I made these colorful sugar cookies to bring to my friend’s St. Patrick’s Day party. She is always very festive and embraces every holiday with wonderful decorations and fun crafts.
Her 12-year old daughter even made this Leprechaun appetizer for the celebration. Amazing! 🙂
These cookies were originally called “End of the Rainbow” cookies in Martha Stewart Living. They had little candy “pots of gold” attached with icing. I preferred them plain! I added the colored sanding sugar on the outside of the cookie dough log instead. I also used a tried and true sugar cookie dough, from our birthday Number Cookies, but used the technique from the magazine to color and form the dough into rainbows.
I pre-cut the dough into semi-circles prior to baking but had to trim the bottom after baking to create a straight edge. Next time, I would bake them in full circles and cut them in half immediately after removing them from the oven instead. We did get to sample the cookies by eating all of the trimmed edges! 😉
- 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp coarse salt
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (10.6 oz)
- gel food coloring (I used blue, yellow, and pink)
- 1 large egg, yolk and white separated
- colored sanding sugar (I used yellow)
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add eggs, vanilla, and salt; mix on medium-high speed until combined.
- With mixer on low speed, add flour in two batches, mixing until just incorporated.
- Divide dough in half, about 1 pound each.
- Divide one half into 2 pieces, about 3/4 cup each. (I used a kitchen scale to divide it evenly.) Flatten one piece into a 3-by-5-inch rectangle; wrap tightly with plastic. Roll out other piece into an 8-inch rod shape, about 1 inch thick; wrap tightly with plastic.
- Divide remaining half of dough into 3 pieces, about 1/2 cup or about 5.8-6oz each. Tint each with one of the gel colors, as desired, stirring color in with a knife or spatula.
- Flatten each tinted piece into a 3-by-5-inch rectangle; wrap each tightly with plastic.
- Refrigerate all dough until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days (or freeze up to 1 month).
- In a small bowl, whisk egg white with a fork.
- Between sheets of plastic wrap, or on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the blue dough into a 4 or 5-by-8-inch rectangle, a scant 1/4 inch thick.
- While still enveloped in the plastic wrap, make sure that the edges meet after wrapping the log in the tinted dough; adjust if necessary.
- Unwrap and brush the top with egg white. Place dough rod on long edge of rolled-out dough, then roll rod inside it; seal at edges where dough meets by pinching and pressing gently. Freeze 10 minutes.
- Repeat with remaining dough, rolling yellow dough out to 5 or 6-by-8 inches, pink dough to 6 by 8 inches (1/8 inch thick), and un-tinted dough to 7 or 8-by-8 inches.
- Roll log in plastic wrap; twist ends closed. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours and up to 1 month.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
- Let log soften at room temperature about 10 minutes; remove plastic wrap.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg yolk with a fork. Coat the outside of the log with the egg yolk and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
- Using a sharp chef’s knife, slice 1/4 inch thick, rotating log slightly after every slice to maintain even circles.
- Place slices on parchment-lined baking sheets and bake until firm and just golden around edges, about 9 to 12 minutes.
- Immediately after removing the cookies from the oven, cut each cookie in half with a sharp knife to form two rainbows.
- Let cool on sheet 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.