Sweet and simple Valentine's Day cookies with a pretty pink marbled royal icing without meringue powder. These cookies look so impressive with the icing but are surprisingly easy to make! They keep their shape in the oven for perfect hearts with a nice even thickness, and are just right for decorated with the swirled icing.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Flour: for even more tender cookies, you can use pastry flour or a mix of plain and pastry.
- Powdered sugar: also called icing sugar or confectioner's sugar. This makes the cookies lighter.
- Extract: if you prefer, you can switch the vanilla and almond extract quantities to have a stronger vanilla flavour.
- Make it dairy-free: use a good stick or block-type vegan butter (not the spreadable kind) and make sure to freeze the heart cut-outs again before baking.
Use the JUMP TO RECIPE button at the top, or scroll to the bottom of the post to see the printable recipe card with full ingredient measurements and complete instructions.
How to Make Valentine's Cookies
Step 1: cream the butter and sugars for about 5 minutes, then add the eggs.
Step 2: beat in the eggs and extracts.
Step 3: add the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt. Mix until combined.
Step 4: form 2 discs of dough and refrigerate for half an hour.
Step 5: roll the dough out and cut into heart shapes. Freeze for 30 minutes.
Step 6: bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, then cool fully.
Step 7: make a half batch of royal icing, then colour two parts with food colouring. Drizzle over the white icing and dip the tops of the cookies.
Step 8: let the icing set for at least an hour before serving.
- Don't over-mix: sugar cookies will turn out tough if the dough is mixed for too long. That's why you switch to a paddle attachment (or wooden spoon).
- Use three colours: for the best marbled icing, you'll need plain white and two more colours. For Valentine's Day cookies, of course that's red and pink, but you could use other colours too!
- They might be imperfect: unlike tracing and flooding, dipped sugar cookies will show a bit of the cookie underneath the icing. It's cute.
No space in the freezer? You can refrigerate the cookie shapes for an hour before baking rather than placing them in the freezer to chill. This prevents the cookies from spreading in the oven so don't skip it.
How to Store
Storage: let the icing set overnight if you plan on stacking the cookies to store. Keep them in a sealed container at room temperature for up to a week.
Freezing: make sure the icing is set, then freeze the cookies in a single layer before transferring to an airtight container to freeze for up to a month. Thaw at room temperature. It's best to move the cookies out of the container when thawing, again in a single layer, so they don't stick to each other.
How do you cut heart shaped cookies without a cookie cutter?
If you don't have heart-shaped cookie cutters, you can freehand hearts with a paring knife! Gently trace the shape onto the dough with the tip of the knife before cutting to get the form you'd like, then cut them out. It takes a little more time but makes very sweet heart shapes.
Why are my sugar cookies hard?
If your cookies bake up hard, it's probably for one of three reasons: incorrect measuring (too much flour) which can be solved by weighing ingredients, over-baking, or mixing too long.
I don't like almond extract, what can I use instead?
You can replace the almond extract with vanilla. To boost the cookie flavour a little more, you could add the zest of an orange or lemon to the dough too.
If you make this Valentine's Day Cookies recipe or any other cookie recipes on the Baked Collective, please take a moment to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It’s such a help to others who want to try the recipe. For more baking, follow along on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.
Valentine's Day Cookies
- Measuring cups and spoons or a digital kitchen scale
- Large mixing bowl
- Hand or stand mixer
- Fine mesh sieve
- 3 small bowls
- Shallow bowl or plate
- Wire rack
- ¾ cup butter room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ batch Royal Icing for decorating
Make The Sugar Cookie Dough
- Use an electric mixer with a whisk attachment to cream the butter and sugars in a large mixing bowl at high speed for 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through mixing.¾ cup butter, ¾ cup granulated sugar, ¾ cup powdered sugar
- Add the eggs, almond, and vanilla extracts to the butter. Mix on high speed until fluffy and well combined, about 2 minutes. Again, scrape down the sides of the bowl halfway through mixing.2 large eggs, 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sift the flour into the bowl. Add the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Switch to the paddle attachment and mix on low-speed until a soft dough forms, about 1 to 2 minutes.2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt
- Divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a disc about 1 inch (2 ½ cm) thick. Wrap the cookie dough discs in parchment paper. Chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Bake The Cookies
- Remove a disc from the refrigerator. Lightly flour a piece of waxed paper on a work surface. Place the dough on the paper and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Place a second piece of waxed paper on top. Starting in the middle of the dough, gently use a rolling pin to roll it out to a thickness of ¼ inch (6 mm).
- Cut out shapes with any cookie cutters you like. Repeat the process, re-rolling the scraps when needed until all the dough is gone. Place the cutouts in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove the cutouts from the freezer. Arrange them on the prepared baking sheets, leaving room between each cookie. Bake the cookies for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cookies are pale gold on the edges.
- Remove the cookies from the oven onto wire cooling racks. After 10 minutes, transfer the cookies from the sheets directly to the racks to cool completely before decorating.
Marble The Cookies
- Make a half batch of our royal icing recipe. Divide the icing into three bowls. Leave one bowl of icing white, and color the other two bowls with your favorite food coloring.½ batch Royal Icing
- Pour the white icing on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Drizzle the other two colors over the white.
- Dip the cookies top-down gently in the icing. To keep the marbled effect, don't move the cookies around. Pick up the cookie, let any extra icing drizzle back onto the plate, and quickly flip the cookie over onto a wire cooling rack. Use a toothpick to gently pop any bubbles and push icing onto any exposed edges.
- Let the cookies set for at least one hour. Let the icing set overnight if you want to place them in a box or container.