Prep time: ABOUT 20 MINUTES
Cook time: CHILLING TIME: 12 TO 24 HOURS
Serves: About 18 2-inch hearts
Measuring cups and spoons
Plastic sandwich bags
Rolling pin, optional
2- or 1-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter (open type works best)
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/2 tsp peppermint extract
5 drops red food coloring
3 1/2 to 4 cups powdered sugar
Red and/or white jimmies or sprinkles, optional
1. Put cream cheese, peppermint extract, and food coloring in mixing bowl. Slip plastic bags over hands, and use hands to mix ingredients until well-blended, or beat with electric mixer on low speed.
2. Add 3 cups of the powdered sugar to the cream-cheese mixture; mix at low speed until blended (dough will be stiff, like piecrust dough).
3. Line a flat surface with waxed paper (hold in place by taping down the edges), and dust with the remaining powdered sugar. Set the cream-cheese dough in the middle and begin kneading it with hands to incorporate as much powdered sugar as possible, until dough is very stiff.
4. Roll out the dough with rolling pin, or pat with hands until it’s about 1/2-inch thick. Cut with heart-shaped cookie cutters and place on a serving plate. Combine dough scraps and re-roll to create additional hearts.
5. If desired, decorate by pressing jimmies or sprinkles onto the top or sides of each heart.
6. Chill uncovered in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours to harden.
PER HEART (1/18 of recipe): 127 calories, 2 g fat (1.4 g saturated), 19 mg sodium, 7 mg cholesterol.