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Painted Sugar Cookies

Painted Sugar Cookies - Parents Canada

Painted cookies 5 - painted sugar cookies

When we were kids, my artistic mom (who graduated from ACAD when I was in high school) would mix up a batch of sugar cookie dough and let my sisters and I paint them at the dining room table. It was brilliant, really – not only did we have more control with a paintbrush than with an icing bag, the egg yolk-based paint baked on smooth and shiny – not sticky – and permanent, so none of our artwork would get ruined.

Painted cookies 2 - painted sugar cookies

Painted sugar cookies are perfect for packaging to give and for hanging on the tree – we always bake at least a batch during the holiday season, and my son likes to have friends over to gather around the kitchen table and paint. I’m far more inclined to oblige when it means I don’t need to stock up on decorating candies they’ll eat most of, or scrape icing off every kitchen surface when they’re done.

Painted cookies 6 - painted sugar cookies

This recipe is easily doubled if you need more cookies – the dough freezes well, or can be shaped into logs, wrapped in parchment, then sliced and baked.

Cookie Dough:

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Cookie Paint:

1 egg yolk
a few drops red food colouring

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and light; add the egg and vanilla and beat for a minute, until smooth and well blended.

In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the sugar mixture and stir by hand or beat on low speed just until you have a soft dough. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for half an hour.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out about 1/8-inch thick. Cut cookies into card shapes – or, flowers, hearts, spades, or a combination of shapes – and place an inch apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

In a small dish, add a few drops of food colouring to the egg yolk and mix with a fork until well-blended. Use a paintbrush to paint the unbaked cookies with the red “paint”.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the cookies are pale golden around the edges and the paint is dry and glossy. Using a thin spatula, transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 2-3 dozen cookies.

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