While cooking, listen to this: Birthday - Katy Perry
When I was a kid, I loved anything and everything rainbow. I lived for Superman ice cream, rainbow Popsicles in the summer, friendship bracelets and Lisa Frank school supplies. Though I've grown out of my love for Superman ice cream (my brothers have not), a little bit of color goes a long way to brighten up even the grayest of adult days. In continuing with the Shabbat cookie trifecta we started a few weeks ago, Rina and I decided to whip up the the most popular cookie at the post bar-mitzvah kiddish luncheon - the rainbow chocolate drop cookie.
Where this paerve cookie lacked it taste, it made up for in pure beauty. Whenever my mom would buy a box of assorted cookies, I would dig out these bad boys, past the cookies with the cherry jelly center (ew!). The rainbow dough was just picture-perfect (this was pre-Instagram, of course), and the shiny chocolate center incredibly enticing.
If I'm being honest, though, these cookies were subpar. Underneath their colorful, shiny chocolate surfaces were dry, dull and flavorless cookies. Not the kind of dessert that was worth it.
Where kichel is the ugly stepsister of the Shabbat cookie world, these rainbow cookies were like Cinderella after her chariot turned back into a pumpkin. We needed to work our fairy godmother magic. And you better believe we did! Not only are these cookies eye-rollingly delicious, but they're also extremely versatile. We've experimented with red-white-and-blue for July 4 (the white chocolate was more yellow than we'd hoped for, but the cookies were still damn delicious) and unicorn colored (baby blue and pink). No matter what colors you choose, you won't be sorry because it's what's inside that counts.
Hey, look at that! Cookies are the perfect metaphor for life.
Yeah, that was cheesy. Back to the important stuff. These cookies are incredibly easy and so fun to make, because here at Gateau | Gato, we're all about the fun without any of the complication. Beautiful and tasty cookies for you to enjoy fresh out of the oven in under 30 minutes. This is the recipe that you'll be turning to time and time again.
It may be the inside that counts, but, hey, I wouldn't fault you for #doingitfortheinsta. If you do make them, please tag us #gateaugato! We'd love to see your creations. Once you've found the perfect Instagram filter, though, don't forget to dig in. You won't regret it.
RAINBOW KIDDISH COOKIES
Yield: 14-16 cookies
Cook Time: 20-25m
Category: Sweet, Celebrate
Source: adapted from Brown Eyed Baker and inspired by an infinite number of Shabbat morning kiddish cookie trays
1 stick (8 tablespoons/¼ cup) butter, at room temperature
½ cup confectioner's sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract/½ teaspoon vanilla powder
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
Milk of choice (optional, see below)
2 tablespoons butter
2 ounces/¼ cup semisweet chocolate, finely chopped or in chip form
¾ teaspoons corn syrup
Preheat the oven: 350 F, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Prepare the cookie dough: in a stand mixer or with an electric mixer, beat the 1 stick of butter, sugar, salt and vanilla on medium-high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the flour in a little bit at a time with the mixer on low. Once all of the flour is added, increase the speed to medium high and beat until all of the flour is fully incorporated. Next, add the nonpareils, as little or as many as you'd like. Mix for just a few seconds, until the sprinkles are ribboned throughout the dough. Turn off the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure there aren't any sneaky dry bits. If your dough looks especially dry, which mine did, add a little bit of milk/soy milk/almond milk/whatever milk and combine. A little goes a LONG way.
Color the dough: turn the dough onto a work surface, and form it into a circle. Learn from me and put parchment paper down first - we had a lot of scrubbing to do after we made these cookies. Using a knife or your hand in a karate-chop shape, quarter the dough. To dye each dough part, start by adding a little bit of food dye and working it into the dough - you can always add more, but once the dye is in there it isn't coming out. We used the colors we remember the original cookies being, but the beautiful thing about creative license is you can do whatever you damn well please. We used pink (just a smaller amount of the red dye), blue, yellow and green. Make sure that the color is uniform throughout the dough, and that there aren't any streaks or white spots.
Combine the dough: there are a few ways you could do this, but my preferred method is to just kind of squish the four colors into one dough ball, and then knead it maybe two or three times. DO NOT OVERMIX. Your dough will go from beautiful rainbow unicorn swirls to muddy and sad real fast. The colors will also get more incorporated as you form your cookies. Better to undermix the colors here. Trust me, I had to make this dough twice because I got too mix-happy.
Form the cookies: form the dough into small balls using a tiny dough/ice cream scoop, a big spoon or, our favorite, the "pinch with your hands and roll" method. For each dough ball, place it on the cookie sheet, and press down with your thumb in the middle so that a little hollow has been created. These cookies don't really spread out while they bake, so you can place them closer to each other than you would with other cookies. You can look at the pictures above to see what we did.
Bake the cookies: depending on how much (if any) milk you used, the bake time will vary. With no milk at all, the cookies should be taken out after 7-9 minutes. If you did add milk, like us, take them out after 11-15 minutes. Golden rule of cookies: cookies continue to bake after they've been taken out of the oven due to their internal temperature. So, your cookies should be taken out when they look almost done, but not totally done. This means that when the cookies cool, they won't be dry or too crumbly. We also want to maintain the colors in the dough, and going golden brown would ruin that effect. Allow to cool completely - for the first 5 minutes, on the baking sheet, and then they can be placed onto a wire rack.
Prepare the chocolate: in a double boiler (a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water) or in the microwave in 15-second increments, combine the 2 tablespoons of butter, chocolate and corn syrup. Stir constantly and melt until smooth and shiny.*
Assemble the cookies: once the chocolate mixture has cooled for a couple of minutes, spoon it into the hollows in the cookies, creating nice fat dollops.
To serve: shove them in your face. It's the only way.
To keep: you can keep these in a tightly sealed container or Ziploc bag for 1-2 weeks.
*I have no idea how this happened, but my chocolate seized. Maybe it was the moisture in the corn syrup, or maybe the spoon I used to stir wasn't fully dry from the dish rack, but it really seized up. If this happens to you, it's okay! Counter-intuitively, when chocolate seizes up (when even a tiny drop of liquid gets into chocolate while it's melting it goes all solid and wonky), you actually just need to add more liquid! Add hot water a tablespoon at a time to your chocolate mess and stir like a crazy person. Your chocolate will go back to normal in no time.