By Paige Rhodes

There are two types of people on Valentine’s Day — those who embrace every aspect of the holiday, and those who refuse to log in to Facebook for fear of seeing too many flower bouquets and teddy bears. If you’re a part of the first category, these festive small-batch cookies are for you. Whether you’re preparing a romantic dinner for your significant other or you’re having a Netflix Galentine’s party with your besties, this easy dessert will be the star.

Ingredients
For the Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

For the Frosting
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese
3 tbsp maraschino cherry juice (liquid from a jar of maraschino cherries)
1/4 tsp cherry extract
2 cups powdered sugar
Festive sprinkles or maraschino cherries for garnish

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the softened butter and beat on medium-high speed for about 30 seconds. Slowly add the granulated sugar while continuing to beat.
Add the egg, almond and vanilla extract, and beat to combine.

Turn off the stand mixer, and add the flour, baking powder, and salt on top.

Turn the mixer back on low to incorporate the dry ingredients. Don’t overmix. The batter will look slightly crumbly.

Scoop the batter into the prepared baking pan, and press it flat with your fingers.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean. Let cool completely.

Clean out your stand mixer bowl to make the frosting.

Beat together the softened butter and cream cheese for 1 minute, until fluffy. Add the maraschino cherry juice and cherry extract and beat to combine.

Turn the mixer to low and add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time while continuing to mix.
You can either spread the frosting over the cooled cookie bars, decorate and then slice, or you can use a shaped cookie cutter to create hearts and then decorate.


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