cookies are a great symbolic dessert
that incorporates summer solstice
colors and symbolism to create a cookie palette
that is also pleasing to the eye. You can mix and match
or make only one kind if you choose, but having all three makes a complete picture. Lemon
are used--both summer fruits--and peppermint
extract flavors one variety of the cookies, adding that passionate
extra burst of tingle.
First, you make a base dough, which is known as "petticoat tails dough."
Mix the butter, sugar, and flavoring. Add the salt to the quantity of flour and work the dry ingredients into the butter mix with your hands. (It will be a little stiff, too stiff to stir.) Knead it in and separate the finished dough into three equal portions.
Now that the dough is in three portions, it's time to make each of them specialized. There will be green lemon-flavored cookies, yellow orange-flavored cookies, and pink peppermint-flavored cookies.
Pick one of the balls of dough and work into it the lemon rind and green food coloring. (You'll be doing this with your hands, so whenever you work with food coloring, keep in mind you'll either want to wear a glove or resign yourself to spending the next day or so looking like you might be a painter.) Once the dough looks uniform, roll it out into a long tube, stopping when it's about two inches across. MAKE SURE IT IS PACKED SOLIDLY. Wrap it in wax paper and place it on a baking sheet that is small enough to fit in the refrigerator.
Prepare the next round of dough: This will be orange rind and yellow food coloring. Do the same as the previous set of directions. Finally, for the last one, work in the extract and the red food coloring. Chill all the doughs in their wax paper tubes overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 375º F and unwrap the dough tubes and roll them a little so they soften a bit and become round again. Next, take the green dough and spread the nonpareils on the wax paper to roll it in so it collects a nice coat all over the outside. Hint: It helps with handling a little if you cut the tube into maybe three pieces and roll each individually. After it's coated, slice 1/8-inch slices with a sharp knife. It helps to keep rolling the tube as you're cutting so the cookies don't become non-round. Sometimes with the green dough (and also the yellow), it might help with handling and making smooth cuts if you flick just a little water onto it (a half teaspoon or so).
The yellow dough should get rolled in finely chopped almonds and subjected to the same treatment, and the pink should get rolled in the colored sugar. The cookies should be baked for 7 to 9 minutes. They have a tendency to burn suddenly, so make sure you check them once a minute if you see they aren't done after 9 minutes.
Yield: 10 dozen
Source: Paraphrased from Betty Crocker's Cooky Book
Use for: Beltane, Litha