I recently mastered making a pumpkin roll for the first time and was feeling the good baking juju, so I braved a type of recipe I have always wanted to try: swirled sugar cookies.
They are this magnificent colorful “beginning-of-the-Yellow-Brick-Road” gorgeousness and they just look like pure magic.
I mentioned in my Valentine’s Day recipe post earlier in the year that as a child, I made sugar cookies with my mom for every single holiday. I loved doing that so much, but with my kids, I tend to mix it up a bit and we don’t always make sugar cookies for our holiday treat. I figured it would be so much fun to pay homage to holiday cut-out sugar cookies by making these fun holiday sugar cookies – with a twist…or SWIRL! [Side note: every single time I see the word swirl, I start singing Suzanne’s song to Piper from OITNB – tell me I’m not alone]
They were easy to make if you leave out the complications I had with the sugar cookie recipe I tried. For some reason, it had some bipolar tendencies. It was incredibly soft to the point of ripping and tearing when we tried to roll it out, but chilling for the recommended time made the rolled out sheets like solid rock. So I recommend using your favorite sugar cookie dough recipe and playing it by ear. If it’s too soft, chill it for a little bit. If it’s too hard, let it sit at room temperature for a bit.
My eight year old daughter, Cami, jumped right on in to help. She also helped me make s’mores cupcakes for the Girl Scouts meeting right before we started the cookies. She has such a look of concentration, doesn’t she?!
The cookies seem like they would be super labor intensive, but they are quite the opposite. They are seriously so easy!
You start out with a batch of sugar cookie dough and dye half of it orange. Then roll out each half separately into a 11×9-inch rectangle and then roll up. The ugly ends can be sliced off OR you can put the ugly side down when you bake them. I opted for that and Cami agreed because we didn’t want to lose two whole cookies! At this point, you may have to chill your dough before rolling in holiday sprinkles.
Then you chill for a couple hours until the dough can be easily cut without smushing the swirl. You slice up the log of cookie dough and bake on cookie sheets for about 15 minutes at 350F degrees and then they are done! I thought they looked so gorgeous prior to making it into the oven, but when I pulled them out of the oven…OH.MY.GOSH. They are so stunning, but making them was so easy. The full recipe can be found at the bottom of this post. I highly suggest making these and having your kiddos help out. It was so fun to see how pretty they were at the end AND they are super delicious too!
Speaking of Halloween, my fellow contributors have some wonderful articles on the topic that I just had to share. Francesca recently wrote about The Teal Pumpkin Project, Marisa shared some amazing Frightfully Fun Classroom Treats recipes, Natalie spilled all the details on the 20th Annual Freaky Friday Night happening on October 28th, and Lisa posted themes for Party Planning from October to December.
What you need:
- 1 batch sugar cookie dough
- Orange food coloring (or red and yellow) – gel is better than liquid, IMO
- Holiday sprinkles
- Parchment paper or silicone baking mats
- Plastic cling wrap
- Make sugar cookie dough and separate in half. Dye one half orange and keep the other one as is.
- Roll out each half of cookie dough into an 11×9-inch rectangle. I did mine on a fondant mat dusted with flour. If your dough is super sticky, roll them between two sheets of parchment paper.
- Brush a little water on the non-dyed sugar cookie rectangle with a pastry brush. Carefully lay the dyed sugar cookie rectangle over the top.
- Roll up the cookie dough hot dog style – you know the long edge! Take your time and keep it as tightly rolled as possible.
- At this point, you may have to chill the dough for a few minutes to keep its shape. When it’s cold but still flexible, brush with water (be careful not to get the water on your sprinkles). Lay out sprinkles and roll your cookie dough log in them to completely coat it. You may have to pick up and gently press some sprinkles in to fill up holes.
- Once completely coated in sprinkles, wrap in two layers of cling wrap and chill for three to four hours. The log is way easier to slice without smushing the swirl if it’s chilled for a while.
- Slice log into 1/2 inch slices and place eight to 10 slices on a parchment paper or silicone mat lined baking sheet. I used my ends but put the ugly side down LOL.
- Cook in a preheated 350F degree oven for 15-18 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.