Ten years ago Valentine’s Day was about roses, dinner out, maybe even a new pair of unmentionables. Today, Valentine’s day is about boxes of perforated Power Rangers cards with Tootsie Pops taped to them and forcing my 5 year old to write his own name 28 times like a Drill Sergeant. G-E-O-R-G-E! Again! G-E-O-R-G-E! Again! Just get it done! Oh, and it’s also about frosted sugar cookies.
For the dough:
- 4 sticks salted butter, softened
- 3 C. sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 t. orange or lemon extract
- 1 t. vanilla
- 1/2 t. salt
- zest of 1/2 a lemon (about 1 T. finely grated zest)
- 4 3/4 C. flour
For the frosting:
- 1 stick butter, melted
- food coloring- I used Chefmaster food coloring gel in Christmas Red to get the violent pink color.
- 2 1/2 C. powdered sugar
- 1/4 t. vanilla
- water as needed for thinning
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes on med-high speed. Add the eggs and extracts, salt, and zest and beat until well combined. Add the flour a scoop at a time, mixing just until combined, then stopping the mixer while you add the next scoop. Mix just until combined, repeat. Over mixing creates a hard cookie, so for a tender bite, go easy. Wrap the dough and chill for an hour or two.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for about ten minutes, or until just beginning to brown on the edges. These cookies will not rise or change shape if they go into the oven cold. You can place them fairly close together without risking spreading. Cool cookies on a wire rack before frosting.
While the cookies cool, make the icing. Melt the butter in the microwave and stir in the food coloring. Whisk in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Really beat the heck out of it to get it nice and smooth. If it gets too thick, add water a teaspoon at a time. Really only add a teaspoon- otherwise you will get into this good vs. evil battle with the bowl: too thin! add more powdered sugar! too thick, water! Crap, now it’s too thin again! Trust me and add just a teaspoon at a time. This frosting will “crust” fairly quickly, so frost and adhere sprinkles right away. The nice thing about a crusting frosting is it makes the cookies much easier to package- you don’t have to wrap them individually. Although that would look adorbs. In little cellophane bags with heart stickers…or maybe with a Power Ranger sticker:)