Rainbow Party – Baking Rainbow Cookies

If you’ve tagged along here since the early days you know I can’t bake to save my life. That doesn’t stop me from trying.

I think subconsciously I keep thinking maybe if I keep trying, I’ll get better because I find it mortifying that I can’t master the simplest recipes.

Now I knew I had to bake the Rainbow Cake for the birthday party – that was a given. But when I saw the Rainbow Slice Cookies at Good Life Eats, I HAD to do these.

Come hell or high water I was going to succeed.

Well it was more hell first based on a complete idiot error on my part that could have saved me a lot of time.

But here’s how it went in photos.

I started with a simple sugar cookie recipe (that serves at least 48 – do a recipe calculation for more if you can) and added gel food colouring.

Divided equal amounts of dough into 6 separate bowls.



Knead with hands.

Regret doing upper body day at the gym that morning.

Dough meet Ziplock sandwich bag.

Put it in the fridge.

Took the dough out of the fridge and cut the Ziplock bags open.

This is where it all went to hell.

I don’t know what on earth didn’t calculate from my brain to my hands operating the rolling pin, but I was supposed to roll each square of dough into a roughly 6 x 9 inch rectangle.

This is obviously NOT a 6 x 9 inch rectangle.

9 x 12. Maybe. If I’m lucky.

By this point the layers were thin, flattened and stuck to each other, so I couldn’t peel them back without mixing the colours (believe me I so would tried).

For the record, a standard Ziplock sandwich bag is 6.5″ x 6″.

I knew I had royally messed up. It was way too thin.

I thought ok let’s try and salvage this. Maybe I can make rainbow stick cookies.

Into the freezer they went to harden the dough.

I later cut them into slices and attempted to bake.

Batch #1.

Burnt to a crisp in just 8 minutes of baking at 350 degrees.

Batch # 2.

6 minutes in 350 degrees. Better but the colours bled into each other. Not the effect it was supposed to have.

Did I mention they tasted like crap because the recipe I followed (not the original one) was obviously a bad sugar cookie recipe?

Let me tell you, this photo does them way too much justice.

I was so determined at this point to make these cookies.

So I re-did them.

Yes the whole process. Which by the end of it, I was a master dough kneader. And my arms were killing me. KILLING.

This time after all was said and done, all I did was cut the dough out of the Ziplock sandwich bags and lay them on top of each other as is.

And I used a different sugar cookie recipe.

I also froze the dough and cut and sliced the dough when it was practically still rock solid.

This made a huge HUGE difference in the colours not bleeding into each other.

Did I mention it was very late at night by this point?

Here is the 2nd cookie attempt ready to go into the oven.


This is what they’re supposed to look like.

6 minutes at 350 degrees. My oven is obviously wacko so your temp may vary.

Repeat with entire batch. Wind up with a bazillion rainbow slice cookies.

Moral of the story is, you too can bake if you set your mind to it. And not sleep.

And for the love of all that is good and your sanity, don’t roll out your Ziplock dough!!

The End.


  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I love these! And I may actually be brave enough to try them with all your extra warnings and tips! Thank you! 🙂

    • Reply
      Alex @ northofseven
      August 29, 2012 at 10:30 am

      The hardest part I swear was kneading in the food colouring. It’s a great arm work out mind you.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 9:45 am

    wow, such a difference from the first batch! kudos to you for stickin’ with it. they turned out great! but, seriously, 5 kids max next year 😉

    • Reply
      Alex @ northofseven
      August 29, 2012 at 10:30 am

      You read my mind. That’s exactly what I told my daughter after the party was over.

  • Reply
    Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
    August 29, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I take it back… mom of the century. Aren’t you glad it’s over?
    The end product really does look fantastic.

    • Reply
      Alex @ northofseven
      August 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm

      Oh my God. You don’t need cardio. You just need to bake these cookies. They’re the equivalent of 2 upper body arm days at the gym or a yoga class. How do professional bakers do this? Oh wait they probably are smart enough to use a mixer.

  • Reply
    August 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Try try again! Rainbows don’t happen without a little “thunder and lightning”! (ha ha)
    They turned out almost too pretty to eat. Oh come on… you know I’d eat that whole sheet!!! The kids would be fighting me for them. I’d be a horrible party-planning mom. (I’d eat everything).
    “S W E E T”, Alex.

    • Reply
      Alex @ northofseven
      August 29, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      Thunder and Lighting. Thank you, I just sneezed Sprite out of nose laughing!

  • Reply
    Growing Up in the Garden
    August 29, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    Those are truly beautiful cookies. That is two do-overs! Are you keeping all these rainbow delights a secret from your daughter until party time?

    • Reply
      Alex @ northofseven
      August 30, 2012 at 8:24 am

      I did! She was away at my parents for a week so she got the full surprise decorations and all. I’ll show that in the party finale post once all these craft/DIY posts are done. It was like Christmas morning!

  • Reply
    August 30, 2012 at 3:13 am

    Alex… you are my hero! Those cookies are amazing. You are totally rocking this birthday and I love hearing all the crazy behind the scenes hiccups because my stuff NEVER turns out as effortlessly as everyone makes it out to.

    • Reply
      Alex @ northofseven
      August 30, 2012 at 8:27 am

      Every time I read a recipe or a DIY craft that starts off with “These are so easy to make…” I know I am in for hell. They are never as easy as everyone thinks. I try to write out all the mistakes and steps because I am the type of person that really needs to see everything to really understand how they’re made. Especially with baking because what one pro baker may think is an obvious step, a novice baker will go “Why didn’t you tell me I had to do that too?!”

  • Reply
    August 3, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    Which sugar cookie recipe did you use second time around? 🙂

    • Reply
      August 3, 2014 at 9:10 pm

      You’re going to hate my answer. I can’t remember. I know it was off of allrecipes .com but I couldn’t tell you which one as I rarely bake sugar cookies. My best advice is to look for one especially made for cookie cutter shapes. Thank God for food bloggers who can help you better than I can right now.

  • Reply
    August 4, 2014 at 4:39 am

    Thanks for letting me know – it’s fair enough not to remember, just figured I’d ask before embarking on this crazy adventure to 4yo rainbowdom! 🙂

  • Reply
    October 17, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    1. Those cookies are absolutely beautiful. 🙂

    2. I wouldn’t have stressed about the colours running together, because that’s what real rainbows look like–the colours aren’t clearly delineated; they blur into each other a little.

    3. Actually, I wouldn’t have attempted this at all–I probably would have just thrown some rainbow sprinkles, or pieces of rainbow fruit rolls, on regular cookies, and called it good. So, you’re much more ambitious than I am.

  • Reply
    December 14, 2015 at 3:12 am

    What awesome looking cookies!! I’m definitely going to try these for my son’s birthday party. How long do you leave them in the fridge when they’re in the ziplock bags?

    • Reply
      December 15, 2015 at 11:45 am

      Hello! I honestly can’t remember how long I left the cookies in as this was 3 years ago. It was at least an hour that’s for sure. Just make sure they are fairly solid if anything. Hope that helps some!

I love your comments!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.