Thursday, April 15, 2021
Home Eat & Drink Mary's Recipe: Gorgeous, Heartfelt Valentine Cookies

Mary's Recipe: Gorgeous, Heartfelt Valentine Cookies


It’s true.

Once, I didn’t think twice about breaking out the KitchenAid, beating up a bunch of butter and sugar, mixing up a batch of royal icing and decorating dozens of cookies.

It’s hard for me to believe now.

But I–and my cohort in creativity, my sister-in-law Susan–was always a sucker for holiday traditions–I sewed the kids’ Halloween costumes and Christmas stockings, made Advent houses and Christmas ornaments, dyed and hid Easter eggs, and even served pancakes for supper on Shrove Tuesday.

I signed up for so much that I never got it all done, and frequently what I didn’t get done was Christmas cookies.

Hence, Valentine cookies. Heck, it’s just two months later and in a season rush of overconfidence, I had always already bought all the stuff.

Anyway, Valentine cookies are easier–you don’t need as many cookie cutters or colors of food coloring. That doesn’t mean the V-cookies weren’t outrageously elaborate. They were. One year, we thought they were so pretty, we went to the copy shop and Xeroxed them. Everyone received a cookie and a color copy of their cookie.

Anyway, over time, Susan perfected the cookie recipe. The one we started with tasted great, but puffed during baking so much that the hearts looked more anatomically correct than romantic. You know. Blobby, and a little gross.

But the recipe we tried without eggs didn’t taste good enough. So Susan, famously not the cook in the family but for sure the artist, brought her sculptural talent to bear and experimented until she found a delicious cookie dough that held its shape. To my knowledge, this is her primary cooking accomplisment in 60 years, unless you want to count porcupine meatballs, which we never do.

So here it is. Roll, cut, bake and decorate. We used a gently beaten egg white beaten with poowdered sugar and colored with Wilton food pastes. Now, if I were going to make them–and I’m not–I’d use cake jewels like these:


I’d use edible glitter like this:


You can order it on or buy it at Michael’s.

And for grown-up cookies, I’d use edible gold, like this:


You can buy it here:

You can make cookies at home almost as pretty as the ones in the picture at the top, which are from Kneadacookie. Of course, you can also just order cookies from, or for that matter, from our own Mrs. Backer’s Pastry Shop, which makes cookies that look like this and are beyond an amateur’s power.



1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs, separated

2 Tablespoons milk

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla

1 lb. powdered sugar

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks, milk and vanilla. Mix together the flour, salt and powdered sugar, and then add to the dough. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate several hours. Or overnight. Or several days. Roll out on a lightly floured board to about 1/8-inch thick and cut with a floured cutter. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350 for 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Refrigerate dough between batches.


Lightly beat 4 egg whites. Using an electric mixer, add onfectioners sugar until the icing just barely stays on a knife, so you can spread it. Divide it into separate bowls and color each one as desired. Ice cookies. with this icing, you can spread a base coat, let it dry, then use a pastry bag or a toothpick to add different colored designs. Thin icing with hot water as needed; it thickens as it stands. Add dragees, sprinkles, sugar glitter or jewels. Place decorated cookies on a rack to dry.

I don’t know how many cookies this makes–maybe 3 dozen, but it depends on how big your heart cutters are.

-Mary Brown Malouf

You know it's spring in Utah when cherry blossoms are in full bloom at the @utstatecapitol ⁠🌸😍⁠

Photo by @gravesstuart

Inspired by @oldsaltlake, we're celebrating #throwbackthursday with a favorite snapshot of early 20th century Salt Lake City. 🏖️⁠

Photos shared by @oldsaltlake are inspiring millennials and zoomers decades later with visions of a different city: one with easily accessible public transportation, walkable streets, local businesses (open late) and distinctive architecture.⁠

See more photos at the link in our bio. ⁠

Pictured: Women relax at what is believed to be Saltair Beach, date unknown

Why did Utah's only Titanic passenger not survive her journey?⁠

The descendants of Irene Corbett believe that the 30-year-old teacher sacrificed her life to save others. It's one of the many ways this remarkable figure bucked tradition and forged her own trail.⁠

Read more about Irene at the link in our bio!

One year ago today: a Salt Lake earthquake that even shook Moroni 👼⁠

Photo by @gravesstuart

"We must have done something right, cause you guys kept coming back."⁠

@bluepelatedinerslc, one of Salt Lake's signature spots for everyone from hungover college kids to vegan food lovers, will be closing its doors this May after more than two decades of service. It's the latest casualty in a brutal year for the restaurant industry. ⁠

Head to the link in our bio for a tribute to Blue Plate Diner. (And keep supporting your favorite local restaurants. ❤️)

Tony Caputo, a food evangelist and founding father of today’s SLC food community, passed away last night.⁠

Tony started @caputosmarket in 1997, bringing his passion for the cuisine of his heritage to Utah tables. Most days during the lunch rush you’d find Tony behind the counter slicing meat and cheeses and then, after it wound down, holding court out front. He’d often rush back behind the counter and holler over his shoulder, “you have to try this!" only to return with a sample bite of veiny cheese, a paper-thin leaf of prosciutto or a perfectly crisp amaretti cookie that he’d recently added to his menagerie of taste. For his many contributions to Salt Lake City, we awarded Tony with a Lifetime Achievement Dining Award in 2007.⁠

Today, we're sending love to @caputosmarket and the many people whose lives were touched by Tony. A full tribute is on our website now. ❤️

Why is the Pleasant Grove theme park Evermore suing one of the most powerful women in music? Long story short: a playground for those who would choose lore over folklore is taking on Taylor Swift over the name of her most recent album. Both parties have their reputation on the line in a battle of undercover Swifties and novelty mug disputes. Will Evermore hit the gold rush? Or did they cross the wrong mad woman? The full story is at the link in our bio. ...

Even in the exploration boom of the 1800s, nobody dared to explore the terrain flowing through the Green and the Colorado Rivers.⁠

That is, nobody until Major John W. Powell said the 19th Century equivalent of “Hey man, hold my beer while I try this.”⁠

Read more about his dangerous expedition at the link in our bio!⁠

Photo of Powell’s expedition courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division⁠

A brand new issue of Salt Lake magazine is coming your way! ⁠

We can't wait to share these stories with you. This issue includes our annual Blue Plate Awards celebrating those surviving and thriving in the restaurant biz. Plus, we take a road trip to Wyoming and ask why the only Utah passenger on the Titanic didn’t survive her journey.⁠

A note from our editor Jeremy Pugh, including beautiful tributes to Mary Brown Malouf from our friends in the community, is online now. Read more at the link in our bio ❤️⁠

Subscribers: Look for this issue in your mailbox soon. The magazine will be on newsstands March 1! 📬

Today, we are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021 Blue Plate Awards! ⁠🎉⁠

These prizes honor the growers, food evangelists, grocers, servers, bakers, chefs, bartenders and restaurateurs who do more than put good food on the table—they make our community a better place to live. This year, just surviving as a local business deserves an award, but each of our Blue Plate winners did more than that. They made us grateful for every person involved in the essential act of feeding us.⁠ 🍽⁠

At the link in our bio, we have the full list of winners, a celebration of feats of COVID creativity and a tribute to restaurants we lost this year. If you’re hungry for more, pick up a copy on newsstands March 1! Plus, check out our Instagram for spotlights on some of the Blue Plate winners. ⁠

This year’s Blue Plate Awards are the first without our beloved Executive Editor Mary Brown Malouf. We dedicate them to her, our town’s biggest food fan, critic and champion. xoxomm⁠ 💙

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @ricobrandut for Staying in Beansness⁠

Last summer, it seemed that Rico would be another victim of rapid gentrification in Salt Lake. Luckily, Rico was able to find a new home in Poplar Grove and now plans to add even more employees. It’s a last-minute happy ending for a community leader who literally wears his mission on his sleeve, courtesy a tattoo in bright red block letters: “pay it forward.” 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award Winner: @spicekitchenincubator for Keeping the Spice Flowing⁠

This year Spice Kitchen Incubator, already an essential resource for refugees, became, well, even more essential. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @thestore_utah for Special Deliveries ⁠

As grocery delivery becomes the new norm, The Store offers a personal touch that only an independent grocer can provide. Last March, high-risk and elderly customers began calling in their grocery lists over the phone, and The Store’s general managers personally delivered food to their homes. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @cucinaslc for Preserving Neighborhood Connection⁠

Cucina’s outdoor spaces became a place where the neighborhood could gather safely. Owner Dean Pierose offered free coffee in the mornings and encouraged his regulars to linger and commiserate together, preserving a semblance of society during a socially distanced time. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @fisherbrewing for Creative Canning⁠

This year, Fisher found ways to utilize their beer, taproom space and canning capabilities for good. They created special lines of limited edition beers in custom cans to help raise funds for local businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. 💙⁠