Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Second Clue: Magical Treats

These magical treats were really just an excuse to bake rainbow-colored cookies for the party. And to make Jenna happy because we didn't get to make any cookies for her swimming birthday party (we weren't allowed to bring outside food into the water park).

The cookies were regular sugar cookies (our recipe is below)

that we cut into 1.5" rounds and frosted in rainbow colors, with pink instead of red. The concentric-circle rainbow cookies were what we saved for personal consumption.

When the frosting was dry, we packed a rainbow into each cookie bag,

printed out labels, whose empty circles the girls were very excited to color,

slipped in some instructions,

and twist-tied everything shut.

Then we packed them in a random produce crate

turned inside out to allow a white exterior for drawing on (me) and coloring (kids).

We also poked holes and tied ribbons to allow it to be hung around the neck like the trays of crackerjack vendors at sports events. And my lovely mother-in-law dressed up as the Lady In White and carried the box and crept stealthily around the yard for the kids to find.

Here are the recipes (or slight variations thereof) we've been using for years. 

Recipe for cookies:
These cookies are light like traditional sugar cookies with a little bit (a very little!) of the consistency of shortbread. So they don't spread very much but they're not dense, either. 

  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (I used salted butter)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 0.5 tsp baking soda
  • 0.75 tsp cream of tartar

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugar.
  3. Add egg and vanilla, continue creaming.
  4. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl and mix in.
  5. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  6. Roll out between sheets of parchment/greaseproof paper to 0.25" thickness.
  7. Cut out shapes (ours were circles), place 2" apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper (do not grease) and bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are slightly brown.
  8. Cool on wire racks.

(Makes about 90 1.5" cookies)

Recipe for frosting:
This frosting is delicious (unlike royal icing which tastes like plastic) and will harden in several hours to overnight, depending on the humidity in the air. The pinch of salt brings out the flavor of the frosting; without it, the frosting simply tastes sweet in a flat, powdered-sugar sort of way. Not so nice.

To make our 7 different colors, we doubled the recipe below and divided the resulting amount among 7 piping bags, tinted them with gel food coloring and piped circles of color on the cooled cookies. There was enough frosting to make twice as many cookies as the 90 we had, but we needed the double-batch amount to have enough per piping bag to comfortably squeeze out. The consistency we used that day was relatively thick - it dried more quickly but the piped swirls kept their shape on the surface. If you had more time to spare (we didn't), you could pipe an outline in this thicker consistency and then thin the remaining frosting with milk to flood inside the outline- this should give a smoother surface when it eventually dries.


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 Tbsp softened butter (I used salted)
  • 3 Tbsp whipping cream or 2 Tbsp full-fat milk
  • 0.5 - 1 tsp vanilla extract (or almond essence, depending on which flavor you prefer)
  • Pinch of salt (or more) to taste
  • Milk to add to desired consistency

Mix powdered sugar, butter, cream, salt and vanilla extract in bowl. If frosting is too thick, add milk 1/4 tsp at a time, until desired consistency.


  1. Are you going to tell us how you made the dolls?

  2. Oh, and what were the instructions on the back of the label?

  3. I actually like the way the icing came out. It gives them dimension, where you can see the swirl.

  4. We used your recipes to play with some new cookie cutters that my mom bought. Delicious. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Is the lady in white wearing a choir robe? tee hee.


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