Thursday, June 30, 2011

Snickerdoodles with Sprinkles Instead of Cinnamon

Snickerdoodles with Sprinkles Instead of Cinnamon
Each summer, the elementary school I work at has "Library Night."  Throughout the summer, every Thursday night, the library is open for families to come check out books for summer reading.  About three years ago, we started adding a hot dog dinner to sweeten the deal, and teachers will also make desserts for the event each Thursday.  Tonight is my night to make some cookies, and I thought sickerdoodles would be delicious; and then I thought snickerdoodles with sprinkles would really please the kids (not to mention this big person who loves sprinkles on sugar cookies).  They turned out GREAT.  A little on the crisp side, because I don't like my snickerdoodles underbaked.  
I made half sprinkled and half cinnamon/sugar, just because I could.  Using sprinkles for half the recipe used a whole 3 oz. bottle of nonpareils.

Sprinkles Snickerdoodles
    --Adapted from www.kingarthurflour.com

Ingredients
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening

  • ½ cup softened butter
  • 1 ½ cups white sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
extract
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½  teaspoon salt

  • 2 ¾ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

  • 6 oz. rainbow nonpareils
Instructions
Beat together the shortening and sugar till smooth, then add the eggs, again beating till smooth. Beat in the vanilla, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt, then add the flour, mixing slowly till combined. (Don’t overbeat.  And for the record, be sure to NEVER overbeat cookie dough.) Cover and refrigerate at least two hours.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cover the entire dough ball with sprinkles
Once dough is chilled, roll tablespoon-sized balls in the nonpareils in a shallow pan or bowl. You can coat 3-5 balls at a time.  Gently shake the pan/bowl to coat the dough balls with sprinkles. Place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, leaving about 1 ½" between them.
Bake the cookies at 400°F for 10 to 11 minutes, or until puffed and browned around the edges. Remove the cookies from the oven, cool on the pan for about 3-5 minutes, and then cool them on a rack.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies (I think)

Cookies are ready for Library Night.



Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tiny But Mighty Popcorn Prepared Three Ways

Tiny But Mighty Popcorn 3 Ways: Caramel, Kettle, & Salted
The real, live bag of popcorn.  Okay, not live, but real.

I've mentioned this Tiny But Mighty Popcorn in a previous post about different sizes of popcorn, but I love this one brand so much, AND it's available in the grocery stores here in Des Moines, that I thought I needed to devote an entire post to this Iowa treasure.  I'm making this popcorn three different ways today: popped in canola oil, kettle corn, and caramel corn.  (Take note, this popcorn didn't do well in my air popper.  Only half the kernels popped, and the ones that did tasted burned.)
In the other post, I mentioned the Amish Country Popcorn, that is even tinier than the TBM popcorn, but like I said, this is easier to get, and it tastes just as good.  Just not as tiny.  Besides its charming size, this popcorn tastes great just popped in some canola oil and then lightly salted.  My friend Karla uses the fine setting on her sea salt grinder, and it tastes even better.  It's a nice, clean, crisp, salty taste; plus, it's a variety that has a disintegrating hull.  So, after it's popped, you're not left with those strange shells that get stuck in your teeth (or tonsils in my case--eew).
If you're interested in this popcorn, but don't live in around Iowa, you can order TBM popcorn online, but it's kind of pricey.  If you live in the Des Moines, Iowa, area, HyVee and Dahls carry the brand in most stores, but Dahls has better prices.  I got my 1.5 pound bag for $3.19 at Dahls the other day, and I've seen it at HyVee for as much as $5.89.  
So, here are three different recipes to go with the three different ways to enjoy this tiny popcorn.  Have fun!


Regular Salted Popcorn
#1 Regular Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2-4 tablespoons butter (optional)
  • salt to taste
Instructions:
Place oil in a heavy bottomed two quart pot with a fitted lid.  Place one or two kernels of popcorn in the the oil.  Heat oil over medium-high heat until popcorn turns a lighter, almost white color.  Pour in remaining popcorn and cover with the lid.  You actually don't have to shake the pot the entire time, but you can if it makes you feel better.  When the popping starts to slow, then shake for sure.  When popcorn is only popping about one per second, it's time to remove from heat, uncover, and pour into a large bowl.  If you want butter, place the butter in the hot pan and swirl around until melted and pour evenly over popcorn.  Toss.  Salt a little at a time and taste to see if you need more.



Colored Kettle Corn
#2 Kettle Corn 

Ingredients:


  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  • 3-4 tablespoons white sugar
  • canola oil for popping
  • salt to taste
Instructions:
In a heavy 5-quart pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn kernels and sugar. Cover and shake until the popping is just about done. Don't leave it on for too long, or the sugar will burn and taste terrible. Pour into a metal or ceramic bowl (plastic will melt) and stir/toss until cool to the touch. Sprinkle with a little salt and stir/toss; taste and repeat until you like the level of saltiness.
*If you want colored kettle corn, I suggest you purchase some food color gel.  I like this kind because of its easy squeeze bottle.  For each color I squeezed in one large drop of gel right after putting in the sugar.  The water in the gel will make the oil spit, so it's best to put the sugar in first so it can absorb the gel.  Once you start shaking, the color gets evenly distributed.



Caramel Corn
#3 Caramel Corn


Ingredients:

  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 C light corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 4-8 quarts popped popcorn 
(Note: if you're using the tiny popcorn, don't use an air popper.  Pop in canola oil.  If you're going to use regular sized popcorn, go a head and use air popped popcorn.  Save a few calories.)


Instructions:
Preheat oven to 250°.
Combine brown sugar, butter, corn syrup & salt in a medium to large microwavable dish. Microwave on high until butter is mostly melted and then stir to combine ingredients. Bring to a boil by cooking on high for about 2 minutes. Remove and add baking soda. 
Put naked popcorn into a huge bowl. Pour above syrup stuff over popcorn and mix thoroughly. Spread popcorn onto two non-stick cookie sheets. Bake at 250° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes, rotating pans between top and bottom shelves. Remove from oven; stir immediately. Stir occasionally while cooling. Store in an airtight container.



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

German Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls


Okay, so I wasn't going to post this recipe until I won the Tones Cinnamon Roll Competition with it at the Iowa State Fair.  I did enter them last summer in the Non-Traditional Cinnamon Roll class, and they went immediately to the reject table.  This is what the judge said on my comment card: "These are stunning.  This is an idea for a roll that I have never encountered in my life.  It looks so heavy but is so light.  However this reminds me more of a cake than a roll."  I think I literally screamed in my car when I read that comment card after the fair was over.  Seriously?  "more of a cake than a roll"?  It's a NON-TRADITIONAL cinnamon roll, for crying out loud!  I guess I'm still a little angry over it.
Actually, I was at Trader Joe's about a month later, and I SAW the judge there shopping alone.  I was so, so tempted to go ask her what business she had judging a non-traditional cinnamon roll competition if she was unable to think outside of a box.  I thought better of it, and didn't accost her.  I don't want to be banned from the competition.
At any rate, I don't know if I'll try entering this again next year, hoping for a better judge, but if there's any chance this woman will be on the panel, I don't think I could take it.
Oh, this roll gets rave reviews from everyone who tastes it.  You heard what the judge said, it's "stunning."
(For more on my Iowa State Fair food competition experiences, go to this post.)

German Chocolate Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients
Dough
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 egg plus one egg yolk, beaten
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup warm milk
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 3 ¼ cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
Filling
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup softened butter
Frosting
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten w/ 1 tsp. water
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup flaked coconut, lightly toasted
Instructions
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, sprinkle yeast over warm water.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes, until soft and bubbly.  With the paddle attachment, stir in sugar, butter, cocoa, egg & yolk, and vanilla.  Mix until smooth.  Switch to the dough hook attachment, and add milk and 3 cups flour.  Mix & kneed on medium low speed for 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic, adding additional ¼ cup of flour 1 tablespoon at a time if it seems   7too sticky.
2. Place dough in a large, lightly greased bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise until doubled, 1-2 hours.  Meanwhile, mix brown sugar, cinnamons, and salt and set aside.  Butter a 9 x 13-inch metal pan and set aside.
3. While dough rises, make the frosting.  In a large saucepan, combine evaporated milk, sugar, egg yolks w/ water, butter, and vanilla.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and reaches 180°F.  Pour into a separate bowl and allow to cool.  Then stir in toasted pecans and coconut.
4.  Punch dough down and turn out onto a floured surface to form rolls.  Roll dough out to a 16 x 20-inch rectangle.  Evenly spread butter over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1 inch area of the dough free on one of the short ends.  Spread sugar/cinnamon mixture over the butter lightly using your hand.  Press in gently with a flat hand.  Starting at the short end that has the filling, roll dough, brushing away extra flour with a dry pastry brush.  Wet the end and seal by pinching gently.
5.  Brush off excess flour.  Using a 2-ft. length of dental floss, cut the dough into 6 equal pieces.  Place in buttered pan, cover, and let rise until puffy and almost doubled, about 1 hour. 
6.  Preheat oven to 350°F.  Bake rolls at 350°F for 25-30 minutes, or until the center of a roll registers 188-190°F on a probe thermometer.  Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20 minutes before frosting.
7.  Frost rolls and serve.  Keep leftovers in an airtight container.
Makes 6 ridiculously large rolls


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sunbutter Cookies/Sunbutter Blossoms


Sunbutter blossom cookies
Sunbutter cookies.  You can barely see the green flecks.


Okay, so I decided to make some Sunbutter cookies and Sunbutter blossom cookies to take to a school event.  I'm so glad I tried them out BEFORE taking them anywhere.  Green inside?  Really?  I did notice that the plain Sunbutter cookies had little green flecks in them yesterday, but for some reason, I dismissed the flecks.  Today I thought I'd taste a Sunbutter blossom cookie because I wanted to see if they were good enough to leave the house.  I THINK it tasted okay, but when I looked at it, I was floored. The very middle of each cookie had turned green.
Of course I googled "sunbutter cookies green" immediately, and came up with a decent explanation (something about chloro-something-or-another in sunflower seeds), but that doesn't mean I'm going to eat them or serve them to others.  Too weird.  I'm mainly posting this recipe because it's an oddity, and the one website I looked at suggested I halve the baking soda to reduce the greening.  So, give it a go if you'd like.  I'm going to stick with peanut butter.


Sunbutter Cookies/Dove Sunbutter Blossoms
    --Adapted from King Arthur Flour


Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¼ cup vegetable shortening
  • ¾ cup Sunbutter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 T milk

  
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, shortening, and Sunbutter until well blended.  Add the sugars; beat until light and fluffy.  Add the egg, milk, and vanilla, and beat well.  Stir the flour, soda, and salt together.  Gradually mix into the wet ingredients.

Shape the dough into 1 ¼-inch balls.  Roll in sugar.  Place balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake in a preheated 375°F oven for 10 to 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven and immediately place one chocolate Promise on each cookie.  Then go back and press each Promise gently into the cookie.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
Sunbutter Cookies and Sunbutter Blossoms.  The exterior looks fine.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Chicken Enchilada Soup


Chicken Enchilada Soup
Chili's Restaurant introduced me to the idea of chicken enchilada soup, and it was my standard order for a couple of years there.  Once I started cooking on my own, I came up with my own recipe.  I think I make it different every time.  I cook the chicken different ways, or add whatever vegetables I have around, or like tonight, it has no vegetables.  I can't say it tastes like the Chili's version, but I think I like this recipe better now than Chili's.  Go figure.
Since moving to Iowa I've had to change brands of enchilada sauce, and maybe it's just because I'm a midwesterner now, but I do enjoy the milder flavor of the Old El Paso Mild Enchilada Sauce.  Normally I use Las Palmas Medium Enchilada Sauce, but it wasn't available to me here until recently.  At any rate, select an enchilada sauce that you know you like, and you can't go wrong.
Because this recipe uses masa flour as a thickener, the soup is nice and thick and tastes of tortillas.  Mmmm.  If you don't use much (or any cheese) and use baked tortilla chips instead of frying the tortilla strips, this is actually a relatively low-fat soup.  High carb, but low fat.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

Ingredients: 
  • 3 14.5 oz. cans chicken broth
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast*
  • 1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce
  • ½ tsp ground cumin (optional)
  • 3/4 cup masa flour (or about 8 corn tortillas torn up into medium pieces)
  • 6-10 corn tortillas
  • oil for frying tortillas
  • grated cheese (Monterey Jack is good)
  • pico de gallo
  • 1 ½ cups chopped and par-cooked veggies, if desired (I use sliced carrots and green beans)
Instructions:
1.  Pour chicken broth and enchilada sauce into a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add cumin and chicken breast(s)and simmer for about 1/2 hour, or until chicken is cooked through. Remove pan from heat.  Remove chicken, shred or chop into bite-size chunks, and set aside.
2.Whisk masa flour into hot broth, or use an immersion blender (i.e. Braun hand blender) until smooth.  (If you’re using the corn tortillas instead, put in the torn tortillas and let simmer in broth for a few minutes and then blend with an immersion blender.) If you don't have a hand blender, you may want to add 2 cups hot liquid into a regular blender with the masa flour (or tortillas) and blend, later returning mixture to the saucepan with the remainder of the broth and mix. 
3. Add chicken pieces and simmer on low for 15-25 minutes, stirring occasionally so the masa does not stick to the bottom.  You can also add chopped veggies or beans for added fiber and texture.
4. Heat about 1/2 inch oil in another pan for frying tortilla strips.  Cut tortillas in half and then cut into 1/8 to 1/4 inch strips.  Fry a handful at a time until crisp and golden.  Drain on paper towels and lightly salt.
Serve soup with tortilla strips, shredded cheese, and pico de gallo.
Makes about four hearty servings.

*You can cook the chicken as described in the recipe, or you can use a roasted chicken or grill up some chicken.  Tonight I used grilled chicken breast tenders that had been seasoned with Penzy's Spices Adobo Seasoning.  I shredded them once they were cool.  I must say, it resulted in one of my better pots of soup.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chocolate Cream Pie

Chocolate Cream Pie


I love the internet and this food blogging thing.  I've discovered tons of great recipes and techniques from my fellow bloggers out there.  This one comes via Once Upon a Chef, a blog by an actual chef turned stay-at-home-mom.  A woman after my own heart.  
I made this pie for my husband for Father's Day, and I think I may have enjoyed it more than he has.  He likes a lighter filling in his chocolate cream pie.  This filling has quite a deep chocolate flavor and firm texture.  It's not stiff, but it stands up to a fork, which is fine by me.  The Oreo cookie crust, I think, is my favorite part.  Just about any pie made with such a crust gets my vote most days.  The original recipe called for Nabisco Chocolate Wafers, but for the life of me, I cannot find those anywhere in the Des Moines area.  Pity.  They are good for so many other things as well.
At any rate, the recipe below also calls for stabilized whipped cream, which I have a recipe for that I've created links to.  Feel free to use regular sweetened whipped cream, but know that once you've put it on top of the pie, it won't look good for very long, which is fine if you're serving enough people to finish most of the pie at the first serving.  I'm hoping this pie lasts for a few days, so I've used the stabilized whipped cream.
As always, if you have any questions about this recipe, please post a comment and I will respond probably faster than what would be considered dignified.

Chocolate Cream Pie
     --Adapted from Once Upon a Chef

Ingredients

For Crust
  • 1 1/2 cups finely crushed Oreo crumbs (white filling removed)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

For Filling
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 28 Dove Dark Chocolate Promises, unwrapped & chopped (or 8 oz. other kind of chopped dark chocolate)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Topping
Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350° F

2. Filling: In a heavy medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, whisk milk and egg yolks until combined.  Pour milk mixture into pan while whisking.  Whisk until smooth.  Place pan on burner set to medium heat and cook, whisking constantly (yes, constantly), making sure to scrape bottom and edges of the pan, until mixture starts to thicken, about 7-9 minutes.  Remove from heat and immediately whisk in chocolate, butter, and vanilla.  Transfer hot filling to a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap rests in contact with the filling so a skin does not form.  Refrigerate filling until cool,1-2 hours.

3. Crust: Crush Oreos (remember, filling removed) in a large zip-top freezer bag by rolling with a large rolling pin until it’s as fine as sand.  Add sugar and softened butter to the bag, zip the top, and smoosh around until all sugar and butter is incorporated.  Press mixture firmly into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate.  Bake for 10 minutes. Set on rack to cool completely.

4. Once filling and crust are cooled, spoon filling into crust and spread evenly. Cover with saran wrap, pressing directly against surface of filling, and chill for at least 6 hours or up to one day.

5. Before serving, pipe or spread stabilized whipped cream over the top.  Using the small holes on a grater, grate final Dove Dark Chocolate Promise all over the top of the pie. Refrigerate until ready to serve and then refrigerate any leftovers.



Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting

Stabilized Whipped Cream
I used locally glass-bottled cream today.
Before finding this recipe, I often wondered how bakeries and restaurants could keep their whipped cream frosting so beautiful and firm throughout the day, and even after I took baked goods home.  I knew some of them used non-dairy whipped toppings, but others, like the Chicken Pie Shop, I knew used real whipped cream on their delicious sweet offerings.  After some searching on the internet and some terrible recipes, like the one that came out with little nuggets of gelatin in the whipped cream, I found this one that creates a whipped cream that is light, smooth, and stable.  The original recipe at cdkitchen calls for some lemon juice.  I didn't want any lemon flavor in what I was making, so I omitted it, and the recipe turns out great anyway.
I use this whipped cream on cream pies and cakes, when I want to have the finished product as something to look at and not just consume immediately.  If I'm not making a show of it, I just use my isi whipped cream dispenser (like they use at Starbucks) with simple cream and a little powdered sugar. That way, I don't have to cover the whole pie with whipped cream at one time. I will just dispense it on each serving.


*Note: I have recently discovered mascarpone cheese as an ingredient in whipped cream frosting. It's much simpler to make the Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting than the stabilized whipped cream, and I think it's better for cupcakes because it's got more body to it. It's still super light tasting, is super creamy, AND it holds its shape nicely. Check it out.





Stabilized Whipped Cream Frosting

     --adapted from cdkitchen

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 1 cup whipping cream (regular or heavy--I always use heavy cream)
  • 2 tbsp confectioner's sugar
Instructions:
1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl to soften. 
2. Scald 2 tablespoon of the cream (this means you put the cream in a pan and bring it to a simmer on the stove); pour over gelatin, stirring till dissolved.
3. Refrigerate until consistency of unbeaten egg white. (This takes about 10-15 minutes.) Then, with a whisk, beat until smooth. 

4. In a stand mixer with a whip attachment, or with a hand beater, whip remaining cream and sugar just until soft peaks form; whip in the smoothed gelatin mixture, stopping to scrape the bowl twice. Whip until stiff peaks start to form, but be careful not to over beat. You will probably only need to whip it another 10-20 seconds before it's done.

Fills and frosts top of 2 8" or 9" cake layers; or frosts 10" angel
cake or spongecake. Tops one standard 9" pie with some left over to enjoy from a spoon.  Stands up well, even in warm weather. Keep leftover frosting and any product topped with it in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Recipe is easily doubled.

You can also make flavored stabilized whipped cream frosting by using flavored gelatin powder. Click here for that little experiment.


Gelatin mixture--I let this get too firm in the fridge, but it worked.


Banana Cream Pie with Stabilized Whipped Cream
Chocolate Cream Pie with Stabilized Whipped Cream on top
Same pie as above, 2 days later.  The whipped cream 
is holding up to the time, fridge, and plastic wrap.
This little Three Bite Chocolate French Silk Pie is three days old,
and the stabilized whipped cream still looks fresh.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Colorful Sugar Cookies

Colorful sugar cookies make me happy. So happy.



If you're thinking that these cookies look like they'd be complicated to make, you would be correct.  They're not impossible, just a little bit labor intensive.  They taste great, and they're so much fun to look at that I will continue to try and post my different attempts at being creative with these cookies.  That being said, here is how I came up with the idea:
I recently rediscovered a cookie that is in the form of chocolate chip shortbread, but upon that rediscovery, I realized how much I really just like that cookie dough for a sugar cookie.  It's a pure, sweet, buttery, tender cookie, that I figured would hold up well to forming into a log and slicing.
How do they make the pics so clear?
As I've mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I'm a little obsessed with rainbow coloring my food and my quilts.  As I was snuggling with my boys under my favorite rainbow quilt, gazing at one of the mulit-colored fabrics in particular, I had a brainstorm about how to make a colorful sugar cookie that was fun and tasty.  If you've ever watched those Food Network  or How It's Made shows that tell you how they make those cool Christmas candies or taffy with the pictures inside them, you'll understand what I started thinking.  I was going to use that method to form my roll of dough which I could then slice into a work of art.  
As I try this recipe again and again (over the years, I'm sure), I will post some pics so you can see different patterns I've tried. 
P.S. One of my summer school students, a fourth grader named Nicholas made these cookies and was kind enough to bring me a few. They tasted perfectly delicious and were uniquely colorful as well (See pic below).  It's so exciting to see one of my recipes replicated--and by a fourth grader!  I'm so impressed! 
P.P.S. Well, three years later, I'm finally making these cookies again. I meant to take more pics of the process, but my sister-in-law was over and I was so happy about the way the dough was turning out that I got over excited and didn't take pics of a couple of the steps. If you give this a go, you can play with shapes and sizes. Some things I've learned is that the outer layer of white can be rolled out nicely between sheets of parchment paper. The pics at the top are my second attempt (from today), and the ones at the very bottom are my first attempt. I think as long as you color the dough, these are bound to turn out pretty.

Colorful Sugar Cookies

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, plus more for dusting
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Gel food colors (red, blue, yellow, purple--you can mix your own green and orange, but purple is difficult)
Instructions:
· Preheat oven to 325°F.
· Cream butter and sugar.
· Add vanilla and egg. 
· Sift dry ingredients together and add to mixture.  Mix completely, but take care not to over mix.
AmeriColor Food Color
· Scoop out about 3 to 4 tablespoons of dough into six different containers to mix in the food coloring.  Using gel food coloring (I recommend AmeriColor in the squeeze bottles), color the dough orange, red, yellow, green, blue, and purple.  When making the orange and the green, make the dough mostly yellow with just a touch of red or blue, depending on the color, adding more of the red or blue as needed for your desired green or orange.  (You can always just purchase green or orange, and I did just purchase violet because it was too hard to get the right purple.  I'll let you be the judge on that.)
· Wrap each color of  dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-45 minutes, just to tighten it up.
· On a lightly floured piece of wax or parchment paper, shape/roll out two thirds of the remaining uncolored dough into a rectangle that is about 11 inches by 8 inches.  If it seems too thin, don't roll so large.  
· On a lightly floured surface,roll out the blue dough into a thin 11 inch by 2-ish inch rectangle.  Then roll the green into a rope and put on the blue dough.  Wrap the blue around the green and set it on top of the uncolored rectangle.  Do the same with the red and orange.
· On lightly floured surface, roll the red and the purple each into their own ropes and place on the uncolored dough too.  
· On lightly floured surface, roll the remaining uncolored dough into two or three thin ropes to fill in blank spaces.  
· Carefully roll all the ropes into the large rectangle, squeezing gently to tighten up what's inside.  Try to form it into a uniform log.  Wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours.
· Remove log from plastic wrap.  With a sharp knife, slice log into 1/4 inch slices.  If you notice gaps between colors, gently squeeze the log to tighten them up, and then keep on slicing.  Place slices on a wax paper lined cookie sheet as they await baking.
·  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between each cookie, and bake at 325°F for approximately 18 minutes, or until edges are browned.
· Remove to wire rack to cool.  Then store in an airtight container.  These cookies remain good for about a week.  They're one of the few cookies I don't have to eat within one or two days.












First attempt. I think they're pretty.
Nicholas's colorful sugar cookie.  Great work, Nicholas! (It was delicious too!)


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