Sparkle Sweetheart Cookies

These beautiful sparkle sweetheart cookies are dressed up in Valentine’s Day sprinkles with a chocolate heart nestled on top. This is a simple cream cheese drop-style sugar cookie that only requires 30-60 minutes of cookie dough chilling.

pink and red sparkle Valentine's day cookies

Now that the Super Bowl is over, can we focus on Valentine’s Day? Or… Galentine’s Day? Whether you celebrate with your sweetheart or your friends, the holiday of love is right around the corner and I have a perfectly festive cookie for you!

These are my Sparkle Sweetheart Cookies aka:

Dressed in sparkling sprinkles and sealed with a chocolate heart. ♥

stack of sparkle sweetheart cookies

Behind the Recipe: Sparkle Sweetheart Cookies

These are cream cheese sugar cookies. They’re extra thick and sweet with a lovely little tang. The cookie dough is made from simple sugar cookie ingredients like butter, sugar, egg, and flour. Cream cheese is a secret ingredient, transforming these soft sugar cookies into super soft and super creamy sugar cookies. For added flavor, I recommend a splash of almond extract. Almond extract pairs wonderfully with the chocolate heart on top!

The cookie dough needs to chill for 1 hour before rolling into balls. However, I successfully cut it down to only 30-45 minutes last week with success! If you’re in a rush this Valentine’s Day, these cookies are relatively quick.

There is NO rolling pin or cookie cutters required. Rather, this is a simple drop-style sugar cookie that bakes up perfectly round. Here is my cream cheese cut-out sugar cookie recipe if you’re interested. Just as soft and creamy as today’s!

2 images of cream cheese sugar cookie dough in a mixer bowl and flattening a dough ball with a measuring cup

Cookie dough on cookie sheet

Here’s a tip: Notice how I’m pressing down the cookie dough balls? That’s an important step. These cream cheese cookies won’t really spread unless you give them a little nudge. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to slightly flatten down.

Sparkle sweetheart cookies on a plate

Glam it Up

Here are two little extras to glam up your sugar cookies:

Sprinkles: Before baking, roll the cookie dough balls in sprinkles. Sprinkles give the cookies a light crunch, which is a lovely contrast to the creamy and soft centers. For a sparkling effect, I recommend “sanding sugar” or “coarse sugar sprinkles.” I found red and light pink in the seasonal section of my grocery, but I know red and a dark pink are available year round. You can also use regular jimmies or nonpareils if those are easier for you!

Chocolate Hearts: Individually wrapped chocolate hearts are everywhere this time of year. I love Dove and Hershey’s brands. Hershey’s sells all different flavors, including white chocolate. I used solid milk chocolate for the pictured Sparkle Sweetheart Cookies. 🙂

Let me know if you try these for Valentine’s Day!

sparkle sweetheart cookies on a plate

More Valentine’s Day Desserts

To round out your Valentine’s Day celebration!

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pink and red sparkle Valentine's day cookies

Sparkle Sweetheart Cookies

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 32 cookies
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American


These sparkle sweetheart cookies are dressed up in Valentine’s Day sprinkles and a chocolate heart on top! This is a simple cream cheese drop-style sugar cookie that only requires 30-60 minutes of cookie dough chilling.


  • 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 240g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 ounces (56g) block cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract*
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sanding sugar, pink and red or assorted colors*
  • 32 chocolate hearts, unwrapped*


  1. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together until combined. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl using a hand-held or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese together on high speed until relatively smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated sugar and beat until combined and creamy. Add the egg, vanilla extract, and almond extract and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed to combine.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low speed until combined. The dough will be thick. Cover dough tightly with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and chill for at least 30-60 minutes and up to 3-4 days. If chilling for longer than 2-3 hours, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling and baking because the dough will be quite hard and the cookies may not spread.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside.
  5. Pour sanding sugar in a bowl or, if using multiple colors, a few separate bowls.
  6. Roll balls of cookie dough, about 1 Tablespoon of dough per cookie, then roll each ball in the sanding sugar to coat. Place each dough ball 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Using the back of a measuring cup or drinking glass, gently press down on each dough ball to slightly flatten. Bake the cookies for 12-13 minutes or until very lightly browned on the edges.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Press a chocolate heart into each cookie and quickly stick the baking sheet in the freezer or fridge so the warm cookie does not completely melt the chocolate heart. Let the chocolate set (about 15 minutes) on the cookies in the freezer/refrigerator.
  8. Cookies will stay fresh covered at room temperature for 1 week.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature, if desired, before serving. Unbaked cookie dough balls (without sanding sugar coating) will freeze well for up to 3 months. Let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, pre-heat the oven, then roll in sanding sugar. Bake as directed. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Baking Sheet, Silpat Baking Mat, Cooling Rack, Valentine’s Day Sanding Sugars, Valentine’s Day Sprinkle Mix
  3. Almond extract adds a wonderful flavor to the cookies, but you can leave it out if desired. No need to replace with anything.
  4. I find sanding sugar sprinkles at my regular grocery store. You can usually find them in the baking aisle. I like Wilton brand.
  5. Chocolate hearts are a seasonal item around Valentine’s Day. I like Hershey’s or Dove brands.
  6. Be sure to check out my top 5 cookie baking tips AND these are my 10 must-have cookie baking tools.

Keywords: sweetheart sparkle cookies, valentine's day cookies

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  1. Awwwwww……..these are PERFECT for Valentine’s Day!!!!! And specially cause they’re sparkle cookies <3<3<3 Sooo making these…….thank you Sally!!

    1. Thank you so much Gemma! Happy cookie baking 🙂

  2. Charlotte Moore says:

    These are so cute. I never chill my dough in the bowl. I always make my cookie balls then chill. I hate working with cold dough. I like to have cookie dough balls in the freezer to pull out and cook a few when I need them. They taste like freshly made cookies.

    Love your blog!

    1. Thanks Charlotte!

  3. Drop style cookie recipes are my favorite. I’m not one to roll out dough and cut into shapes. Definitely will be making these for my grandchildren. Thank you for another great recipe.

    1. I hope you and your grandchildren love these! Happy baking 🙂

  4. These cookies look so delicious and perfect for Valentine’s day ♥

    1. Thank you Natalie!

  5. Going to see my new grandson this weekend! I am making and taking these for sure!!!

    1. So sweet! Congratulations!!

  6. Perfect timing! I was trying to come up with a Valentine’s Day treat for our daycare teachers. Can’t wait to make them!

    1. Perfect timing indeed! Happy baking 🙂

  7. Sally, you’re the best! A surprise post on a Tuesday, and it’s with these beauties! I know these will be delicious because I’ve made the Christmas version two years in a row, but these have to be better because chocolate and pink!!!!!!

    1. Thank you, Marilu!! I hope you love making these! 🙂

  8. Hi! Just wondering- can you use low fat cream cheese with these? Or is it better to use full fat? They’re so darn cute!

    1. Thanks Nora! Full fat is best in these cookies.

  9. Donna Librandi says:

    Sally I love it the Sparkle Cookies everybody loves them. That is a good idea of making the Sparkle cookies with the Valentine heart in the middle. I just made the Hot Cocoa cookies and bringing them to my knitting group today. I wish you and your family a Happy Valentines Day.

    1. Thank you so much Donna! Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too!

    2. I am planning on making these for my kid’s school valentine’s party. How necessary is it to chill the cookies after putting the chocolate on? Fridge/freezer space is at quite a premium. Could I freeze the chocolate before topping the cookies?

      1. Hi Andrea, You want to press the chocolate into the warm cookie so that it melts enough to stick. But then you want to stop the cookie from completely melting the chocolate heart – which is why I stick them back in the fridge or freezer. You can certainly try using a frozen chocolate to see if makes a difference!

  10. Debbie McLain says:

    I love your creativity Sally. I always check your website first before any holiday and I have never been disappointed by your wonderful creations. Thanks for all your hard work; I so appreciate it!

    1. So sweet, thank you for your kind words Debbie!!

  11. Stephanie Bigler-Lisch says:

    Hi Sally,
    I have a thing about cream cheese, I hate it. Can i substitute more butter instead?

    1. Hi Stephanie! You can replace the cream cheese with the same amount of softened unsalted butter.

  12. I just made these but with a Reese’s peanut butter cup heart (because I couldn’t find the Dove ❤️s). Now I have to hide them from myself so they make it to my son’s house tomorrow! Your recipes are the best! Thank you!!!

    1. That sounds AMAZING! Love the peanut butter cup heart idea 🙂 So happy you enjoyed this recipe!

  13. Saw your smiling face at a newsstand today on a magazine called Food Blogs! I am so happy that more and more bakers are getting to know about your fantastic blog. I ALWAYS get compliments when I make your recipes. ❤

    1. Sue, you are so kind thank you so much!!

  14. Laura | Tutti Dolci says:

    Such adorable cookies, I love the sparkling sugar!

    1. Thanks Laura! xoxo

  15. I made these cookies today. I made one batch with the chocolate heart , and one batch without. I thought the Chocolate heart made them hard to eat. This is a delicious recipe, with or without the chocolate. I really like the crunch the sanding sugar gave. I will be making them again, but without the chocolate.

  16. My 5 year old granddaughter & I made these cookies yesterday. They were easy, fun and delicious! The sanding sugar gave them such a pretty sparkle, which my granddaughter loved! We used Hershey kisses on top but the cookie itself is totally delicious without the chocolate!
    Thank you Sally for recipes I can count on to be perfect, time and time again!

  17. Made these and gave them to some friends. Response was – very delicious. Will make another batch for Valentine’s Day to give out.

  18. Made these today. Combined light and dark pink sugars. Great sparkle. Found milk chocolate Dove chocolates with pink champagne ribbons! Perfect for Valentine’s Day! Really complemented the almond flavoring.

  19. Great recipe! Just made them for my boys for Valentine’s Day and they love them!

  20. Parimala Stephens says:

    made these this weekend for my niece and nephews as a Valentine’s Day treat! OMG sooo delicious! the sugar cookies are amazing plain, and the addition of the chocolate heart on top is the best (chocoholic over here!!) My husband was really glad I saved some for him!

  21. I love sugar cookies and these are awesome, with or without the chocolate. I love that I don’t have to roll and cut the dough and still have a buttery cookie. Will definitely be making these again.

  22. I made these cookies on V Day for my grandchildren (and, of course, everyone else). These cookies are always a hit. I plan on making them for Easter with different colored sprinkles. Thank you for another great recipe.

  23. Sally, these are so cute. Now that Valentine’s Day is over, I would still like to continue making these cookies! Do you think I could coat them in nonpariels? I just bought a container at the store; couldn’t resist all those happy little rainbow sprinkles 😉 And could I use a plain square of chocolate in the middle (or maybe a few chocolate chips)? Thanks!

    1. YES! Absolutely 🙂

  24. Hi Sally! Could I halve this recipe? If so, would anything need to be adjusted other than dividing the amounts in 2?

    1. That should be fine. For the egg, beat the egg then use half of the mixture.

  25. Rayana McGuire says:


    I notice that your sugar cookies are thick. I have made sugar cookies with sanding sugar and they come out flat every time. I used a measuring cup to flatten the dough. The recipe I use, once baked and cooled is soft, chewy, and thick. However, when I add sanding sugar- KAPUT…. Please help!!!!

    1. Hi Rayana! Have you tried this particular recipe? The dough is thick which translates nicely to thicker drop-style sugar cookies.

      1. Rayana McGuire says:

        Nope, I haven’t yet. But I certainly will.

        Thank you!!

  26. Hi Sally,
    I enjoy your recipes and first go to for baking.
    Would like to make this recipe for Valentine Party for my granddaughter. Have one gluten free kiddo. Can I substitute all purpose gluten free flour?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Ann, I have not tested this recipe with gluten free flour but let me know if you try it!

  27. CAROLYN WALDEN says:

    Good morning,
    Thoughts on converting to a chocolate version?

    1. Absolutely! Try the cookie dough for my Inside Out Chocolate Chip Cookies (leave out the chips and roll dough balls in sprinkles) or my Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprints (leave out the peppermint, no need to indent with your thumb, roll in sprinkles instead of granulated sugar).

      1. CAROLYN WALDEN says:

        Awesome…thank you! I made them today using the thumbprint recipe…I did them like blossoms and rolled in sugar…I did some with solid chocolate hearts (milk and dark) drizzled with white chocolate and then others with reeses pb hearts and drizzled with peanut butter…so stinkin’ adorable! Thank you so much for sharing your gift with us 🙂

  28. Sally
    I love baking and your website is always my go to for trying new recipes. You never disappoint to have creative and delicious desserts! Thank you for all your helpful hints on baking. Can’t wait to try these Valentine cookies.
    One of your biggest fans! Karen

    1. I hate to ask substitute questions.. but my cousin’s daughter is allergic to eggs and I was wondering if you have any ideas for a substitution so I could make these beautiful cookies with her? Thanks so much!

      1. Hi Tessa! I really wish I could help here but I have zero experience with egg-free baking, especially cookies. Hoping another reader can hop in here and offer suggestions!

  29. I was so tickled to see such a pretty recipe and couldn’t wait to make it. I make many, many cookies so did it confidently and exactly. They came out of the oven perfectly – beautiful cookies. But they are HARD – very stiff, very solid. Gorgeous, but almost too hard to bite and they sure don’t taste good. I can’t think of what I did wrong. What do you think I did or failed to do?

    1. Hi Nancy! Thanks for trying my cookies! It sounds like the cookies were over-baked, which is an easy fix if you decide to try them again. They should be soft in the centers. Also, make sure you are spooning and leveling your flour. Too much flour will dry out the dough.

  30. Can you tell me the brand of chocolate hearts? I haven’t seen anything like this in the stores. Thanks!

    1. Dove! 🙂

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