Credit: BIRD Bakery; John Russo

Gimme Some Sugar!

Make Valentine’s Day a little sweeter with this heartwarming sugar-cookie recipe from Elizabeth Chambers Hammer, judge on the Cooking Channel’s Sugar Showdown and founder and CEO of BIRD Bakery in San Antonio. (She also happens to be the wife of actor Armie Hammer.) “Get creative with royal icing or use sanding sugar for easy decoration and an added crunch,” says Chambers Hammer.


3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface and rolling pin
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 cup high-quality unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. high-quality pure almond extract

Royal Icing:
3 large egg whites
4 cups powdered sugar
1½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
Gel-paste food coloring



1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and almond extract; beat until combined. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until well combined. Divide dough in half; flatten each half into a 1-inch-thick disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or overnight for best results.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Unwrap 1 dough disc and place on a lightly floured surface; roll dough to ¼-inch thickness and cut into shapes using desired Valentine’s Day cookie cutters. Place on a greased or parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Bake until edges are light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool on pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack and cool completely, about 20 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough disc.

Royal Icing:

1 In the electric mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed until frothy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add powdered sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Add food coloring, 1 drop at a time, until desired color is achieved. If making more than 1 color, divide icing and color accordingly. Spread or pipe icing onto cookies.


Active Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 55 minutes