Hope you all had a happy colorful Holi? Here’s the Gujiya post I did last week if you haven’t checked that already. We aren’t done with the colors yet though…Its mid-March and almost Spring. Did I just say spring? After a well behaved winter and frequent warm sunny days earlier this year, March is now giving us the chills…well literally! We saw an all-day blizzard with high winds today. Is this called spring? No, never. And this isn’t ending here too…looks like there will be another set of 10-14 cold days before we could anticipate those toasty spring weeks. They say on east coast, March is always iffy…that it’s in like a lamb and out like a lion. Well with all said and done about the weatherman, they called it off at Big-J’s school today.
So we were all home bound and I had sometime at hand. I still had time after my kitchen served a pan full of creamy spinach pasta for brunch and one large Dutch oven of cooked Turkish grams to go with some grilled bread for supper. Unaware of the impending cold weather outburst, Big-J had long wanted to do a Mommy-and-me cookie playdate. She said she wanted to make colorful cookies to celebrate the rainbows and blossoms of spring. Such beautiful beings children are! You look through their eyes and you’ll be awestruck with the splendor this world has…and you’ll fall in love with each little bit of it. She said “Mommy, ‘m home and you don’t really have major plans for the rest of the day. We can’t step out in the snowstorm you see. Could we please have our cookie playdate now? May be we can just pretend it’s spring time. Pretty please?” So be it my love! And that’s how this post is courtesy Big-J and her love for these cookies…
After the hubby man reluctantly agreed to babysit lil-J, Big-J and I sat down with her Play-Doh to mix some colorful clays and do our model cookies. She had precise ideas and wanted mommy to see before we actually worked on our cookie dough. She rolled, mixed and sliced the Play-Doh cookies. (How I wish I had some pictures of them to share with you!) They looked gorgeous. She made two types of cookie models:
— One that looked like a rainbow roll. She had placed the colored play-doh sheets to form a tier and then had rolled them together and sliced. Since Big-J didn’t wanted it to look more like a rainbow than a pinwheel, we worked on making thinner colored doh-sheets and pressed them all together slightly, so the inner colors would minimally merge.
— Second that had a floral pattern. She had stacked the cylindrical colored play-doh logs together, twisted (so they stayed together) them slightly, and sliced.
We worked on my basic butter cookie recipe and divided the dough into small portions that we colored. Then we played with them a little bit…we rolled, stacked and layered the colors. Then freezed and sliced them before baking. Big-J was so engrossed making these pretty beauties, that when Daddy played “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands…” song for her lil sissy, the big sister declared “Well I am happy, but I can’t clap my hands you see!” It was fun indeed…
Dad and lil-J couldn’t keep themselves away for long and joined us just in time. While Daddy did get his hands dirty mixing colors on the dough, lil-J kept pretending to work and sought our attention non-stop throughout. We had a great family time. This cookie making is a wonderful after-school or holiday activity to engage in the kids! They love and love mixing, coloring the dough, rolling, twisting them and making the cookie logs.
Our rainbow turned to be our very own kind of rainbow though. We found 7 colors too much to work with, so we gave away indigo. Then Big-J traded the violet from the rainbow for the glorious fuchsia! And if this wasn’t enough, ours wasn’t a ROY G. BIV either…the rainbow cookie colors followed Big-J’s heart and started with an outer orange and had a pink heart…but they looked super cute!
And not only did we work on two different cookie patterns using our colored dough, we also baked them differently. The rainbow cookies were rolled on sugar confetti and baked for full 20 minutes. However, the multicolored cookies baked a couple minutes shy to make soft cookies. When they popped out of oven, they smelled and looked like heaven! The almond extract we had used went in perfectly. The texture and taste unlike any regular cookies. We thought these were some real killer cookies, as if this untimely winter-outpour hasn’t killed us already! No, I don’t mean to sound pompous here. I know the good blogger manners, and I ain’t bragging. But we ate away so many even before the oven fresh cookies could complete cool down. Then, when Big-J proudly shared her baked goodies with some for her friends in her neighborhood, she got some serious rave reviews to takeaway. And I’ve come to believe this recipe is share worthy indeed.
So here’s the recipe and you all have a great one too…read notes for some more beautiful variations using this recipe. In the meantime, I’ll wait to hear back from you after you’ve made these colorful beauties!
Makes a little more than a quart bag full cookies (about 17 to 20 regular size; or 35 to 40 small cookies)
- 3/4 cup sweet cream butter (1.5 sticks or 170 gms or 6 oz)
- 1 cup fine granulated white sugar (225 gm or 8 oz)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp pure almond extract (or vanilla extract)
- 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
- 6 different bright rainbow gel food colors (we used super red, sunset orange, lemon yellow, leaf green, sky blue and fuschia)
- Sugar confetti or edible sprinkles (about 2 oz or 57 gm) — Optional
You will also need: large mixing bowl, enough wax paper, parchment paper, knife to slice cookies, 6 bowls to mix colors, aluminium foil and cookie sheet
- Melt butter in a mixing bowl and add sugar. Mix till uniformly incorporated.
- When the butter-sugar mixture is cool enough, crack and add the egg contents. Whisk until smooth.
- Add the almond extract and fold into the mixture. If you are allergic to or don’t like almond flavor then use vanilla extract in your cookies.
- Add the flour and carefully fold in and keep mixing/kneading till you get a smooth dough to work with. I love to use my hands at this stage to knead and finish the dough.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal portion in 6 bowls.
- Add a few drops of a color to each bowl, and mix with the dough till you get a bright uniform color.
- Line your work surface with aluminium foil to avoid the grease from dough butter.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (or 177°C).
- Proceed with one of the following ways to make either the sheet rolled or the stacked rainbow cookies:
- For Stacked floral rainbow cookies:-
Divide each color dough into 2 equal portions. On a sheet of wax paper, roll one dough of each color carefully (using both hands) to make an approximately 10 inch long dough roll/stick/tube. You’ll now have 6 cylindrical dough rolls of each color. Freeze these rolls in the freezer for 5-10 minutes, so they become less pliable and more workable. After taking them out of the freezer, stack them together with one cylindrical roll at the center and the rest surrounding it. Using hands, you may pat them together at the two ends (or slightly pull a roll), so they all match in length. Hold at the ends and gently twist them together, so the rolls stick and hold their positions. You could roll them over some sugar confetti if you like (I did not use confetti on these cookies). Repeat these steps for the remaining portions of colored dough. You should now have 2 cookie logs. Wrap each cookie log with wax paper and freeze for at least 30 to 40 minutes. Once frozen sufficiently, carefully unwrap one cookie log, and using a sharp knife, slice cookies that are about 1 cm thick. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place the cookies at least 2 inches apart to allow space to swell during baking.
- For Rainbow roll cookies:-
On a wax paper, roll each of the colored dough (one that you’d like to be on the outside of the cookie) roughly into a 5 inch x 6 inch rectangle sheet. We started with orange like how big-J wanted it. On a separate wax sheet, roll out another colored dough into a similar size rectangle. Carefully pick it up (place one hand at the sheet base for support so they don’t break) and turn it over to overlap the 1st cookie sheet. Watchfully, peel off the wax paper lining it. Repeat the previous 2 steps till you’ve stacked all the 6 dough sheets on one another to form a stack. The color on the top will for the cookie heart, while the base would be the outermost layer. Place your hands perpendicular to each side of the rectangular stack and pat, so all the sheets come together and match in dimension. Cover with wax sheet and freeze for 5 to 10 minutes to make the cookie dough less pliable and more workable. Take it off the freezer and unwrap. Place your hands on the top sheet and carefully press down to evenly and slightly spread them outwards, so we could roll them easily (since it’s difficult to roll a thick stack!). This step also ensures a minimal color blending of the sandwiched layers, that looks great. Carefully and slowly, roll the stack sheet into a roll (it’ll be thick like a Swiss roll) — support the thick roll with hands on the sides as well as in the middle, so the dough doesn’t break too much. Spread some sugar confetti over a wax paper and roll the thick cookie log carefully over them. Press gently with hands to make the confetti stick to the dough. Now cover with wax paper and freeze the cookie log for at least 30 to 40 minutes. Once frozen sufficiently, carefully unwrap one cookie log, and using a sharp knife, slice cookies that are about 1 cm thick. Line a 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place the cookies at least 3 inches apart to allow these large cookies enough space to swell during baking.
- For soft cookies, bake at 350°F (or 177°C) for about 12 to 15 minutes or till you see no moisture on the cookie tops. For regular cookies, bake for about 20 minutes.
- Take the cookies out of the oven and let them rest on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes. Then transfer them to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.
- Store the cookies in an air tight container till consumed. They taste best if consumed within the first 2-3 days.
- After making the cookie logs, you may continue to freeze them up to 3 months. Take them out of the freezer till the dough is workable, slice and proceed with the remaining steps to make cookies.
- For making both the types of cookies at a time (floral and rainbow roll), use double the ingredients mentioned for the recipe.
- For pinwheel cookies, use only 3 to 4 dough colors. Roll each of the dough to a larger rectangle. Stack the sheets, freeze for 5 minutes, then roll together. Freeze for half hour. Slice into 1 cm thick cookies and bake as instructed above.
- For a blended rainbow shaped cookies, mix all the different colored doughs together to make a larger dough ball. Using a rolling pin, roll them into a 0.5 to 1 cm thick sheet. Use cookie cutters of your choice to cut out cookies and bake them as instructed above.
- For plain butter cookies, do not use the colors. After freezing, cut out cookies from the cookie dough sheet/log and bake.
- For colorful M&M cookies, use a single or no color on the cookie dough. Drop a tbsp of the dough (or use an ice cream scoop) at least 4 inches apart, throughout the cookie sheet and press them somewhat flat with a butter/icing knife or spatula. Adore with some colorful M&M’s and bake per instructions above.