Groovy, baby!

We tried…

Tie-dye is back!

Or at least, that’s what bon appétit tells us.

And, as someone who forced my family and friends to wear hand-made tie-dyed shirts and recreate the promotional picture for “That 70’s Show” for my recent birthday, I am IN!

New twist on an old trend


Wanting to try some new recipes, I flipped through this month’s bon appétit magazine and found it: Tie-dye butter cookies. I know a professional photographer took the photo of these colorful confections, but reading the recipe, I thought it was doable.

And Rick Martinez made it look so simple on YouTube!

It also turned out, my office was having a Christmas cookie contest, so I set out to make these funky cookies for fun. (Let’s be honest, I’m not nearly confident enough yet to enter a friggin’ contest.)

Not-so cookie-cutter

Rick’s recipe calls for “assorted two-inch cookie cutters.” Simple enough, right? I had to also buy powdered food coloring, so a trip to the grocery store was in demand.

I actually ran into a co-worker who was also making cookies (for the contest) and he’d already employed several grocery workers to help search for this necessary tool. One said confidently to me, “I know we sell them.”

Fun fact: they didn’t.

Deadline looming, I improvised.

At store number two, I found an assortment of 1 1/2-inch cookie cutters. Knowing time was running out, I grabbed the smaller cutters and took off.

The recipe also calls for a stand mixer. But since Santa hasn’t stopped by my apartment yet, I had to make my handy-dandy hand mixer work its magic. (Rick says that’s okay.)

Tiny treats

Once I was back safely in my kitchen, I threw on some 70’s music (to get inspired, of course), started dancing and mixing.

Stages of sticky dough.

The dough I made looked more like crumbs than a firm blend. After spending five minutes packing and re-packing it to make a solid ball, there were definite cracks in it.

It was not as easy to roll as Rick made it seem. When I make pie crusts, the dough is a little moist and squishy. Frankly, it’s just easy to roll. This concoction was rough, fractured and dry.

Very carefully, I rolled it out. It looked like a sloppy star. But, I wasn’t trying to make a pretty disc, so I didn’t fret about it for long. After 40 years on this earth, I was going to finally get to use a cookie cutter!

Using neutral shapes, I cut about 60 cookies from this dough.

Masterful mess

While the little crisps were cooking, it was time to get down to the serious business of making the tie-dye glaze.

Baking wouldn’t be the same without a mess.

If you’ve been following my adventures in baking, you know – there is no way I can make something without making a mess on myself and in my kitchen. This was no exception.

When I opened the powdered sugar container, I suddenly found white powder all over my counter and in that awful gap between my refrigerator and counter. (It’s been four days, and I’m still trying to clean that mess.)

Primary colors seemed like a good place to start.

After evenly dividing what was left of the powdered sugar into three bowls, I added the milk, powdered food coloring and salt. It took about 15 minutes of whisking to get all three colors calm; without powdered lumps.

Time to tie-dye

Dropping the red glaze on a designated plate, followed by the blue and finally the yellow, I was a little concerned. The first iteration of this just looked like blobs on a plate. Trusting Rick, I used a wooden skewer to draw lines in the mixture to shake things up a bit.

Helpful hint: like with tie-dying T-shirts – you should wear gloves for this.

Taking a small crisp that had cooled (they only take about ten minutes in the oven at this size), I dipped it into the gooey glaze. Realizing that there was a lot of space in the goo, I submerged three other cookies in the same blend.

Lifting the cookie out of the compound I was full of surprise. This little delicacy looked soooooo cool. (There aren’t enough “o’s” for that sentence to truly convey my excitement about this outcome.)

Small bites = super satisfaction

Since I got the smaller cookie cutters, I was able to make a huge variety of colored cookies. I won’t lie – it took a LONG time. Luckily, I was jamming to the 70’s playlist Spotify created for me, so it wasn’t an exhaustive experience.

Honestly, I said, “Wow,” every single time I pulled one of these small treats from the glossy glaze. Unfortunately, I had to let these gorgeous goodies sit for two hours before I could taste them. As it was past midnight when I finished, I went to bed with dreams of swirling sweets in my head.

Dried (not-so) goods?

The slick shine had turned to a dull dollop.

When I awoke the next morning, I wasn’t happy with the site that greeted me. The glossy glaze from the night before, was replaced by a dull dollop of color. I was very thankful I didn’t enter that cookie contest at work.

Defeated, I tasted a blue-ish cookie. Immediately, the smile returned to my face. Personally, I don’t like sugar cookies. This was the exception to the rule. It was buttery and light. Since it was so small, it easily dissolved and filled my mouth with a sweet sensation of satisfaction.

The best reward

When I took my load of cookies to work (I’d actually made two other types of cookies to share – more on that next week), I sheepishly told the cookie council they were just to share.

After the contest winner was announced, all of my co-workers were invited to enjoy the contest entries and others.

I hung back (because my co-workers swarmed on that cookie table). When I went in to try others’ goodies, I walked by the winner, who was hovering over my dull tie-dye crisps.

What happened next will forever be ingrained in my memory.

Winner: “Oh my gosh. Look at these! How interesting!”
Friend: “Uh-huh.”
Winner: “Ingenious!”
Dawn: “They are tie-dyed sugar cookies.”
Winner: Takes a bite. “They are delicious. These are amazing!”
Dawn: Blushes. “Thank you!”
Winner: “Really good!”

Turns out, I was the only one who felt the color was dull. Several people mentioned how cool those cookies were.

I can dye happy.