How do you say “I love you”? Maybe you like to stick with the classics and go for a heart-shaped box of chocolates (and there’s nothing wrong with that). For me, I think there’s nothing more romantic than expressing how you feel with a meal made with love. With this Valentine’s Day cookie recipe, you’ll have Cupid-approved treats that will delight any loved one with a sweet tooth and earn you points for the thought and effort that went into baking them.
The cookie base for this recipe is one of my favorites: sand tarts. As a Pennsylvania native, I grew up eating these cookies. Now that I’m a mom, I love making them with my daughter. We have so much fun experimenting with all sorts of cookie cutters and making cute shapes. The beauty of this cookie is how thin and crisp it is, which makes it so addictive. I haven’t yet met a person who eats just one and can stop!
WHY WE LOVE THIS RECIPE
- No equipment needed. Don’t stress if you don’t have a stand mixer or a food processor. The dough for this Valentine’s Day cookie recipe can be prepared entirely by hand.
- Can be enjoyed all year long. If there is a cookie cutter shape you love, this is the recipe to use to put joy on a plate. In addition, this sand tart cookie recipe is very easy to customize with various toppings.
- Vegan-friendly. While a traditional sand tart cookie recipe calls for regular butter and eggs, this vegan version uses plant-based butter, a flax egg, and pumpkin purée.
- Fun to make with kids. For a Valentine’s Day activity that the whole family can enjoy, get the kids involved in the decorating fun by having them sprinkle colored sugar on the cookies.
To make this Valentine’s Day cookie recipe, you'll need:
- Plant-based butter
- Maple sugar
- Baking soda
- Sea salt
- Pumpkin purée
- Vanilla extract
- Raw cane sugar
- Flaxseed meal
- Red food coloring
- Flaxseed meal: When combined with water, flaxseed meal makes a “flax egg”. This mixture thickens and becomes the perfect egg substitute for binding this Valentine’s Day cookie recipe together.
- Pumpkin purée: Another egg substitute that adds moisture to this vegan recipe.
- Maple sugar: An alternative sweetener in baked goods that is a perfect 1:1 substitute for granulated sugar. In addition, it’s a versatile flavor enhancer and will make these cookies too-good-to-stop-at-one.
- Plant-based butter: It softens like regular margarine or butter and does not separate or liquefy at room temperature.
- Vanilla extract: The complex flavor of pure vanilla extract helps other ingredients reach their full, delicious potential.
STEP 1: PREPARE THE DOUGH
In a large mixing bowl, add the plant-based butter and maple sugar. Using a fork or pastry cutter, cream the butter. Alternatively, you can also use a hand mixer.
To make the flax egg, add flaxseed meal to water and stir thoroughly. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until it thickens up, like a beaten egg.
Add the flax egg and pumpkin puree to the creamed sugar and butter. Next, mix the ingredients until they’re combined. Add the vanilla extract and continue mixing until it’s incorporated into the mixture.
Using a traditional flour sifter or the combination of a fine-mesh strainer and a whisk, add the flour, baking soda, and sea salt into the mixing bowl. Mix the dry ingredients and the creamed butter thoroughly until everything is incorporated.
Gather the dough together into a ball. Next, tightly wrap it in plastic film or wax paper and chill the dough for at least 6 hours or overnight.
STEP 2: MAKE THE COLORED SUGAR
Put raw cane sugar into a bowl.
Add a few drops of red natural food coloring to the sugar. Using a fork, mix the food coloring and sugar until you have a uniform color.
Let the colored sugar sit uncovered, preferably overnight, so that it dries out.
STEP 3: BAKE THE COOKIES
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it sit on the countertop until it’s still cool but soft enough to roll.
On a lightly floured board, roll out the dough until it’s nice and thin, around ⅛ inch thick.
Dust a heart-shaped cookie cutter with flour to prevent sticking and then press it into the rolled-out dough to make the cut-outs.
Transfer the cut-outs to a baking sheet and sprinkle each cookie with some red-colored sugar.
Bake for 7-8 minutes or until the cookies start to turn golden. Once they’re ready, remove them from the oven and let them rest on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
Let the cookies cool completely before serving or storing.
- Don’t skip chilling the dough before baking. The key to crisp sand tart cookies is chilling the dough. This allows the fats in the butter to cool. As a result, the cookies will expand more slowly, thus holding onto their shape. Also, the dough has enough time to soak up the moisture from the wet ingredients. This makes for a more flavorful, golden-brown cookie.
- Save time and make ahead. The dough can be chilled for up to 5 days before baking and frozen for up to 1 month if wrapped in wax paper and foil. Additionally, the cookies can be baked 1 week ahead, cooled completely, and then stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Watch the baking cookies like a hawk. Because the dough is rolled out thin, these cookies bake very fast. Remove them as soon as they start turning golden brown; otherwise, they’ll start burning.
- Switch up the flavor. Do you like a lemon-flavored cookie? Substitute a teaspoon of lemon extract for one teaspoon of the vanilla extract. The two flavors complement each well.
- Keep it classic. For a more traditional sand tart, press almond slices or a pecan half into the cookie before baking instead of sprinkling colored sugar.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why do my cut-out cookies lose their shape?
How thick should cut-out cookies be?
This can vary from one recipe to the next. For this particular Valentine’s Day cookie recipe, the dough should be rolled to around ⅛ inch thick.
Why are my cut-out cookies puffy?
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. You can also stay in touch with us through social media by following us on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook!Print
TRY THESE VEGAN SNACK RECIPES NEXT:
- First, try my vegan chocolate chip cookies that are soft, chewy, slightly crunchy, perfectly sweet, and totally satisfying. Also, they’re super easy to make.
- Also, have a go at my vegan jam thumbprint cookies that are sweet, tender, and filled with sweet jammy goodness. They're also super cute and fun to make!
- Finally, try my chocolate chip cookie bars recipe that are easier than making cookies. They have chewy sides, soft centers, are oozing with chocolate chips and delicious for any occasion.
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