It’s a bit late, sorry, but I couldn’t find any time to post these before or on Valentine’s Day. The cookies were sent to my son’s class celebration party last Friday. But this post is not entirely about these cookies.
Over some time, I’ve been observing what little kids (I’m speaking about 5-7 year young here) usually bring to school for special occasions, what they prefer to eat and how they do it. Being germophobic and mess-intolerant, I found that individually wrapped basic sugar cookies is an effective and hygienic solution. Everyone gets their own little bag, unties it, and then handles the content with his (or her) clean (or not so) hands, without palpating the rest of the cookies. And there’s another benefit. Even if not all treats are eaten in the class, everybody usually grabs one “to go” and there’s nothing left. Why should it be considered as a benefit? Well, my son gets pretty upset if his cookies are not in demand (not that they are not good; they just can’t compete with heart-shaped store-bought lollipops).
I know I’m crazy, but I also know I’m not alone. And to add more to my profile – I used beet juice to color the dough. If anybody knows where I can find natural food colors, please, please, let me know.
Makes 4 dozens about 2 ½ -inch cookies.
- 2 2/3 cups all purpose flour + 2 tbsp, divided
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tsp fresh beet juice
In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 2/3 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Gradually beat it the sugar and continue mixing until light and well combined. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed just until the dough forms; you might finish mixing with your hands or a wooden spoon.
Pinch off a small amount of the dough (about ¼ of the whole amount, 200g) and transfer it into a small bowl. Add the beet juice and 2 tbsp of the flour and knead until the color is uniform (ware gloves ). At this point the dough will seem bright purplish; the color will fade in the oven, don’t worry.
Shape the of the dough into ½-inch-thick disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to 1 day. Let the dough soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.
Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll a half of the plain dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Cut out as many palms as you can fit, place onto the prepared baking sheet, cover with parchment or plastic, and refrigerate for 20 minutes. Continue with the rest of the plain dough, including the scraps. Then roll the pink dough to the same thickness and place the rolled dough, covered with plastic, in the refrigerator to firm up. It might seem like a lot of chilling, but it ensures a perfect fit. Once the palm cutouts are chilled and firmed up, remove them from the refrigerator and, using a small cookie cutter, cut out small hearts right in the middle of each palm. Remove the pink dough from the fridge and cut out small pink hearts. Fit the pink hearts into the heart-shaped hole of each palm. Refrigerate again for about 15 minutes before baking.
Bake, in batches, for about 12 minutes, until the edges start turning golden. Cool the cookies on the sheet on a cooling rack. The cookies can be kept up to a week in an air-tight container at room temperature.
July 9, 2009 at 3:43 am
Wow!! Thanks a million for that beetroot juice idea. My DD is a pink-maniac and she’d be absolutely thrilled to see pink colored cookies. :) I have been wondering about the beetroot juice idea myself but was too chicken to try it till now. Thanks for the assurance that it works brilliantly.
Read more about natural food colorings here. which colors work and which don’t.
February 27, 2009 at 12:39 am
Bharti, thank you very much!
February 26, 2009 at 8:33 pm
Those are adorable. What a lucky bunch of kids to get such a treat. Love your blog.
February 19, 2009 at 11:44 pm
Dana, thank you!
Astrid, thank you! Turmeric is too strong, you are right. Saffron is nice.
Morgana, thank you!
Kate, thank you very much! I’ve been on these parties and I so agree with you :)
Joie, thank you! I wish my son’s school had the same policy.
Lisa, thank you so much!
CookiePie, thanks a lot! And thank you very much for the link!
February 18, 2009 at 11:49 pm
What pretty cookies, and a great way to present them! (I think you can get natural food coloring here: http://www.seelecttea.com)
February 18, 2009 at 8:29 pm
These are so sweet, I love them. I also love the idea of using beetroot juice for coloring. I don’t remember ever receiving such a lovely cookie on Valentine’s Day as a kid!
February 18, 2009 at 1:38 pm
Those are adorable! Actually, in my son’s class, you can’t give anything out that isn’t in it’s own individual package. I’ve always bought, but I like your idea.
February 18, 2009 at 10:19 am
I think this was a brilliant solution to the grabby, germy hand, issue. Too many times I’ve forgone the plates of food at parties when I watch little ones grab something, take a bite, and put it back. ICK. The individual bag idea make each one a special present that the children can claim as their own.
I like the idea of beet juice as a colorant.
February 18, 2009 at 2:47 am
February 17, 2009 at 11:33 pm
So elegant! I hope the children appreciated the sophistication of these cookies. And beetroot juice, what a good idea, I hate food coloring. I’ve used curcuma (turmeric) to color macarons yellow, but I wasn’t too pleased with the flavor.
February 17, 2009 at 10:28 pm
I think those are lovely!
February 17, 2009 at 9:26 pm
Thank you all for your kind words! I appreciate your comments greatly!
And special thank you to Sandra, Jean, Lynn, and Lindsay for the links and such useful information on the natural colors! I’m so much obliged! Thank you!
February 17, 2009 at 9:06 pm
Ooohh…tell your son not to be upset the next time there are some leftovers. Just send them my way and I’ll gladly scoff them down! And yes, children are picky and strange eaters…i mean beet-coloured home-made cookies vs store-bought lollipops with too much artificial ingredients? But kids like what they like, and I agree with your solution to make everyone happy!
February 17, 2009 at 8:27 pm
How very lovely….Whole Foods has India Tree brand but when I emailed Melisser @ The Urban Housewife…she suggested the Seelect Brand which I found at my local natural foods store…on the expensive side though I believe $9.00 or so for 2 oz.
February 17, 2009 at 8:07 pm
Lovely cookies. I’m sure they were prized by every child that got one. I’ve seen natural food colors at Whole Foods, but haven’t tried them. The red has been sold out every time I’ve been. Beet juice sounds like a brilliant alternative.
February 17, 2009 at 3:01 pm
Love the cookies!!
February 17, 2009 at 2:16 pm
Those look so lovely, and I love that you’ve used beetroot juice to colour the hearts.
February 17, 2009 at 12:53 pm
Here’s a link to a company that sells organic food colors. I haven’t tried them yet so I don’t know how they work.
February 17, 2009 at 9:41 am
ack–those hands are great! what a wonderful idea, and as usual, your execution is flawless.
February 17, 2009 at 9:38 am
Very cute idea. I agree, this looks like a very clean way to give kiddos cookies :). They could even use the bag to hold the cookie while they eat it (that’s what I do when I need a snack but there isn’t soap and water around :).
February 17, 2009 at 9:37 am
Those are the cutest cookies ever…looks amazing…
February 17, 2009 at 7:53 am
I know the teachers appreciate the home made goodies. Your cookies are very pretty and original.
February 17, 2009 at 7:11 am
I love your philosophy: the more hygienic, the better! Your cookies look awesome! I’m sure they were a huge hit for Valentine’s Day with the kiddies.
February 17, 2009 at 6:58 am
They are so pretty and (but I’m getting used to it!) so perfect!! I love it when you’re crazy: it’s such an inspiration ;)
About natural food colorings, maybe you could try this site or maybe find here some ideas to make them yourself!
February 17, 2009 at 6:34 am
I love the hand with the heart. Most original cookies I’ve seen for Valentine’s by far :)
February 17, 2009 at 5:33 am
They are fantastic ! And if somehow you find the natural colours please tell me too !!
February 17, 2009 at 5:01 am
They look really pretty!
February 17, 2009 at 4:39 am
Very pretty, I’m sure the kids loved these!
February 17, 2009 at 1:59 am
WOW!!! So beautiful cookies, Vera!!
February 17, 2009 at 1:17 am
They look sooo pretty. I am also baking for my daughters class once a week and they love it. My daughter was telling me that the other kids used to bring candies and store bought stuff but they are so pleased with what we are bringing they they started to ask for recipes for their moms.