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Think Pink: How to Bake This Color of Love into Valentine’s Day Sweets

Updated February 7, 2024

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or not, pink is a timeless color that has peaked in popularity periodically to express everything from femininity and coolness to empowerment and love. Think Audrey Hepburn’s hot pink dress in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, Aretha Franklin’s hit song (and video) “Freeway of Love” featuring a pink Cadillac, Barbie’s dream house brought to life in a film that millions dressed in “pinkcore” to watch, and the pink paper hearts and candies swapped in grade school on Valentine’s Day. And in the past year, pink has even become a food group, popping up in coffeehouses, grocery stores, and bakeries.

It’s settled: Pink has cemented its way into fashion, film, classrooms, and more – for good reason. So, this Valentine’s Day, unleash your creativity and let pink make its way into hearts through your kitchen, by infusing shades of love into fresh-baked Pillsbury goods.

It’s not hard to do, especially since we at Pillsbury have already taken care of most of the (pink) preparation and experimentation for you. Sourcing our kitchen experts, we’ve curated our key best practices and watchouts for color, some other baking tips, and eight recipes – most of them kitchen-tested to make your baking more precise this Valentine’s Day.


How to Add Color to Your Baked Creations, According to Our Pillsbury Kitchens Experts

  • Food coloring is one of the easiest, and most effective, ways to add color. Both liquid and gel varieties, readily available in grocery stores, work well and are effective when dyeing one of our favorites: Pillsbury™ Cookie Dough. Easily achieve your desired pink shade by kneading the color before baking and layering as needed. When you add color to cookie dough, be aware that the hue sometimes changes during baking. We recommend factoring in that possibility or considering alternate color-creating options. Baking the dough until just before it gets dark can help retain more of the color, as can baking it for the minimum amount of time the recipe calls for to avoid cookies browning on the edges.
  • Gel coloring is generally a better option than liquid. While this depends on the circumstance, we generally recommend using gel over liquid dyes. Liquid food coloring adds more moisture than gel, which can impact a recipe’s outcome.
  • Be careful how much food coloring you add. Typically, a few drops suffice for a recipe, but many recipes provide a range. We recommend starting with the minimum amount, since excess color can’t be removed and can impact your recipe’s taste and texture. The quantity of drops also depends on whether you’re using red or pink food coloring; for red, one or two drops suffice for a vibrant pink hue, while pink dye may require two to four. Following the recipe is key, as there’s a purpose behind specified amounts. Where you can, we always recommend test-baking for batched recipes so you can adjust as you go.
  • Pink or red frostings, fillings, and dried fruits are good options for refrigerated doughs. While food coloring works great with cookie dough, we don’t recommend adding color to refrigerated dough, such as Pillsbury Biscuits or Crescent Rolls—the handling required to knead the color in properly can affect the quality of the bake. If you want to add a pop of pink into your baking, consider add-on toppings, such as fresh fruits, dyed icings, or sprinkles. Or, you can roll up dried fruits like raspberries or strawberries into Crescent Rolls or Cinnamon Rolls since they add less moisture to pastries than fresh fruits.

Our General Expert Tips for Valentine’s Day Bakers

  • To get the perfect crunchy or soft cookie: Bakers generally love our cookie dough because it delivers similar results every time – cookies that are soft on the inside and slightly crispy on the edges. But if that’s not what you’re going for, follow this rule of thumb: Bake for less time to achieve more softness, and maximum time to achieve a crunch. Roll-out cookie dough also tends to be crispier when baked, while cookie bars tend to be on the softer side.
  • To set heart-shaped cookies: If you decide to use a heart-shaped cookie cutter, we recommend kneading extra flour into roll-out cookie dough to retain the shape when it bakes. You can find details on exactly how much flour to add on your cookie dough packaging.
  • To more easily separate dough or avoid it sticking: For Pillsbury Crescents, Cinnamon Rolls, or Biscuits, remove the dough from the refrigerator just before baking because the colder it is the easier it is to separate. Use a knife to precisely remove perforations. For Pillsbury Pie Crusts or Cookie Dough, add a little flour to your work surface when rolling it out and dip any cookie cutters in flour.
  • For faster cleanup: Use parchment paper when baking cookies on a cookie sheet. You’ll thank yourself later.
  • To ensure baking temperatures align with the type of pan you’re using: Assess whether your pan is on the darker or lighter side. Generally, darker pans are nonstick and require lower baking temperatures, whereas lighter pans generate better outcomes with higher temperatures. Lots of our recipes have two different temperature recommendations because of this.
  • To avoid senseless baking mistakes: Read the package to get to know your product and any recipe instructions clearly before you get started. Sometimes people don’t prioritize reading this thoroughly, or just forget, but it can spare you time, money, and frustration.
  • To avoid common post-baking mistakes: Don’t remove cookies from a pan too soon (they might fall apart) or too late (they might stick or overbake from residual heat). If the recipe calls for spraying the dish, do it. And if there’s a specific cooling time on a recipe, follow it carefully.
  • To make sure your leftovers last as long as possible: Follow instructions on how to store them, which might range from refrigerating to keeping them at room temperature with loose or tight covering. Preserving the texture and freshness can depend on this, so act accordingly.

Our Favorite Pink Recipes and Valentine’s Day Themed Products

Ready to get started on your pink creation? We've pulled together several of our favorite recipes to set you on your way. We’ve also listed a couple of shortcut options, such as our heart-shaped sugar cookie dough in pink and white. We test all our products and many of the countless recipes at Pillsbury so that you can bake the most efficiently, easily, and effectively at home. This means that even if you’re using one of our Valentine’s Day recipes that hasn’t been kitchen tested, the products themselves have – so you’ll be off to a great, sweet start!