Sparkling St. Patrick’s Day Sugar Cookies

sparkingstpatrickscookiesThis weekend I stood in the baking aisle of my local craft store, staring at the “sorry, we’re out” tag hanging from the rod where the green sanding sugar should have been. To the left were dinosaur sprinkles; to the right, some type of “cactus mix.” And while I’d love to bake with dino and cactus sprinkles someday, I really needed plain old green sanding sugar for my sparkling shamrock cut-outs. To the grocery store I went, only to meet the same fate.

And so I returned home, consulted the internet, and made my own colored sugar. You could probably use regular granulated sugar, but I used the larger crystals known as sanding sugar that you can get at baking supply and craft stores. I had a bottle of white, so I placed about a half-cup in a glass container, added a few drops of green gel food coloring, and shook the container until all the granules were coated. I’m very pleased with how it turned out; the light shade of the shamrocks goes well with the gold coins, all of which are on their way to my favorite young ladies in Maryland, Mo and Margo.


  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • Green and yellow sanding sugar


Stir together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Add vanilla and about half the flour mixture, beating until combined; beat in remaining flour. If necessary, add 1-2 teaspoons of water for a less crumbly dough; you’ll need a more pliable dough to roll and cut later.

Form dough into a disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until just barely firm, about 20-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper, then place green sanding sugar on a plate; place yellow on another.

Roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into shamrock shapes, then press the tops of each cookie into the green sugar to coat. Repeat with a small round cutter for coins and press into the yellow sugar. Place on baking sheets about 1-2 inches apart – they don’t spread much when baking, but you don’t want to crowd your baking sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheets for 2-3 minutes before carefully transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days; if shipping, pack between layers of waxed paper. Makes about 3 dozen 3-inch cookies.


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