Tiny sugar cookies filled with bright rainbows! These cookies look incredibly impressive, but are easier than you’d think. They’ll brighten up a gloomy day and would be great for a St. Patrick’s Day treat.
Of all of the slice- and-bake cookies I’ve made, I think these are my favourite. They’re so bright and fun, and the fact that they’re tiny makes them so cute. I’d been thinking about how to make rainbow cookies for ages, and they turned out even better than I had hoped!
I’ve never made a big deal of St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not Irish, I don’t drink, and I don’t like green very much, so it’s never been a holiday I paid much attention to. However, I married a boy who’s ¾ Irish, so I’ve learned to appreciate it! I totally forgot about St. Patrick’s Day when planning out my blog posts. However, the original plan went out the window when school started consuming my life, and I really wanted to try out these cookies. I decided they’d work for St. Patty’s day. Rainbows are more fun than shamrocks anyway! You could add a little pot of gold to each cookie with decorating gel, or package them up with some chocolate coins or gold-wrapped Rolos.
Start with your favourite sugar cookie dough (find mine here) and some food coloring. To get vibrant colors, you’ll need gel or paste coloring.
The whole color spectrum! Red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet. I decided that no one would miss indigo. I have the 12-pack of Wilton colors, which I believe has all of these colors except orange. I had some orange coloring on hand from the pumpkin cookies, but you could easily mix red and yellow.
Divide the dough in half. Cover one half with plastic wrap and pop it in the fridge for now.
Form the other half of the dough into seven balls, each a bit bigger than the last. My smallest ball was 27 g, and the largest 137. No need to be super precise, as there’s room for error down the road!
Now for the coloring! Your largest ball stays untinted. The next largest will be red, and then work your way down the rainbow, so the smallest is violet.
Important advice when it comes to coloring the dough – start with the LIGHTEST colors! A bit of yellow color in the orange won’t make big difference, but purple in the yellow might. I mixed yellow, then orange, then red, then violet in my stand mixer (just beat the dough with the paddle attachment until uniformly colored) and worked the blue and green coloring in by hand.
Wrap each dough ball in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes.
Time to make this a rainbow! Start with the smallest ball, violet. Roll it out into a “snake” or a “log.” Neither of those are very appetizing ways to describe yummy dough, but I can’t think of any others!
Keep in mind that your roll of dough will get longer and skinnier throughout the process. My violet snake was about 12 inches long, but I would start shorter, especially if you want your cookies larger than mine ended up.
Roll the next largest ball, blue, out into a snake slightly shorter than the violet. Flatten the blue snake with a rolling pin.
Place the violet snake on top of the blue dough, and wrap the blue around it. Roll the snake gently to smooth it. There are more pictures coming if you’re not quite visualizing it yet!
Now repeat the process! Roll the green dough into a snake and flatten it out. Place the blue dough on top of it and wrap the green around.
If you can’t get the dough all the way around, you can pinch a bit off from the end, and use it to fill in the gaps.
You will probably find that you can’t get the next layer of dough all the way to the end, something like this:
That’s fine, just pinch the excess dough off. We can still use it!
Continue the process with each subsequent color.
Wrap the green dough in yellow…
And the yellow dough in orange. You can see here that the yellow dough didn’t completely cover the green and that’s ok. A few spots missing a color won’t be noticeable in the final product.
Wrap the orange in red…
And now for the final layer. You do want to make sure that all of the red is covered with plain dough. Steal a bit of dough from the reserved half in the fridge if need be.
Wrap the rainbow log in plastic wrap and freeze it for 30 minutes.
What to do with the excess dough from the ends? Just squish it together into a log, wrap it up and chill. It’ll make cute “tie-dye” cookies!
While the dough is chilling, remove the other half of the dough from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature until it softens enough to work with.
Roll the un-colored dough into a log with the same diameter as the rainbow log. We just finished learning about diameter in grade seven math…I’m always finding ways to connect my math and science lessons to baking!
Cut both of the logs into chunks about 4-6 inches long (this just makes them a bit easier to work with.) You may have to let the rainbow log sit at room temperature a bit until it’s soft enough to cut.
Cut both the rainbow and plain logs in half vertically.
Place the cut sides of a plain and rainbow log together and roll gently to stick them together.
Cover and chill for another 30 minutes or so.
Slice each log into ¼ inch cookies. Look at those rainbows!
Place the cookies on a lined baking sheet. They shouldn’t be touching, but if they’re well chilled they won’t spread much.
Bake at 350° for 8 – 10 minutes, until the edges are set and the bottoms are just barely golden.
Cool briefly on the sheet, then remove to a rack and cool completely.
You can see that a few aren’t totally round or are missing a stripe and they still look cute!
I think these cookies would even make Oscar the Grouch happy!
Enjoy them yourself or package them up to share!
Total time: 3 hours
Yield: About 100 1 1/2 inch cookies
I’m hoping to get back on a regular posting schedule now that March Break has arrived and I have some time to get ahead. Look for a new post later in the week as the Bluenose Baker celebrates its first birthday! How has it been a year already!?