Red, White & Blue — Cookies!


We made these really fun cookies for Memorial Day. They’re called Beautiful Colorful Cookies and they’re in the Williams-Sonoma Kids Cookies book that we use all the time. My daughter Anna even entered a four-color batch in last year’s County Fair. They’re a tasty shortbread-like cookie, with a great crunchy texture. But, of course, the real star is the fun, unexpected colors. We use professional paste frosting colors (you can get a box of 8 small color jars from ChefMaster, available at specialty baking stores, for around $7), and, though they color well, it takes a lot of patience to get a super deep color in a cookie. You can see my husband, Lippy, had more patience than me when he was coloring this batch.

He also wants everyone to know that he skimped on the butter just a little because he was in a hurry, but that little bit gave the cookies a strange texture and taste. Lippy says, Slow down and take the time to measure correctly. They still look good!


What I brought to the mix was a technique of rolling logs of various colors, much like fimo clay, which we’ve used to bake our own elaborate beads. The logs are then attached, long side to long side, to make one big log, and that log is gently twisted to swirl the colors. These were done in small batches because, as with fimo, I wanted to roll and twist the colors just enough to make interesting designs, yet keep them each distinct, and not get a gooey-looking mess — which can happen if you overwork the dough (or clay.)


When we were done, we had a batch for the annual Mill Valley Walk into History, which my excellent husband led. (More on the walk to come.) And we had a batch to take to a Memorial Day BBQ, where they proved quite popular.

Beautiful Colorful Cookies

You’ll need:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
Food coloring
Mixing cups
Mixing bowl and beater
Forks, knife
Cookie sheets

Preheat oven to 350.

In large mixing bowl, mix together butter, confectioner’s sugar and vanilla until creamy.

Add flour and beat to form smooth dough.

Divide dough into 3-4 parts, one for each color you want, and add food coloring to each, mixing until the colors are well-blended.

Roll each colored section into a log shape. Place the logs on top of and around each other to form one large log.

Begin to roll or twist the log gently, so the colors mix and swirl, but also stay distinct. Cut a sample slice from the log to see if you’re happy with the pattern.

Cut slices about 1/4″ thick. If the dough is too soft, refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Place slices on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for approx. 10 minutes.

Yield: Approx. 44 cookies.

See more ideas for Colorful Cookies

Photos by Susan Sachs Lipman

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