Rainbow Cookies — 25 Days of Christmas Cookies

One of the young people working at the tearoom brought this recipe in years ago for us to try.  She wasn’t sure how to begin but since she found the recipe in a kid’s cookbook it should have been easy right?  Not so much.

The biggest problem is making the colored dough and keeping the colors distinct, not muddied when swirling the dough.  Dying the dough can be messy but, much easier if you have lightweight kitchen prep gloves and carefully kneed the color into the dough with your hands.  The prep gloves keep your hands from turning all kinds of pretty colors.

These cookies brighten a cookie assortment with colors coordinated to the event.  We often used them in shades of blue or pink for baby showers or the colors of the wedding for wedding showers.  At Christmas we always made them in red, green and white.  We sometimes rolled the logs in colored sugar for even more color. Best of all, the recipe can be doubled or even tripled if your mixer bowl is large enough. Then once dyed and formed into logs, the dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 10 days or frozen for up to 3 months to slice and bake when needed.

Rainbow Cookies

Makes: 4 dozen cookies

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Liquid food coloring


  1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla and beat till smooth and creamy about 2 – 3 minutes.
  2. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour slowly mixing until the dough is smooth.
  3. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and place each piece in a small bowl.
  4. Add about 6 to 8 drops of different food coloring to each piece of dough. You can add more food coloring if you want a darker color. Use a fork to mix the coloring into the dough until it is evenly blended.*
  5. Divide each piece of colored dough in half and roll into a log, leaving you with 2 of each color. Press the different colored logs together and gently twist then roll into a log. I like to double the twisted roll then twist again before rolling into a log. Wrap the log in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight. *
  6. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Slice cookies about 1/4 inch thick and place the slices on a parchment lined cookie sheet, about 1-inch apart.20171212_190805.jpg
  7. Bake at 350F for about 8 – 10 minutes or until the cookies are very lightly brown around edges.
  8. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes then, use a spatula to transfer to a cooling rack.
  9. Let the cookies cool completely.
  10. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
  11. Enjoy!



  • We found it faster and more efficient to knead the coloring into dough using plastic kitchen gloves to keep the food coloring from staining our hands.
  • Twisting the colored logs into a larger log gives an irregular swirl of colors to the cookies.  With practice you can achieve a tie-dyed look. Be careful not to mix the colors too much.  Over-mixing will result in a muddied color.
  • This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled or quadrupled when making a larger batch.

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