cookies for Valentine's day

Valentine’s Day is almost here! Over the years, whether I’ve been married, had a boyfriend or just spent time with my girlfriends and family, I have always loved everything about this “Hallmark holiday.” What I don’t love, however, is how the prices of most floral bouquets quadruples in price. Admittedly, I absolutely love the surprise of a gorgeous bouquet of roses, but I thought it might be fun to create an array of cookies instead of flowers this year.

Rather than a bouquet of cookies, which you could do, serve up a beautiful cookie board for your friends, family and loved ones. With dozens of recipe ideas, you could easily build an impressive tray of cookies. Elaborately decorated sugar cookies can be enhanced with twists on chocolate chip and other cookie treats. Here are a few favorite recipes. For more, visit our Valentine’s Day Pinterest board.

Sugar cookies

Oh how I wish I was talented enough (or patient enough) to decorate sugar cookies in elaborate, colorful designs. Flooded cookies are so trendy as food artists transform simple square, rectangles, circle and heart shapes into beautiful Valentine’s cookies. If you’re like me and don’t have that decorating talent, you can still have a great time decorating sugar cookies.

Create Red Cupid Cookies. Cream together 1 cup butter with 1 ½ cups powdered sugar. Add 1 egg, 1-2 tablespoons red velvet emulsion, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 tablespoon dark chocolate cocoa powder and 1/4 cup melted chocolate chips. Add 3 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 tablespoon dry buttermilk and 1 teaspoon salt. Roll out and cut into gingerbread men. Bake on parchment for 7-9 minutes at 400 degrees. Decorate like little cupids.

Chocolate chip

You can never go wrong with a perfect chocolate chip cookie. Warm and gooey, these traditional favorites can be easily transformed into a Valentine’s Day cookie board. Instead of using typical chocolate chips, for instance, swap out Valentine’s-themed M&Ms for an extra seasonal flair. Another chocolate chip twist, the Chocolate Kiss cookie, is also enhanced by using a heart-shaped Dove chocolate instead of a Hershey’s kiss.

Try Heart-Shaped Dipped Chocolate Chip Cookies. Press your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough into a heart-shaped silicon mold and bake according to directions. Let cool completely before carefully removing from the mold. Then take the cookies and dip one side of the heart into melted candy melts — white chocolate or milk — and then dip in a variety of red, pink and white sprinkles.

More cookie fun

After knocking out your sugar and chocolate chip recipes, add some additional dimension, texture and flavors to your cookie board. Try making heart-shaped, dipped Rice Krispie Treats (close enough to cookies, right?), White Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, dipped Oreo cookie pops, cake bites, homemade Oreos or other sandwich cookies and even brightly dipped vanilla wafer cookies.

Try Meringue Cookies. Beat 4 egg whites on medium speed and add in 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice. Gradually increase speed to high to keep the mixing while slowly adding 1 cup granulated sugar. Once mixture forms stiff peaks, add one small drop of red gel food coloring. Draw out heart shapes on parchment paper and using a piping bag and a piping tip, trace the hearts. Garnish with red sprinkles. Bake for 2 hours at 200 degrees. Once baked, turn oven off and let sit for 35-45 minutes.

— Jennifer Durrant