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Special Valentine Sugar Cookies

February 14, 2011

A couple years ago my mom found this Message-in-a-Cookie kit from Williams Sonoma, and it’s been sitting on a shelf with my cookbooks since she passed it along to me. I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to pull out the kit and make my own specialized message cookies.

Last year, as you may remember, I made Will Chocolate Truffles for Valentine’s Day, and in an effort to “top” last year’s yummy treat, I decided to make him Valentine Message Hearts, but in cookie rather than candy form, using the Message-in-a-Cookie kit my mom gave me. I used the included sugar cookie recipe, although I believe any sugar cookie recipe should work just fine. I also added Wilton icing colors rather than the supermarket food coloring (these colors always remind me of Easter eggs rather than Valentine Candy Hearts).

Williams-Sonoma Sugar Cookies

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Food coloring gel (optional)

Over a small bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on high speed for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, slowly add the sugar and beat for 2 minutes, stopping the mixture occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for 1 minute, stopping the mixer once to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Stop the mixer and add half of the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until most of the flour has been absorbed. Add the remaining flour and continue beating until all of the flour has been absorbed and the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl, 2 to 3 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide into 2 equal balls. Gently work in food coloring. Shape each into a disk and wrap separately in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 2 days. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let stand for 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of 1/4 inch.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper.

Dip cookie cutters into flour just before using and cut out shapes. Place on the baking sheet. Gather up the scraps, reroll them and cut out additional cookies. Refrigerate the cookies until firm 20 to 30 minutes.

Bake the cookies until golden brown around the edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the parchment sheets with cookies onto wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies directly onto the racks and let cool completely.Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Serve and enjoy!

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