Sunday, June 15, 2014

Rainbow Cookies

  1. an arch of colors formed in the sky in certain circumstances, caused by the refraction and dispersion of the sun's light by rain or other water droplets in the atmosphere.

I like my definition better: freakin' awesome.

You know what's even better than a rainbow? Rainbow + cakes, rainbow + cupcakes, rainbow + cookies... you see what I'm saying? I decided to make rainbow cookies for a birthday party, based on this post by GoodLifeEats. They look almost too perfect, don't they? That's because they are. Your cookies will not come out like this. If they do, you should start your own business called, "Magic Rainbow Delight" and I will be your first customer. However, if you're like me and NOT an expert baker, I guarantee you'll come up with a cookie that doesn't look anything like the original but will still be to your liking.

To start, make some sugar cookies. I made mine from scratch, because in the comments she says they're delicious but really, they're just meh. The Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix will probably produce the same result and will taste better. But, if you're insistent on making these from scratch, here's what you'll need:

1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter (3 sticks)
2 cups of sugar
2 whole eggs AND
2 whole egg yolks
4 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 teaspoons of almond extra
4 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Food coloring

Start by combining the butter and sugar and beat well for a good two minutes. It should be very light and fluffy. After two minutes, add the eggs and egg yolks. Once those are mixed in, add the vanilla and almond extract.

Note the paddle attachment, not the whisk

In a separate medium to large bowl (since it is a lot of flour), combine the flour, salt, and baking powder and whisk together. Slowly add to the wet ingredients until just combined.

Now if you have a kitchen scale, you can use that to evenly divide the dough six ways. If you don't, like me, just eyeball it. Wilton food gel is awesome for vibrant colors - these are the six I used:

So the dough went from this...

To this...

Put the dough in individual saran wrap or plastic bags and stick on the fridge. The original post says "until firm, about an hour or two." I had mine in the fridge for 7 hours and it still wasn't firm but I wasn't waiting any longer.

Use flour to roll out the dough (so it doesn't stick to the table or the rolling pin) approximately 6"x9".

Layer the dough in rainbow order and I recommend having a piece of saran wrap underneath the layers so it'll be easier to wrap up once you're done.

Now you're supposed to cut off the edges so they're clean cuts but my dough was so greasy and soft (even after 7 hours!) that it was a little sloppy but eh, oh well.

Wrap in saran wrap and they say "freeze for several hours." Well, I was going to bed and didn't want it to be rock hard when I woke up, so I put it in the fridge for 10 hours. I should have put it in the freezer, though, because it was still pretty soft.

When you take it out, you should be able to slice 1/4" thick pieces and cut them in half to create rectangles. 

I found this to work only half the time. As the dough got softer, it wasn't as easy to slice so I decided to make some rectangles, some with a cookie cutter (which I don't recommend), some as rainbows, and with the leftovers? Combine them to make rainbow-colored cookies! Let them set one more time = in the freezer = until you're ready to bake.

Once you're ready, bake them at 350 for as long as it takes (the original post says 6-10 minutes but mine took 15 minutes) and let them cool before devouring. But here's the thing: the point of keeping them in the freezer is so they won't expand as much... but you can't tell me that rainbow isn't bloated. So the whole freezing thing? Seems like a waste of time.

But there you have it folks! Rainbow cookies for a birthday party, a St. Patrick's day get-together, or gay pride this month! Sure they don't look anything like the original post, but that's ok. No two rainbows are ever the same!

TOTAL COSTS: Less than $20 to make over 2 dozen (prices from Vons)
$.99 for butter 
$2.69 for sugar
$2.49 for eggs
$4.99 for almond extra
$3.29 for flour
$.99 for salt
$1.99 for baking powder
Food coloring on hand and vanilla extract homemade

15 minutes to make the dough
20 minutes to color the dough
7 hours to let set
40 minutes to roll out and layer
10 hours to set
30 minutes to cut out pieces
2 hours to let freeze
15 minutes to bake

EASY-PEASY SCALE (1 super easy - 5 very difficult): 3 out of 5
I suppose if I had put the dough in the freezer when slicing the pieces instead of the fridge, it would have been easier to slice. I was just afraid the dough would have been rock hard. Nonetheless, I'm happy with the outcome. They're not the best tasting cookies I've ever had, but they're definitely the most colorful!

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