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Easy, Delicious Valentine's Day Cookies for the Novice Baker

Jean—a creative self-taught cook with a passion for helping people develop their cooking skills—has worked as a cooking instructor.

Easy and delicious Valentine's Day cookies for the beginner baker

Easy and delicious Valentine's Day cookies for the beginner baker

Valentine's Day Cookies for Beginners

Homemade cookies are the bomb, but when you've never baked or followed a recipe before how are you going to do it? Well, Valentine's Day is kinda special, and even if you are alone and single, and even if you don't have specialized baking tools and equipment in your kitchen, you don't need to let those little details stop you. Come on, it's Valentine's Day! Let's make cookies for you or someone special in your life! It will be really easy, I promise.

Learn how to make these cookies!

Learn how to make these cookies!

This Is a Beginner's Recipe

If you've never learned how to cook or bake, don't worry. You're not alone. Today we are going to show you that you can make cookies by cheating a little bit. We are going to use a toaster oven because maybe you may live in a dorm or a bachelor suite. Or maybe you have a regular oven, but you feel uncomfortable using it.

I am a self-taught cook, and I have taught cooking and baking for years. The images you see in this tutorial are not professionally polished and perfect for a reason. I am showing you what you do doesn't have to be perfect. You are going to make cookies for yourself or someone else with love. If I presented perfect looking cookies to you, you may be disappointed in your own efforts. Appreciating your own efforts to try something you have never done before is a stellar accomplishment. Celebrate and have a cookie!

Necessary Supplies

Ingredients

  • Pillsbury Sugar Cookie Dough (store-bought)
  • Icing (store-bought)
  • Frosting (store-bought)
  • Sprinkles

Equipment

  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Toaster oven
  • Toaster oven tray
  • Kitchen cutlery knife

Shortcuts: Store-Bought Cookie Dough, Frosting, and Icing

Since you don't have baking supplies or a lot of tools, we are going to give you success in baking the first time you do it. Then if you like the cookies you made, you can spread your wings a bit more and venture into something made from scratch.

To find the ready-made cookie dough, go to the section of the store with cheese and yogurt. Somewhere near there you should find a bunch of Pillsbury products. They even have chocolate chip cookie dough, which you can make once you've had success with these Valentine cookies.

Using Ready-Made Products

I am a "from scratch" cook and baker. I don't usually use read-made products, but for the purposes of reducing stress and giving a successful outcome to a first-time baker it can be important.

Baking usually requires a number of ingredients and tools that a first-time baker may not have. Thus, a ready-made product allows the first-time baker to dip their toe in the water, so to speak, and see if they like baking.

Toaster ovens are great for pizza pops and frozen pizzas that college students eat, but you can bake cookies in them too. With the sweet smell of cookies baking and the rewards of eating just-out-of-the-oven cookies, it's worth a try.

Cooking Time and Yield

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

5 min

10 min

15 min

19 cookies, depending on how thick you cut them

Instructions for Round Cookies

  1. Take the wrapper off the cookie dough and place the cookie dough on a cutting board.
  2. Flatten the ends of the cookie log and smooth out any creases with your fingers.
  3. Cut the dough with a sharp knife into just over ¼-inch slices.
  4. Using your fingers push the dough gently into a circle, removing any flat spots on the sides.
  5. Put a piece of foil or parchment paper on the toaster oven tray.
  6. Transfer the cookie rounds to the toaster oven tray and put the tray in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  7. Set the timer for 30 minutes, remove the tray from the freezer and put it in the toaster oven.
  8. Set the oven to 325 degrees F and bake the cookies approximately 10 minutes or until just starting to turn brown on the edges.
  9. Be sure to check the cookies around the 8-minute mark to be sure they are not getting too brown or burning.
  10. Remove the cookies from the oven, let cool before icing them.
  11. Stick a pin or a small nail in the end of the icing tube to make a tiny hole.
  12. Squeeze the icing out of the tube and draw a heart of design of your choice on the cookies.
  13. Enjoy with a hot cuppa! Or put them in a pretty box and give them to someone special.

Instructions for Heart Cookies

  1. Take the wrapper off the cookie dough and place the cookie dough on a cutting board.
  2. Flatten the ends of the cookie log and smooth out any creases with your fingers.
  3. Cut the dough with a sharp knife into just over ¼-inch slices.
  4. Hold the sides of the cookie dough gently with your right hand while you pinch the bottom of the circle of dough into a soft point with your left hand.
  5. With your left hand, hold the sides of the point while you push an indent into the side of the top of the circle so that it looks loosely like a heart.
  6. With your fingers gently push the dough making both side of the heart more symmetrical, smoothing lumps and ridges with your fingers.
  7. Put a piece of foil or parchment paper on the toaster oven tray.
  8. Transfer the cookie hearts to the toaster oven tray and put the tray in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  9. Set the timer for 30 minutes, remove the tray from the freezer and put it in the toaster oven.
  10. Set the oven to 325 degrees F and bake the cookies approximately 9 minutes or until just starting to turn brown on the edges.
  11. Be sure to check the cookies around the 6- to - minute mark to be sure they are not getting too brown or burning.
  12. Remove the cookies from the oven, let cool before icing them.
  13. Open the can of icing and using a kitchen cutlery knife, spread the icing on each cookie and top with sprinkles if using.
  14. You can also add some food coloring to the white icing to color it.
  15. Enjoy with a cuppa or put them in a pretty box and give them to someone special.

Baking Notes

  • Unwrapping the dough: When you take the wrapper off the cookie dough you will see the ends are rounded and wrinkled. Using your fingers try to flatten the ends of the cookie dough without losing the round log shape. You may find it helpful to stand the log on end and push it into the cutting board a bit. Smooth out any bumps and ridges with your fingers.
  • How to prevent sticking: To prevent the cookies from sticking to the baking tray and breaking when you try to remove them, lay a piece of parchment paper or aluminum foil onto the baking tray, cut to size. You can also use a very thin layer of butter smeared onto the tray with a piece of paper or your fingers. As you can see in the picture I have used parchment paper which is in the sandwich bag and ziplock bag section of the supermarket.
  • Cookie shapes: You can make round cookies or heart-shaped cookies using the same dough. They both start out the same way, by cutting the dough into slices, slightly thicker than 1/4 inch.
  • Round cookies: If you are going to bake the round cookies with the icing hearts, use your fingers to round out the flat spots and flatten any bumps on the sides of the cookies. It makes a nicer looking cookie.
  • Heart cookies: Using the thumb and pointy finger of your left hand gently squeeze one end of the dough circle into a soft point, using your right hand to hold the dough in place. Gently flatten any lumps and ridges that form. Now, holding the sides of the point gently, push the top of the dough slightly down towards the bottom, forming an indent. It will look lopsided, so gently push the dough so that both sides of the indent look even. It doesn't have to be perfect. The icing will cover up some of the flaws. It takes practice to perfect techniques you have never used before so just do your best.
  • Baking: Set the temperature for 325 degrees F. and set the timer for 10 minutes. Be sure to check the cookies after about 7 to 8 minutes to make sure they are not getting too brown or burning. Not all toaster ovens are calibrated correctly. Some are too hot and some are too cold. If yours is just right, you are one of the lucky ones.
  • Baking the heart cookies: The pointed end of the hearts will brown faster than the rounded ends so again, check the cookies at 6 to 7 minutes to make sure they aren't getting too brown or burning.
  • Cookies will spread while baking: The dough is designed to spread when you bake them. That is why their instructions say to cut the cookies half an inch thick. You want the cookies to hold their shape. More experienced bakers would break up the cookie dough into a bowl and add 1/4 cup of flour, mixing it together with their hands. Since you probably don't have any flour, you are going to pop the tray of cut cookies into the freezer for about 30 minutes.
  • Icing tips: Let the tray of cookies cool before you ice them. The little cookie icing bag you bought, is what you will use to put the hearts on the round cookies.
  • How to ice: To ice the cookies, I poked a very small hole in the end of the pointed tube to get a very fine line. I put three hearts slightly offset from one another on each cookie. If you want a single heart, you can cut the end off the tube for a thicker line.
  • Pink icing: I had white icing, but I thought it would be fun to make a bit of it pink. I used some paste color and a toothpick to mix the two together in a small bowl. In this tutorial, there are only 7 hearts to ice so I didn't make a lot of pink. If you are making all hearts and you want to ice them all, you can make a larger bowl full.
  • Food coloring: You can also use liquid food coloring if you wish, although you need to keep in mind that the liquid will make the icing runnier. You don't even have to color the icing at all. I used sprinkles to add interest and give the cookies a different look.
  • Frosting: With the store-bought frosting, you just open the can and spread the icing on the cookies with a kitchen cutlery knife. It is so easy. Use sprinkles if you like or leave them plain. Either way, they will be delicious, and you made them.

Happy Valentine's Day!

If you are adventurous enough to try to make these cookies, you will open yourself to more cooking adventures. You can learn to make things that you enjoyed in your childhood, or that your partner used to make for you when they were alive.

Food triggers pleasure like nothing else. And, making Valentine cookies for yourself or someone else is fun. Give it a try.

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