5 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1½  teaspoons salt

1½ cups unsalted butter at room temperature

1½ cups granulated sugar

4 eggs at room temperature

1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1½ teaspoons almond extract

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

½ cup unsalted butter at room temperature

1 teaspoon almond extract

3–4 cups powdered sugar

a couple of small drops pink or red food coloring

¼ cup decorative sprinkles, if desired

 

  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

  2. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed for about 5 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The mixture should be light and fluffy.

  3. Crack the eggs into a liquid measuring cup and add the vanilla. With the mixer on low, slowly add to the sugar mixture one egg at a time, allow each egg to blend in completely before adding the next. Cream in the almond extract. The mixture may appear to curdle the almond extract is added; this is normal. Scrape the sides of the bowl down.

  4. Slowly add the dry ingredients and beat on medium until a smooth consistency is achieved. The dough will be soft and sticky.

  5. Divide the sticky soft dough into three equal disks and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Chill the dough in refrigerator for at least an hour up to overnight; this will make the dough easier to roll out.

  6. While the dough chills, begin to make the frosting. In the bowl, cream the butter, cream cheese, and almond extract until completely smooth. Slowly add in powdered sugar to taste. Add pink or red food coloring one small drop at a time, until the desired color is achieved. Blend until color is evenly distributed throughout the frosting. Place the frosting in refrigerator until ready to use.

  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  8. Be sure to have cookie cutters and a rolling pin available. A 3.5" round and 3.5" x 4" heart shape for the large cookies is recommended.

  9. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out to 1/4“ to 1/2” thickness on floured counter top. These cookies are intended to be soft, thick and cakey. Cut the rolled dough into chosen shapes, place cookies on lined baking sheets. Place 6 large cookies per baking sheet at least 1" apart.

  10. Bake for 12–16 minutes until the edges start to brown slightly.  Remove from oven and cool on cookie racks.

  11. Once the cookies have completely cooled, frost them liberally using a small offset spatula. Add sprinkles if desired.

  12. If not enjoying the same day, store in the refrigerator. The cookies will last in the fridge for up to 5 days.

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