Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Rishon HannersActive Time40 MinsTotal Time3 Hours 15 MinsYield2 dozenBy SOUTHERN LIVING December 2019
These cookies have a secret. Hint: There’s store-bought cake mix involved.
This cheery, sugary heart-shaped cookies are ready to get the party going. And here’s to the best news you’ll read all day: They’re made with storebought cake mix. Something about being able to tweak a previously time-consuming recipe into something quick and easy makes us feel like quite the renegades, and this recipe is definitely one of that lot.
Start with storebought strawberry cake mix and fix it up with simple ingredients you most likely already have on hand—staples like eggs, butter, sugar, and milk. Then top the cookies with festive icing and sprinkles. (Better yet, ask little kitchen helpers to do it as a fun afternoon activity.)
While these make the perfect Valentine’s Day treat, they work just as well when customized to fit your vision. Make the cookie shape, icing, and sprinkles match whichever party theme you have in mind. These Heart Cookies are a surefire way to make your party spread look oh-so pretty—and tasty to boot!
- 1 (15.25-oz.) package strawberry cake mix (such as Duncan Hines)
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup (4 oz.) + 5 tablespoons (2 1/2 oz.) salted butter, softened and divided
- 3 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- All-purpose flour, for work surface
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
- 4 to 5 tablespoons whole milk
- Assorted candy sprinkles or jimmies and sanding sugar
How to Make It
Beat cake mix, egg, 5 Tbsp. of the butter, and 2 teaspoons of the vanilla in bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on low speed 1 minute. Increase speed to medium, and beat 2 minutes. Divide dough in half; shape each half into a 1-inch-thick disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.Step 2
Preheat oven to 350°F. Working with 1 disk (leave the other disk in the refrigerator), roll dough out on a heavily floured work surface. Using a 2 3/4-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out 12 cookies, and place about 1 inch apart on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining disk. (Reroll scraps if needed to get 24 cookies.)Step 3
Bake cookies in preheated oven just until lightly browned around edges, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven, and let cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Remove cookies to wire racks, and let cool completely, about 20 minutes.Step 4
Meanwhile, beat salt and remaining 1/2 cup butter and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla in bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium speed until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with 4 tablespoons of the milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on low speed until blended and smooth after each addition. Beat in remaining 1 tablespoon milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, if needed, for desired consistency.Step 5
Frost cookies, leaving about 1/4-inch border around edges, and sprinkle with desired sanding sugars, sprinkles, and jimmies.