Make these cookies in all shapes and in all colors. Make some of them into sandwich cookies. They’re right for any occasion.
Step 1. Mix and color/flavor the dough
Follow the directions to make the dough. Divide the dough into three or four equal parts and add flavor and color to each.
Step 2. Shape the dough
Roll each part into equal logs. Use your hands and the counter to create square logs and flat logs. See below for details.
Step 3. Create the patterns
Press the dough logs together into one log to form the patterns. Refrigerate the log.
Step 4. Slice and bake
Slice horizontal into 1/4-inch slices and bake.
(Keep reading for more information.)
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How to Make Rainbow Cookies
Wendy, who publishes our e-books, told me that my instructions for these multi-colored cookies were not very clear. She was right. So we went to the kitchen and made new ones so that the method would be fresh in my mind. Fun exercise.
In the process, Ali who works in our test kitchen became enamored with these cookies. She made a batch and took them to her church supper. She said they were a big hit.
“That’s a recipe everyone should have,” she said.
But think of this as a method, not a recipe. By changing flavors and colors, you can make any combination of colors and flavors you desire. Use your imagination. In these pictures, you’ll see swirls, squares, and stripes. Ali made multi-color pinwheels with two and three colors.
These make great kid cookies, holiday cookies, and party cookies.
How to Create Your Own Rainbow Cookies
You can spend forever exploring shapes, colors, and flavors. You make these cookies by dividing your dough into three or four parts and coloring and flavoring each.
We carry over 30 different flavors—everything from root beer to wild berry to peach. We have over 40 colors.
Use food color gels, not the liquids from the grocery stores, if you can. They are much brighter and much more concentrated. You can make very bright, not faded, cookies.
Use the dough as clay and make flat strips for striped cookies or square or round ropes. Put the shapes together to make multi-colored logs, slice and bake.
We put four round ropes together and made shamrock cookies. We paired up flat strips of different colors to make striped cookies and then made the nifty sandwich cookies shown in this article.
They’re pretty simple to make though making the logs seem to give folks pause. The trick is to make them uniform.
- If you have a kitchen scale, use it to divide the dough portions equally. Make a rough rope out of each.
- Roll each rope in wax paper. Roll the waxed paper covered logs on the counter to make smooth logs, stretching and compressing to get them all the same length. Stroking the logs with your hands helps to make them smooth.
- For square logs, press them flat on the counter, stroke with your fingers, and turn them and stroke some more. Similarly, make strips for striped cookies.
It’s easier to make the logs than it is to describe how to make them. After the logs are made, press them together and refrigerate them until the dough is firm. Cut 1/4 inch thick slices with a serrated knife.
So here is the recipe.
Colored Cookie Recipes
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
1-1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate (optional)
flavors and extracts (your choice)
food color gels (your choice)
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
- Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth. Continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients in two parts, mixing after each. Mix just until combined.
- Divide the dough into two, three, or four parts depending on how many different doughs you choose to make.
For the chocolate dough:
- For one half of the dough, melt two ounces of chocolate. For one fourth of the dough, melt one ounce of chocolate. While still warm, work the chocolate into the dough until uniform.
For flavored and colored doughs:
- Add two or three drops of food color gel in each one-fourth or one-third part. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon almond, 1/4 teaspoon peppermint, 1/2 teaspoon cherry, 1/2 teaspoon strawberry, or other extracts to the dough and mix in.
- Form the dough into cylinders, squares, or layers—a separate color or flavor for each. Refrigerate until firm.
Cut the dough into 1/4-inch thick slices. To form the shapes, cut each colored cylinder separately but gently press the different colored discs together on the cookie sheet. Bake on ungreased cookies sheets at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are nearly firmed and very lightly browned. Do not over bake. Cool on wire racks.
Nuts or fruit can be added to these cookies. Maraschino cherry pieces could be added to the pink dough and almond bits to the almond dough.
When I’ve made mine, I cut the logs separately and then pressed the pieces together into the patterns. Ali pressed the logs together and then cut the multicolored logs into cookies. I think Ali was smarter.
About the Author
Dennis Weaver has burned food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He is the founder of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking available as an E-book or as a Kindle book on Amazon.
Dennis lives in Rigby, Idaho, with his wife, Merri Ann. They have five wonderful children and five beautiful granddaughters.