Pink Heart Cookies

Last summer I received a really awesome gift. Two vintage heart cookie cutters from a very special family. A bit of background is required for this post. I’m an only child. When I was a kid, I didn’t get shipped off to traditional daycare — I instead got to go to the Qualleys’ house. Technically, they were my babysitters from the time I was 4 years old until I was about 10. But the term “babysitter” doesn’t really cut it. They became family over the course of those years. I loved going to their house. The Qualleys had three kids – all of which were (and are) wonderful people and all have very different personalities  I got along well with all of them and in many ways, they became the siblings I never had.

As is often the case, we lost touch once I grew up — save for annually exchanging Christmas cards. All of us grew up. We moved away from home. We went to college. Got jobs. Some of us got married and had children. Luckily we got to reconnect a few years ago at Anna’s wedding. And since then I’ve gotten to hang out and reminisce with the entire family over many occasions. I was even lucky enough to be included in their family Christmas celebration this year.

Many people come in and out of your life. It’s a mystery as to why some leave and why some stay — and why some return to you after so many years. I’ll always love the Qualleys – they were an enormous part of my childhood. I wish we could all jet back to the 80s & 90s and do it all over again.

I made these cookies with the vintage heart cookie cutters that Barb gifted to me. Hope your Valentine’s season is filled with love.

Pink Heart Cookies
Recipe source: Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
Print Recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pink food coloring (gel paste works best)
1 tub store-bought vanilla icing

1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat together butter and sugar with a mixer on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low and gradually add flour mixture, beating until just incorporated.
2. Add drops of pink food coloring and mix. Start with a few drops and gradually add more until you achieve the color pink you’d like.
3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (at least 1 hour or overnight). Bring to room temperature before rolling.
4. Preheat the oven to 325F. Roll out the dough to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut out heart shapes with a cookie cutter. Freeze the hearts for about 15 minutes before baking. (I placed the hearts on a plate and put squares of parchment paper between them so they wouldn’t stick together)
5. Remove the hearts from the freezer and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. You may have to bake less or more depending on how big your hearts are (keep an eye on the oven to make sure they don’t burn).
6. Allow the cookies to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheets, then remove to wire racks.
7. Once cool, decorate with vanilla frosting. I used a pastry bag and a small round tip. You can also use a Ziploc bag with a snipped corner.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies (again, could be more or less depending on how big your heart cookie cutter is).

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