I still remember how I spent last Valentine’s day. Okay, not really, but I clearly remember what I did leading up to that most sacred *cough gag* of days: throwing a ton of effort into a cake I thought I’d be stoked about, and having it be way less than what I was expecting.
This year, I realized something: I, too, am a valentine. I don’t need to fuss about over some crazy valentine’s day dessert this year, because truly, that’s more about me feeling like I should do something fancy versus my two valentines – one aged 40, the other aged 4 – requesting something fancy. You know what they want? Vanilla somethings. They are those people when it comes to food. I am the one who wants to inexplicably spend hours making a sky-high layered pie for no other reason than to prove I can.
So I made vanilla somethings: vanilla cookies, to be precise. And they are the easiest-to-make, breeziest-to-roll-out cookies you’ll ever make for yourself. They’re my new go-to if i need a roll-out cookie to stay put and not give me fits when I try to re-roll the excess. I would marry them. They are my cookie valentine.
And then I made the simplest, most luxuriously-textured vanilla cookie flavoring to go with. And then – because my 4 year old valentine loves to help – I stuffed them with sprinkles. Not too many, but just enough to be fun. And easy: what you’re seeing in the photo? That’s the Wee One’s handiwork: I had nothing to do with it. That’s how easy these are.
So happy valentine’s day to you and yours, if you celebrate it. If you don’t, that’s cool too: use the cookie cutter which most exemplifies your feelings about the day, make frosting, then smash those buggers together and chow down.
If you’ll excuse me, I just came off a writing bender and this is my one morning to do something by myself while the Wee is in school. I didn’t change this recipe for the cookies one iota: it comes from The Kitchn, and you should use it all year round for any cookie-cutter project. It’s fabulous. So fabulous you can get it right here versus me retyping it, because why, right? I never do that: today, I’m doing that.
As for the frosting, it’s one I cobbled together myself based on a standard cream cheese frosting I make for cakes. Not too sweet, and a perfect complement to these delicately-flavored cookies. It enhances their vanilla-ness and keeps the sprinkles from flying all over the place. And it doesn’t sog the cookies out at all: keep them in the fridge, tightly covered, and they’ll stay perfect for days.
Valentine [or Anti-Valentine, or Anytime] Vanilla Cookies
This recipe makes quite a few cookies, even when you sandwich them together. With a standard linzer cutter or other normalish-size cutter, you’ll be looking at at least 40 sandwich cookies total: if you don’t need that many, freeze one of the two dough disks for later.
for the cookies:
for the filling:
- 4 oz full-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
for cutting and assembly:
- linzer cookie cutter (or use whatever works for you)
- sprinkles – the jimmies work well, as do the tiny ball sprinkles, and if you can find little sprinkle hearts, bully for you. We mixed them together and they came out awfully nice.
make the cookies:
simple enough; just follow The Kitchn’s directions for these to the letter; you can even freeze the dough and thaw it in your refrigerator if you want to use it at a later date. I baked my cookies for about 10 to 11 minutes: you’ll know they’re done when they get the slightest bit of color to the bottoms.
make the filling:
just as easy: beat the cream cheese and butter together in a medium bowl until fluffy. Add vanilla and beat to combine. Add the confectioners’ sugar, starting with 1 cup and going up about a 1/4 cup at a time, until you reach a consistency that works for you. I like to make this ahead and then let it set back up in the refrigerator, so take that into account when you make this.
assemble the cookies:
grab some butter spreaders, spread the filling, settle a cookie on top, sprinkle away.