I’ve mentioned before I’m not much of a baker. Never have been.
In fact, I have hardly any memories at all from my childhood of baking cookies or cakes. Sure, there was an occasional pumpkin pie here and there or some boxed blueberry muffins, but not much else.
I find this a little sad. Not that every girl — err, child, rather — needs to grow up baking, but I think it would have been nice. That’s all.
So, as Valentine’s Day approached, I had an urge to bake…with my daughter. I wanted her to experience the joy and accomplishment that can be a part of baking. I wanted her to be involved. I wanted her to decorate cookies. I wanted her to bake.
I figured I’d teach her how to make sugar cookies. I mean…sugar cookies are like the easiest cookies ever to make, right? Wrong. Well, at least for me, that is. Though a good chewy, moist sugar cookie is one of my favorite types of cookie, I previously had difficulty putting together a recipe that met my standards.
This was not the case, however, when I baked with my daughter. Everything went well. Everything tasted great. Jordan barely made a mess and absolutely LOVED decorating her cookies. It was an experience I will not soon forget.
Truth be told, I have my mother-in-law to thank for the idea, as she suggested I make some cookies with Jordan for Valentine’s Day.
I also made a delicious almond-scented icing to go on the sugar cookies, mostly so Jordan could decorate with her sprinkles, but also ‘cuz nothing says “Happy Valentine’s Day” like red and pink glazed heart-shaped sugar cookies. Right? Well, maybe chocolate. But, that’s neither here nor there.
If you’re not sure how to make sugar cookies, please try this recipe. I’d bet you don’t even need to go to the store to buy anything. They’re that simple. And good. And worth it.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Iced Sugar Cookies
For the sugar cookies:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together (using a whisk, electric mixer or stand mixer) the butter and sugar until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and beat for an additional minute. Slowly add the dry sifted ingredients to the wet ingredients until all is incorporated.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Roll the dough into two equal balls and wrap with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour. After refrigerated, roll out each ball, one at a time, to about a 3/16-inch to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut with cookie cutters dusted with flour (to avoid sticking). Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 7-10 minutes, or until the cookies appear to almost turn golden around the edges. The cookies should look like they aren’t quite done. Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 3-4 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to fully cool.
For the icing:
1 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar
2 tsp. milk (may need up to 4 tsp)
2 tsp. light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. almond extract
red food coloring, if desired
In a small bowl, combine the sugar and milk until smooth. Mix in corn syrup and almond extract until smooth and glossy. If too thick, add 1 tsp. milk or corn syrup. If you’re wanting to make several different colors, separate the icing into separate bowls prior to adding any food coloring. Add drops of food coloring to reach your desired intensity of color. Spread over completely cooled cookies using a spoon or knife. Let sit until icing is hardened, about 30 minutes to one hour.