Fourth of July is a big deal in my small town and I know I will hear fireworks every night over the long holiday weekend. Late June – early July weather can be iffy around here and it’s no surprise when it rains on the 4th. The old joke is that summer officially begins on July 5th when the weather starts drying out and getting warmer. Not the case this year…this is our third day of close to 100 degrees and the rest of the weeks looks like more of the same. That means lots of cookouts, picnics and long weekends at the beach.
I love ice-box cookies and when I saw this recipe at JUST A TASTE I knew it would be perfect for our holiday get togethers…the main reason being that ice-box cookies are my favorite and secondly that they will hold up well outside in the heat. Anything with frosting will be a gooey mess in no time.
Could there be any more perfect dessert for the 4th of July? I have made pinwheel cookies before but it never occurred to me to use our beloved red, white and blue in such a fun and whimsical way. Like all ice-box cookies, the dough is made ahead of time, rolled into logs and chilled in the refrigerator until ready to bake. The cookies can go straight from the fridge, after they are cut into 1/4-inch slices, into the oven and be ready to serve in just minutes. Wouldn’t they make fun little ice cream sandwich? I will have to try that next time.
HERE’S A LITTLE KITCHEN TIP ~ I couldn’t get along without my kitchen scale. It allows so much more accuracy when I need equal portions of anything. This prepared cookie dough weighs 980 grams so I know that each portion needs to weight 327 grams to come out equal. I always use my scale when I’m making layer cakes, loaves of bread that I want the same size, and a predictable number of dinner rolls from my favorite recipe. If you don’t have a scale I urge you to run right out and buy one. You will love it!
This recipe is a little different than the refrigerator cookie recipes I always use and I thought it was a little difficult to handle. I added an extra 1/2 cup flour to the dough (indicated in the recipe) and next time I will increase it to 3/4 cup. The flavor of the dough is excellent. I used a lot of food coloring to get the dark colors so be careful where you roll out the dough. The little bits of dough can stain fabrics and porous surfaces…like a butcher block.
HAPPY 4TH OF JULY, EVERYONE.
I HOPE YOU HAVE A FUN AND VERY SAFE HOLIDAY WEEKEND.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (I recommend 3-1/2 ups flour)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1⅓ cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Red food coloring
- Blue food coloring
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition, then add the vanilla.
- Turn the mixer off. Add the flour and then beat just until combined. Remove the dough and separate it into three equal pieces. Shape one piece of the dough into a 4- by 4-inch square, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. (This will be the white portion of the cookies.)
- Return one of the remaining pieces of dough to the stand mixer bowl, and with the mixer on "low," add in the red food coloring until it reaches your desired color. Remove the red dough, shape it into a 4- by 4-inch square, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. (This will be the red portion of the cookies). Clean out the bowl to remove any red food coloring residue.
- Add the final piece of dough to the stand mixer bowl, and with the mixer on "low," add in the blue food coloring until it reaches your desired color. Remove the blue dough, shape it into a 4- by 4-inch square, wrap it securely in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. (This will be the blue portion of the cookies.)
- Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and cut each square in half to form two rectangles. Wrap half of each color of dough in plastic wrap and return it to the fridge. Place the red dough in between two pieces of wax paper and roll it into a rectangle about ⅛-inch thick. Roll out the white dough between two separate pieces of wax paper until it is a rectangle about ⅛-inch thick. Roll out the blue dough between two separate pieces of wax paper until it is a rectangle about ⅛-inch thick.
- Peel the top layer of wax paper off of the red dough and then peel the wax paper off one side of the white dough and use the other side to transfer the white dough on top of the red dough. Peel off the wax paper from one side of the blue dough and use the other side to transfer it atop the white dough. Very lightly roll the three layers together.
- Starting at the shorter end of the rectangle, roll the dough as tightly as possible into a log. Repeat the rolling and stacking process with the remaining dough in the fridge. Wrap the logs in wax paper and then plastic wrap and refrigerate them for 1 hour. Remove the dough logs and roll them on the counter several times so they don't develop a flat side.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the dough from the fridge and slice each log into ¼-inch rounds. Place the rounds about 2 inches apart on the baking sheets, as the cookies will expand when baked.
- Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes until pale golden, and then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.
This post is linked to FOODIE FRIDAY at Rattlebridge Farm.
There’s a big party going on over there for the holiday and I hope you will stop by.