Spicy Valentine Cookies say "I Love You"

Cookies = Love. 

Doesn't it? 

And these cookies happen to say "I love you very much". 

At least when I make them.

It doesn't take a holiday or special occasion to say, "I love you," but it generally does take one of those for me to make these cookies.  They are that special! For many years they have been an essential Valentine's Day tradition. Lightly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, they have a delightful buttery brown sugar crispness that, if you don't overbake, is still soft in the middle. 
Truth be told they really aren't difficult to make even though they are the dreaded roll-out and cut-out variety. I have discovered a method that makes it dread-free and simple. Still, I'm saving this recipe for special occasions.

Spicy Valentine (Cut-out) Cookies
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
1 egg
(You will also need plastic wrap for rolling out cookies.)

Combine flour, spices and baking soda. Set aside.

Beat butter briefly. Gradually add brown sugar and then egg. Beat until fluffy.  Gradually add flour mixture and stir until combined. 
Divide dough into fourths. Place one portion on piece of plastic wrap (14-18 inches). Top with another piece of plastic wrap. Roll out to about an 1/4 inch thickness, stopping occasionally to lift and replace top piece of plastic wrap so it doesn't tear. Place on a tray and refrigerate. Repeat with remaining portions. (You can stack them on the tray if desired.) If not baking the same day, place dough in 2 1/2 gallon plastic bags. Thoroughly chill. Dough will be stiff.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using a cookie cutter, cut into hearts (or any other desired shape). Bake 7-9 minutes or until just beginning to brown slightly (don't overbake!). Allow to rest on cookie sheet for a minute or two before removing to cooling rack. 
Frost if desired.

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