Holidays often bring forward the tradition of baking cookies, certainly at Christmas. But for me, Valentine's Day has always meant making cut-out cookies. I'm sure this stems from family times in the kitchen with my mother. She had a large collection of cookie cutters. I have early memories of rolling out cookie dough, stamping in the cookie cutter to create the shaped cookies.
I also have a happy memory from my early teenage years of baking my own cut-out cookies. Generally, any cookie dough that is used for cut-outs calls for refrigerating the dough before rolling it out. That step didn't sit well with me. I wanted to complete the process without having to wait 30-60 minutes for the dough to chill. So I set out looking through all of my mother's cookbooks for a cut-out cookie recipe that could be used straight away. I find it interesting that the young age of 13 marks the beginning of when I began researching recipes!
The recipe used here for these heart shaped cut-outs is the one I found at that early age. It is a basic sugar cookie that rolls out well. The scraps come together easily to roll out for a second pass. And, it makes a delicious soft sugar cookie.
Sugar Cookie Cut-outs
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line sheet trays with parchment paper, set aside.
Working with a stand mixer or with a large bowl mixing by hand, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in the vanilla.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, blending well.
Working on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. Stamp out with the cookie cutter shapes as desired. Place the cookies onto the parchment lined sheet trays. Gather the scraps together into a ball and roll out for a second pass. Continue until all dough has been cut into desired shapes.
Bake in the oven for 10-11 minutes until lightly golden brown. Slide the parchment paper, with the cookies in place, from the baking sheets. Cool before frosting.