St. Patrick’s Day Cookies

Welcome back to Cookie Monday! Enjoy this week’s installment:

Now, I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but I’m pretty sure I managed to catch a leprechaun in my leprechaun trap above. Obviously, he climbed his way up to the table on the piece of bakers twine, climbed across the plate of cookies and left a trail of green sprinkles in his wake before getting trapped by a green coffee mug. Good thing I took a picture to document this, otherwise I would never have any proof that one of my traps finally worked.

All through elementary school I would make leprechaun traps without fail the night before St. Patrick’s Day. Most involved elaborate schemes to lure the leprechauns through our backyard and into the kitchen with a path of gold coins (uneaten Hanukkah gelt) up a cooling rack that was slicked with Elmer’s glue and onto a table or chair that had a hanging (empty) oatmeal container above it so that I could trap the leprechaun. I also had back up scenarios—if the leprechaun didn’t climb up the cooling rack, I would hang a piece of dental floss from the chair and slick that with Elmer’s glue as well so that no matter what, I would find a trapped leprechaun in the morning. Surprisingly, I never caught one, but my parents would always mess up the trap to make it look like there had been a little green man looking for a pot of gold late at night.

Leprechaun traps weren’t the only way we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. My brother and I would always dress in head to toe green and my mom would put green food coloring in the milk and water before we were up to make it look like we had some mischievous visitors the night before. One year she even dyed the eggs bright green. Needless to say, we had a lot of fun every year on St. Patrick’s Day.

This year, I decided I would make a green cookie to celebrate the holiday. I could have made some shamrock cookies and frosted them with green frosting, but what I really wanted to do was make the cookies themselves green. It’s a little strange, but there’s actually a way to accomplish that without green food coloring. All you need is a little baking soda and some sunflower seed butter (which is like peanut butter but with sunflower seeds). Sunflower seeds act as a basic pH indicator, which means that when then encounter a solution that has a pH greater than 7, they turn green. Once those two ingredients are whipped into a cookie dough and allowed to sit in the fridge for a few hours, the interiors of the cookies begin to turn a deep forest green. It’s hard to see in the above photo, but the centers of the cookies are beginning to turn green.

The cookies themselves taste like a good peanut butter cookie: tender and sweet with a rich center and the nutty flavor of sunflower seeds. A final topping of green sprinkles makes these a tempting bait for people as well as leprechauns. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day Cookies

Makes 3 dozen cookies

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon table salt

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup sunflower seed butter

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 tablespoons green sprinkles

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until light a fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the sunflower seed butter and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. With the mixer running on low, add the eggs, 1 at a time, and beat to combine, then add the vanilla and beat until thoroughly mixed. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low until just combined and no flour streaks remain. Take two tablespoons of dough at a time and roll into balls (the dough will be sticky, so dip your hands in water to make this step easier), then place 2 ½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Flatten the balls of dough into 2 inch disks, then sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of sprinkles on each cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are set and the cookies have spread and risen but still look slightly under baked. Let cool on the cookies sheets for 6-7 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. To turn the cookies green, chill them in the fridge overnight, then serve.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe!


6 thoughts on “St. Patrick’s Day Cookies

  1. Kinsey,
    I’m sure there is a little green man somewhere in Antrim, Ireland today wishing all his Drake relatives far and wide a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
    Love, G-ma

  2. OMG that is so good to know about the sunflower seed butter! I had some cookies with it recently and there were a little bit, uh, greenish. I ate them anyway. But at least now I know I won’t get some terrible mold infection LOL.

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