I’ll quickly run through the how-to here.
Put softened butter, vanilla, and almond extract into your mixing bowl. You can use a large bowl with electric hand mixer but I use my stand mixer with paddle attachment.
Whip at medium speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add the sugars and then the extra-large egg, whipping until fully incorporated. Work in the dry ingredients (the flour and baking powder). Mix on low speed to fully bring the ingredients together but be careful not to over mix.
Note: This is a stiff dough. Remove from bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes or place in freezer for 10 minutes until cold.
How do I Roll Out Sugar Cookies?
Make sure you have a level rolling surface and a great rolling pin. I use my fondant roller because I prefer the extra width.
I place wax paper on my counter, then set guides on either side of my work area. (I use doubled paint sticks. See more info in my Cut-Out Sugar Cookie post.
I roll and cut, then bake cookies for 11 minutes at 375 degrees on a cookie sheet that’s lined with parchment paper. Bake time may vary, depending on your oven.
Cookies should be golden brown and baked throughout, but not over-baked. Place on cooling rack to cool down. (Every baker needs a wire rack. Or two. Or three!)
Once the cookies cool completely they are ready to paint. You’ll notice that these are soft sugar cookies but still hold their shape.
Prepping to Paint the Cookies
Once cut out sugar cookies are fully cooled I can prepare to paint them. For a full tutorial on how I make my royal icing, see my Easy Royal Icing recipe. Basically, you mix up the meringue powder, extracts and water, and then work in the powdered sugar. Then you can divide and add your gel food coloring.
As you can see I went with hearts. (More on that later!) I baked 72 of them. (Each recipe makes 24 so I used three batches of cookie dough.)
Note: Freeze any remaining dough in an airtight container. I use a ziplock freezer bag.
How do I Use Royal Icing?
There are several different consistencies of royal icing to choose from. Basically, you’ll want to prepare a 10-second (flood) icing and a piping icing. 10-second icing is the right consistency when you drag a spoon through it and it takes 10 seconds for the line to go away. Piping icing is basically toothpaste consistency. You can use it for detail work.
(Note: See all of those air bubbles in the icing before it goes into the bags? I didn’t worry about them one little bit because I have a little trick where I swoosh/swing the bag around several times to work out the bubbles before piping!)
To get the icing onto the cookie you can use piping bags with tips (or even tipless bags). Some people put their flood icing in bottles, as you see here.
It’s Time to Paint Some Cookies!
I was asked to teach a little cookie decorating class, so I decided to teach the ladies some fun techniques using only one cookie shape–a heart. (Hence the reason for the 72 heart cookies I baked!)
Chances are pretty good you’ve already got a heart cookie cutter at home. If not, you can get one at any WalMart or on Amazon.
It took a while to get everything ready. Whew!
Here’s what our table looked like before we began.
Each lady took 6-8 cookies and we made the following:
Start by outlining your cookie in white. Then flood with 10-second flood icing. Allow to dry for about an hour. Turn it upside down so that the pointed part of the heart is on top. Add the puppy’s ears. I chose pink in this demonstration but I often go with red.
Next, in the color of your choosing, paint on a nose and cheeks. You’ll notice that one of his little eyes has some pink behind the black dot. Oh, and speaking of black dots, the little ones on his cheeks were made by barely touching the tip of the black icing bag to the cookie (without applying any pressure).
Love Bird Cookies
First, start by outlining a teardrop shape. Flood in white. Allow to dry then use an alternate color (I chose pink) for the second love bird. Once both sides have dried, then use a brown piping consistency to add the branch for the birds to sit on.
Next, add their eyes/lashes using black piping consistency. I also added a little “fluff” of wings on either side, as well as a tiny hint of a beak in a reddish-pink. I added some claws to clutch the branch, as well. (You’ll see in photos later on that these little lovebirds are beautiful in other colors, as well!)
Funny Face Cookies
Start by outlining your cookie in pink. Then flood it. Very quickly (while the icing is still wet) add some sprinkles in the upper corner.
Wait for cookie to dry. Then use white dots for the eyes. Finish off with black piping consistency for the mouth, pupils and brows. I’m adding an additional funny face that I did in red, to show you some variation.
(These are the perfect sugar cookies to give as gifts to your loved ones.)
Pretty Lacy Cookies
I sometimes call these wedding cookies (especially the ones in white with sanding sugar). I start by outlining half the cookie, doing a wavy pattern down the center. Then I flood it.
In the white version I added sanding sugar to the wet icing. Then, using a piping consistency, I piped on a “lacy” sort of pattern on the other half of the cookie. I added sanding sugar to the white cookie but left the pink one plain.
I like to use the wet-on-wet technique to add polka dots. I started by outlining my cookie in red, then I flooded it and quickly added drops of white and pink. Heart-shaped sprinkles were added to the upper right corner. After the cookie dried I added the little white lines to give it a ribbon-like detailing.
I wanted to show the ladies what I call the zig-zag technique. This is also called the sweater technique. I started by outlining and flooding, then I added alternating lines of color(s). Dragging a toothpick back and forth across the cookie, I created the design, then tapped the cookie against the table to get the colors to settle. When the cookie dried I wrote the word “love” on it for an added effect.
I didn’t really have all that I needed to pull off this one. I usually use a leaf tip when I’m done making the roses, but I didn’t have that with me. Basically I flooded the cookie in white and put dots of color (three per rose) and used a toothpick to swirl the dots together. Then I added some brown dots on the edge.
Cookie Parties are Fun!
I had a lot of fun teaching our little cookie decorating party! Can’t wait to do it again!
Full Tray of Cookies
You can see the full platter of finished cookies here. Most of these were done very quickly (and in front of an audience) so the detailing isn’t great but you get the idea. You’ll notice I did a couple of extras just for fun.
Other Heart-Shaped Cookies
I’m pasting in some pictures of cookies I’ve done from years past so you can see how versatile the heart-shaped cutter truly is.
Now it’s time to look at some different shapes. The technique is still the same. Flood the cookies and come on top of the (dried) flooded cookie with piping consistency.
Check out some easy and fun shapes below. Get creative with your cutters! A square isn’t just a square! It can be any number of fun Valentine’s things! And check out the double-hearts. They’re my favorite. Oh, who am I kidding?! They’re all my favorite!
I hope you have a blast making Valentines Cookies! Post a comment to let me know the outcome! My cookie party guests had a wonderful time and did a terrific job.
Check out some of their cookies below.
How to Store Sugar Cookies
You can make the dough in advance and freeze it in an airtight container (or tightly wrapped in plastic wrap). It will stay good in the freezer for 2-3 months and in the refrigerator for a week or so.
You can bake these cut-out cookies a couple of days in advance of painting them if you like. Store them at room temperature in an airtight container to maintain freshness.
Variations on this Sugar Cookie Recipe
You can always add to this recipe! Here are some things I’ve added to mine:
- Mini chocolate chips: I love adding these when baking for kids.
- Brown sugar and brown butter. You can caramelize this recipe with these two simple changes!
- Crushed peppermint. You won’t need much!
- Sprinkles. Need I say more?
- Use buttercream frosting instead of royal. You can still do some fun designs!
Remember, these cut-out sugar cookies aren’t just good for Valentine’s Day. I make them every year during the holidays. They make great Christmas cookies, perfect for a cookie exchange! Use your favorite cookie cutters to make hundreds of different designs!
More Valentines Sweet Treats
If you’re looking for more Valentines Sweet Treats you’re going to want to check out my Chocolate Covered Graham crackers. They’re decorated so cute for Valentine’s Day!
I also made some yummy Pink Velvet Cupcakes, perfect for Valentine’s Day. Check out those candy roses!
Chocolate and raspberry make a great flavor combination for Valentine’s Day. Check out my Raspberry Whipped Cream Frosting, served over a rich chocolate cupcake!
Still looking for more sweet treats for the sweetest day of the year? Take a look at my Valentines Favorites list!
My friends at Southern Home Express have come up with an Easy 2-Ingredient Cherry Chocolate Cake that looks perfect for Valentine’s Day.
That’s it for now. Thanks so much for hanging out. Happy baking, y’all!
About the Author
Janice Thompson is an author, baker, and all-around mischief maker! She has overcome a host of baking catastrophes, including a toppled wedding cake, to learn more about the baking process. Janice has published over 150 books for the Christian market but particularly enjoys writing recipes and baking devotions. To learn more about Janice or to drop her a note, visit her About the Author page.
- 2 sticks (one cup) salted butter (room temperature)
- 1 extra-large egg (must be extra-large)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp clear vanilla
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ROYAL ICING:
- 3 tbl meringue powder
- 1/2 cup + 2 t/l water
- 1 tsp cream of tartar (omit this if you’re using Wilton’s meringue powder)
- 2 tsp clear vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp real almond extract
- One bag powdered sugar (7 – 8 cups)
SUGAR COOKIES: Cream together the two sticks of butter. Add the sugars and egg, mixing well. Next, add vanilla and almond extracts.In a separate bowl whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add in increments to the creamy mixture, fully combining. Chill the dough, and then roll using one of the methods indicated above (roller with detachable rings or doubled paint sticks). Bake at 375 for ten minutes or your preference. Don’t over-bake.
ROYAL ICING: Put all items except powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Mix until frothy (less than a minute). Add full bag powdered sugar and mix until incorporated (a few seconds). Turn mixer on low and beat for five minutes non-stop until the icing is meringue-like in texture. Immediately cover with plastic wrap (touching the icing) and a damp towel above that. Now it’s time to color your icing. Scoop out about a cup of the icing into a small bowl and add your coloring gel. (Note: Don’t use water-based food colorings, as they add liquid to the recipe.) Mix thoroughly. Add tiny drops of water until you get the colored icing to piping (toothpaste) consistency. Scoop out half of it and put it into a piping bag with #2 tip. With the remaining icing in the bowl, add tiny bits of water (stirring non-stop by hand) until it reaches honey consistency. You know you’ve reached the right consistency when you can drag a knife through it and it takes about 10 seconds for the line to close up again. You can either put this flood consistency icing in a piping bag with a #2 tip or a tipless bag. You can also use a food-safe craft bottle with tip, but be aware that flooding with the bottle method often leads to air bubbles in the icing. Repeat the above process making different colors.