The school year is coming to an end...only 4 days left this week before exams! I bake cookies most weekends so the kids will have a treat in their lunchboxes and I hadn't made these in a while. Today was kind of rainy, so I decided to make these into cheerful rainbows in the hopes the sun would show up eventually. This recipe makes a lot and you can do any kind of design you like. At christmas I color half the dough red and leave the rest plain then swirl them to look like peppermint candies. Sometimes I'll even put a bit of peppermint extract in the dough. You can use any colors you like.
Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients
You will need:
1 1/2 cups butter
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, plus an extra egg white for "glue"
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5 cups flour, plus more for work surface
2/3 cup milk
Food coloring, in various colors
Step 2: Make the Dough
Make sure the butter is at room temperature. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until it is nice and creamy. Add the eggs and salt and mix well. Add the milk and vanilla and mix until well combined. Add the flour, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Keep mixing until the flour is completely incorporated.
Step 3: Divide the Dough
Divide the dough evenly into bowls. the number of bowls will depend on the number of colors you decide to use. Today I used 6 colors, red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Add food coloring to each ball of dough and mix until you get the color you want.
Step 4: Wrap and Chill
Wrap each ball of dough in plastic wrap or place in a plastic bag. Flattening the dough into squares or rectangles will make it easier to roll out when you are ready to shape the cookies. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
Step 5: Form the Layers
Beat one egg white with a fork. this will be brushed on to the layers and act as "glue" to hold them together. Roll out each layer of dough on a lightly floured surface. Try to keep the dough in a rectangular shape and try to make each rectangle roughly the same size. A bench scraper is your friend in this situation. Use it to trim the edges as you roll the dough and to lift up the layers and set them on top of each other. Remember to brush a layer of egg white on top of each layer before placing the next layer on top. It will help the layers stick together when you roll them up.
Step 6: Roll Up the Dough
Use a bench scraper to help lift and roll the dough into a log. seal up the seam. If you want pretty decorative edges on your cookies you can roll the whole log in decorating sugar or spinkles. I found a tub of star shaped candies in the pantry and thought they would look nice. Spread them out on a sheet pan, brush the dough log with the egg white and roll until the whole log is coated with the sugar. Wrap the dough in waxed paper and pop it back in the fridge for at least another hour and a half.
Step 7: Cut the Cookies
When you are ready to bake pre heat your oven to 350 degrees. Get a piece of dental floss about 15 inches long to cut the cookies. Dental floss works best and gives you nice clean even cuts. Take the dough out of the refrigerator. To cut it into slices, wrap the floss around the log and pull it through. Try to make the slices about 1/4 inch thick or less.
Step 8: Bake and Enjoy!
Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes. They should be firm but not brown. Let them cool on the baking sheet for several minutes, then caefully transfer them to a wire rack.
No matter what colors you use these cookies look really pretty on a plate and they are sturdy enough to hold up well in a lunch box. You can bake the whole batch, or freeze some of the dough and bake it later so you always have fresh, warm cookies. Just make sure to wrap the dough well in both waxed paper and plastic before freezing and let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes before slicing frozen dough. If you make these, let me know how they turn out and snap a picture of your design!!