If you’d told me a couple of years back that I would be baking up a tray of pink cookies and there would be sprinkles in my pantry, I would have laughed at you. But now here I am, in my kitchen, mixing up a batch of shocking-pink cookie dough, sweet and tart all at the same time. And at my elbow is a jar of, you guessed it, sprinkles!
They say you eat with your eyes first, and that’s probably even truer about children. I might put the tastiest cake in front of Jay, but if it isn’t colorful, or bright, or pretty, chances are, he is just not going to enjoy it as much.
So, I have given in. Because there’s nothing worse than putting a food in front of a child and seeing his sweet little face crumple in disappointment. There were more than a few butterflies flapping away in my tummy when I put these colorful cookies in front of Jay. But then his eyes widened. Yummy, mom! he declared, and I knew I had a winner on my hands: my Pink Lemonade Cookie Bars.
These cookies are perfectly straightforward to make, and they really do taste like lemonade. The dough is rather like a sugar-cookie dough, with lots of lemon added for tartness, and some coloring to create that pretty pink look. But there’s no need to cut out individual cookies. All you do is press the dough into a baking pan, the way you would a shortbread, bake it up, and then separate it out into bars.
The dough itself is so tasty, you will have a hard time keeping yourself from nibbling on little bits of it as you work with it. But that’s not really something bad, it it?
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp corn flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vegan "butter" like Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
- 1/2 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- Red or pink food coloring optional
- 3 tbsp non-dairy milk like almond or soy
- Sprinkles for topping
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl.
- In another bowl using electric beaters, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the sugar, butter and shortening until it is all light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to ensure everything is mixed together.
- Add enough food coloring to get a bright pink color, vanilla extract, lemon juice and the non-dairy milk. Whisk again till mixed.
- Add the flour, mix with a spatula first, and then with the electric beaters until the dough starts to pull away from the sides.
- Lightly spray an 8 by 8 inch baking pan with oil.
- Turn out the cookie dough into the pan and press down with your fingers to make a very even, smooth layer.
- Press sprinkles into the dough, as many as desired.
- Using a sharp knife, lightly score the dough in the shape and size of bars you'd like.
- Bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for 35 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let the pan cool on a rack. After it has cooled, cut all the way through the scores you made earlier to cut into bars.
For more cookie recipes from seasons past, check out my vegan cookies collection.