These adorable heart shaped sugar cookies are frosted with pink icing and decorated with yogurt covered pretzels to create these super-sweet Love Bugs! The perfect Valentine’s Day treat for all the little Love Bugs in your life!
When I was in high school back in South Dakota (many years ago), the weeks before Valentine’s Day my FHA group would put on a huge fundraiser every year selling heart-shaped Valentine’s Day sugar cookies. We would get together in the school Home Ec kitchens to bake up hundreds of heart shaped sugar cookies. We would frost them with pretty pink frosting, and sell them to everyone in the community to give to their favorite sweetheart. To this day, when I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of my days in high school baking up these heart shaped sugar cookies with pink frosting – ALWAYS!! This year, I wanted to resurrect this warm memory by making a fun Valentine’s Sugar Cookie, with a bit more fun attached. That’s how these adorable Love Bug Sugar Cookies came to be!
Back in October I made a chocolate version of these cute cookies – Chocolate Sugar Cookie Spiders. Those spiders were so fun (and delicious!) that I wanted to create a Valentine’s Day version of these adorable treats! Instead of using a chocolate sugar cookie, I used a basic sugar cookie dough and a heart-shaped cookie cutter, and went to work.
After rolling out and baking the sugar cookie hearts, I let them cool completely. This is a step you can do in advance to frosting the cookies. I actually rolled out and baked the cookies the night before I frosted them, which worked really well.
From here, I mixed my frosting, using a basic butter cream frosting recipe (below.) I tinted the frosting with pink food coloring, and spread a thin layer of frosting on the cookies for a base. Then, using a grass-tip (#233 tip) and piping bag, I added the top “hair-like” frosting. Adding a couple candy eyes and yogurt covered pretzels (cut in half) as legs, brings the cuteness level up several notches for these adorable Love Bug cookies!
When picking up my son from school, I surprised him with one of these cookies. His response was, “Mama!!! These are so cute. He’s too cute to eat!” By the time we got to the first stop light, the little Love Bug was devoured! Almost too cute to eat. 😉
Here’s the recipe for these adorable Love Bugs:
- Sugar Cookie Dough:
- 2 sticks butter (1 cup), room temperature
- 1¼ c. granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1½ tsp. vanilla
- ½ tsp. almond extract
- 3 c. all purpose flour
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temperature
- 1½ tsp vanilla
- ½ tsp. almond extract
- 4 c. powdered sugar
- 2-3 Tbsp. milk
- Pink food coloring
- Candy eye balls
- Yogurt covered pretzels
- For the cookie dough: With a stand or hand mixer, cream together the butter and granulated sugar until creamy and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla and almond extract and mix until combined.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients (about 1 cup at a time) to the wet ingredients, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Dough will be thick. On a piece of plastic wrap, turn out the dough, shape into a disk, cover with the wrap, and refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight.
- On a piece of waxed paper, unwrap the chilled dough, and roll out to approximately ¼" thickness. Cut with a heart shaped cookie cutter. Place on lined baking sheet (lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat). Bake for approximately 9-11 minutes, until just set. Don't let the cookies overly brown, or they will become dry and brittle. Let the cookies cool on the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- Frosting: With a hand or stand mixer, cream the room temperature butter along with the vanilla and almond extract. Gradually begin adding the powdered sugar one cup at a time, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl. As the frosting gets stiffer, and the milk one Tbsp. at a time. Add the food coloring and mix until desired color is met.
- Decorating the cookies: On the cooled cookies, spread a thin base layer of frosting with a knife or decorating spatula. Using a piping bag fitted with a grass tip (#233), decorate the cookies, by squeezing a bit of frosting and pulling up to create a "hair" like effect. Lastly, decorate with 2 candy eyes and 2 pretzels, cut in half) for the legs.
The cookie dough and frosting recipes were adapted in part from the cookbook Better Homes and Gardens: Baking. You can purchase this cookbook here.
I personally love the almond flavoring in these cookies, as the cookies we made in high school had an almond extract flavoring in them as well. To this day, a frosted sugar cookie is not complete without this flavoring…but that’s just me. If you don’t particularly enjoy almond extract (I know some people don’t), simply omit the almond extract and replace it with the vanilla. (Do 2 tsp. vanilla instead of 1 1/2 vanilla, and 1/2 almond extract.)
These sweet little Love Bug cookies have not only brought joy to my family, but they’ve also brought back those memories of baking dozens and dozens of cookies with my friends back in high school. Years ago, these cookies brought such joy to many sweethearts, and I hope they bring the same joy to you this Valentine’s Day! Love ~Erin