Flower-shaped cookies. What a lovely alternative to a pricey bouquet for your sweetie on Valentine’s Day. The versatile sugar cookie dough can be rolled out and cut into any desired shape for any time of year and turns out what folks are calling “crunchy with a chewy center, buttery and sweet” and “truly stress-free cookies.” You could opt to omit the sugar topping and decorate them with the icing of your choice or take it over the top and turn these into windowpane cookies.–Renee Schettler Rossi

What’s even better than flowers for Valentine’s Day?

Few flowers, even a bouquet of stunning long stems, can stand up to the splendor and thoughtfulness contained in a batch of these tender, subtly sweet little somethings known as Valentine’s sugar cookies. They elicit the same response no matter what time of year you bake and share them. It’s the difference between “Oh, how sweet, but you shouldn’t have!” and “Oh, how sweet, and I’m ridiculously giddy that you did!” 

A pink bowl filled with flower-shaped sugar cookies topped with decorating sugar.
4.85 / 13 votes
Valentine’s sugar cookies are perfect—soft in the center, slightly crisp at the edges, and sweet but not too sweet through and through. Heart-shaped and perfect for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Easter, and random days when cookie cravings steamroll you.
David Leite
Servings60 cookies
Calories45 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes


  • Flower- or heart-shaped cookie cutter (or a different shape, if you prefer)


  • 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • Coarse sugar, for sprinkling, whether sanding or pearl or raw


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugars until light and irresistibly fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. Using a spatula, gently fold in the salt and flour just until combined.
  • Roll the dough between a couple of pieces of parchment paper until it’s about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Remove the top piece of parchment and, using a 1 1/2-inch flower cookie cutter (or whatever shape you prefer), cut out cookies and place them on the prepared sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. (If you find the dough too soft to cut with a cookie cutter, transfer the dough, still sandwiched between the parchment paper, to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Then try again.) Sprinkle the cookies with coarse sugar.
  • Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, until the edges of the cookies just begin to brown. Let the cookies cool completely on wire racks before showering them upon your sweetie.
One Sweet Cookie

Adapted From

One Sweet Cookie

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Serving: 1 cookieCalories: 45 kcalCarbohydrates: 10 gProtein: 1 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 3 mgSodium: 21 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 6 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2011 Tracey Zabar. Photo © 2011 Ellen Silverman. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I made these today with my three-year-old. What a easy, simple recipe to follow for someone like myself who does not have a talent for sweets. The end result was absolutely amazing. Tasty, sweet, not overly soft in the middle, and a little crisp on the edges.

The dough spread between 2 sheets of parchment paper very well. They did spread quite a bit during baking, although the end result was fantastic.

What tends to keep me from baking sugar cookies is that most recipes do not allow you just to make them. You’re supposed to make the dough, refrigerate it, roll it out (which is messy), and then bake. No longer will I go through all that trouble. These are truly stress-free sugar cookies. No refrigeration, no messy rolling (the parchment paper works like a charm), and no waiting. Just make the dough and bake.

The resulting cookie is crunchy with a chewy center, buttery and sweet. No baking soda or baking powder give the cookie a clean finish with no aftertaste. I baked mine about an inch apart, as they did spread a bit. This is a great go-to cookie recipe.

This is a fantastic, easy sugar cookie recipe. The cookies end up with a delightful crunch around the edges but have a soft center, and they aren’t too crumbly, as is the case with some sugar cookies.

It takes a while to mix in all of the flour to the dough, so be patient. Additionally, the cookies should be placed at least 1 1/2 inches apart on the pan to avoid running together. Be careful to watch them, as the edges brown quickly.

I’ve been searching for a quick, easy, tasty sugar cookie recipe, and voila! Here it is! The dough doesn’t need to be prepared and chilled overnight. It doesn’t contain baking soda or powder. All you’re tasting and eating is flour, butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. The texture is wonderful as well—crunchy on the edges and delightfully chewy in the center. I wanted to see if this dough would work with our cookie cutters, so I rolled it to 1/4 inch thickness and cut shapes from a 3-inch and a 2 1/4-inch cookie cutter. They cooked to perfection in a convection oven on 350°F for 8 and 7 minutes, respectively.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 4 stars
    I followed the mixing directions to T and got a bowl full of very dry crumbly bits :<. I pressed them into a cookie cutter directly onto the cookie sheet since they refused to roll. They came out tough, but nicely flavored. It seems like everyone else had fine results, so maybe it was just bad luck.

    1. Awww, it does sound like a bit of bad luck. Crumbly dough and tough cookies are usually caused by lack of fat or moisture. Did you use the full 2 cups of room temperature butter and a large egg? Was it light and fluffy before you added the dry ingredients?

    1. Jacky, for rolling the dough, plastic wrap or wax paper will work. For baking, try a Silpat or just nothing. Let us know how it goes…!

  2. Dear Renee,
    Thanks for your encouraging words : ) I will…
    But in the meantime, for this specific recipe, can you suggest how much flour should be used? The smaller amount (4.5 oz. per cup), or the larger one (5 oz.)?
    I’m sorry for troubling you, but I just can’t figure it out…
    Thank you!

    1. No trouble at all, Shell. I’d actually split the difference and use 4.75 ounces, because while you want a tender dough, it also tends to be slightly tacky as you roll it out. If it gives you problems when trying to shimmy the cut dough onto a spatula, simply dust both with a little more flour.

      1. 5 stars
        Dear Renee, I finally made them, and following your recommendation, got a smooth and friendly dough to work with. They were a very pleasant snack to have around, and really enjoyed by everyone. I’d be happy to make them again. Thank you so much for your kind assistance!

        1. Lovely beyond words to hear, shell! Greatly appreciate you letting us know. And you’re so very welcome, it’s my pleasure.

          1. Can you suggest a sugar substitute that tastes great and is healthy (for a young child with juvenile diabetes). Thanks. Pat

          2. Hey Pat, many thanks for your query. I’m sorry, we didn’t test this recipe with any sugar substitute, so I’m hesitant to make a recommendation without actually knowing for a fact that it won’t compromise the taste or the texture of these lovely cookies. But lemme ask around and see if anyone can make a solid recommendation. If I hear anything promising, I’ll be back with you. Sorry to not be of more help…

          3. Hello Pat,
            Usually I substitute sugar for stevia when doing desserts for my father who is also diabetic. Stevia does not need as much as sugar for sweetening, so this being 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, I am guesstimating 1 cup would be enough. For the coarse sugar to sprinkle at the end, my suggestion would be ground nuts or unsweetened shredded coconut mixed with stevia. Hope this helps.