Baker Bettie

Kaleidoscope Rainbow Cookies

Simple sugar cookies turn into beautiful kaleidoscope rainbow cookies with homemade sanding sugar! Food coloring is simply mixed with coarse sugar to create a rainbow of colors! 

Kaleidoscope Rainbow Cookies placed in a bowl of different colored sugars

I often wonder about why I have such a fascination with other eras.

Is it because I spent so much time with my grandparents when I was growing up?

And because they played so much of their music for me that older music feels more familiar to me than the music of “my era?”

My grandpa Joe used to put records on for us all the time and teach us how to dance.  I think he did a great job, though my husband would argue that I am one of the worst dancers he’s ever seen.  He obviously has no idea what he is talking about.

This is one of the songs that we often danced to.  When I hear it, it feels so nostalgic like a song from my childhood.  And I guess in a way it is.

Different colored sugars in individual bowls: red, orange, yellow, green and blue

The thing I miss most about working as a music therapist on an Alzheimer’s unit is singing songs like this almost every day.

Not really because of how much I love this kind of music, (even though I do) but more because of what it brought out in the clients I worked with.  Like a time machine.  Back to a time when words were easy to find and memories were not compromised.

Kaleidoscope Rainbow Cookies stacked up

I’m sure you are wondering what any of this has to do with these cookies.

Well, to be honest, nothing really.

Other than the fact that my brain goes on tangents and I wanted to make these cute retro Rainbow Kaleidoscope Cookies for St. Patty’s Day.

And St. Patty’s Day reminds me of the clover song which reminds me of working on an Alzheimer’s unit.  So I guess I felt the need to share all of that with you.  Ok? Cool.

Kaleidoscope Rainbow Cookies in a bowl

Is a pot of rainbow cookies almost as good as a pot of gold?

Kaleidoscope Rainbow Cookies in a bowl, different colored sugars in their bowls

Kaleidoscope Rainbow Cookies in a bowl surrounded by different colored sugars in their own bowls

Kaleidoscope Rainbow Cookies

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes

Simple sugar cookies turn into beautiful kaleidoscope rainbow cookies with homemade sanding sugar! Food coloring is simply mixed with coarse sugar to create a rainbow of colors! 


  • Sugar in the raw, or demerara sugar, or turbinado sugar
  • Green, blue, yellow, and red liquid food coloring
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract OR 1/2 tsp almond extract (I prefer almond in these cookies)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


For the Rainbow Sanding Sugar
    1. Put 1/3 cup raw sugar in an airtight container with 4-8 drops of food coloring (depending on how dark you want your color).
    2. Shake vigorously for at least 1 minute until all the color is distributed through the sugar. For orange, mix yellow and red drops. For indigo, mix red and blue drops. (this didn’t turn out well for me, but give it a shot!)
For the Cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla or almond extract.
  3. Add salt and slowly add all-purpose flour and mix until incorporated.
  4. Scoop out dough with a small cookie scoop and flatten to about 1/4 inch thick.
  5. Roll edges in sanding sugar. (if sugar is not sticking well, brush edges with water before rolling in sugar)
  6. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 8-12 minutes, until lightly browned.
Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0

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36 comments on “Kaleidoscope Rainbow Cookies”

  1. Very nice pcitures 🙂

  2. I’m definitely trying these! I love the colors and I think they’re better than a pot of gold!! Love them!!

  3. I just love your photography, it’s so unique! I’ll have to try these, they look great!

  4. BB…we are on the same wave length…just wrote about my Mother who is in that in-between memory place. Thank you for making me smile…especially since it is probably your husband who can’t dance. I’m sure of it! Cheers!

    • Oh yeah, he can’t. But he admits it.

      You are a beautiful writer, by the way!

      • And here I am trying to be the “BestBaker” following in your cookie and bread crumbs steps. Baking bread like crazy…I love that 5-Minutes….have to give it all away, however…which is the fun part. Today it is more cinnamon rolls w/cream cheese icing. Want to try your cookie recipe just up. You, Sweet-Tea, are amazing!

  5. I am such a terrible cook/baker that it is kind of funny…but I love your blog and reading the recipes. Although I did not really know your dad( pretty sure that I met him though!) I cannot help but think that he would be so pleased and proud to see what an artistic and creative project you have developed here. Excellent!! And I love your ideas-so wonderful!!
    love from Texas

    • Hi Laura,

      You are so sweet. You know I have been thinking about my dad a lot lately in regards to this blog. I always felt like I never inherited his creativity and that I could not connect with his memory in that way. I am starting to see him a little more in me every day as I am finding my creativity with this blog, and particularly photography. Thanks for following! And I’m sure you are not a terrible baker! I believe EVERYONE has it in them 🙂

  6. These are so adorbs! I just pinned them:]

    • I’m UK based and can’t work our which type of sugar you have used. I checked with Joy of Baking but the sugar she describes as raw doesn’t seem to be available here. Would demerara or granulated sugar do? Did you use gel colours or liquid ones? The biscuits look rather fine.

      • Yes. Demerara or Turbinado sugar is very similar to raw sugar. You want a sugar with a large grain. And use liquid colors! I tried to use the gels at first but they do not distribute through the sugar as well. I will edit this post to include these details. Thanks!

  7. I love rainbow ANYTHING – these are perfect! You’ve totally inspired me to try making my own sanding sugar.

  8. Yes, a pot of rainbow cookies is just as good as gold. Who needs gold when you have cookies?

    Although I guess gold can always buy you more cookies.

  9. Wicked post, these look AMAZING. I still don’t get why Americans call it St. Patty’s day since the shortened version of Patrick is Paddy…

  10. Sweet memories, sweet cookies!

  11. So pretty! I want one in each color…several times over…

  12. Awe, these are adorable…and I’m sure, delicious.

  13. Aw this is such a sweet post! And awesome cookies to go along with it! They look so good, wish I had that bowl of cookies on my desk right now!

  14. I so loved reading about who are you and what you love. Gives me a new insight about you–one that I adore and enjoy learning. What a special soul you are, especially one who takes gorgeous pics of some stinkin’ amazing food! xo

    • Cara you are too sweet. One of the things I love most about blogging, that was not something I expected, is meeting blogging friends like you and learning from them. There are a few of you that feel like long lost friends. You guys are all so talented and awesome!

  15. Yum! Wonderful photographs! I really like the way you dipped only the edges of the cookies into sugar – it’s a nice twist!

    Do you have a corrugated metal covered table?

    • Hey thanks! I thought covering the whole cookie might be overkill.

      It isn’t a table. Just a sheet of metal with pretty rusty stains that I use in some pictures. I love pretty rust 🙂

  16. absolutely love the colored sugar!!

  17. By the way, I tagged you in a get to know you game. I hope you’ll participate!

  18. this is so pretty!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i could look at it all day 🙂

  19. Many thanks for having adjusted the recipe and for having sorted out which materials to use, This is a good, honest blog.

  20. Reblogged this on What's For Dinner? and commented:
    Made these cookies tonight. Easy, fast, yummy. I used crystal sugar I had in Easter colors instead of making it like Baker Bettie does. 🙂

  21. Pingback: Kitchen Quilting: Kaleidoscope Quilt Block & Kaleidoscope Rainbow Cookies – Quilt Therapy

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