Mickey and Minnie Peppermint Swirl Cookie
- Double batch of sugar cookie dough (made with an added teaspoon of peppermint extract, if desired) *
- Food coloring (red and green)
- 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)
- Disposable food preparation gloves (for kneading food coloring into the dough)
- Wax paper
- Rolling pin
- Plastic wrap
- Kitchen knife
- Small round cookie or fondant cutter
- Baking sheet
- Wire cooling rack
- Green decorator's icing and small red candies (for Minnie's bow)
* Note: Homemade sugar cookie recipes tend to work best for these cookies. If you don't already have a favorite, try a Classic Sugar Cookie Dough recipe that's especially tasty and reliable.
If you choose one of the ready-made refrigerated doughs sold at grocery stores, keep in mind that they tend to spread. You may want to knead in additional flour to stiffen it and then bake a single cookie to see how the dough holds up. If it still loses shape, try kneading in a bit more flour and then chilling the cookies before you bake them.
1. Divide the cookie dough into four equal portions. Knead green food coloring into one portion and red food coloring into another. Leave the other two plain.
2. Individually wrap one of the plain portions and the red portion in plastic and keep them in the refrigerator for now.
3. Working on a flour-dusted sheet of wax paper, roll the green dough into a 9-inch square. On another piece of wax paper, roll the plain dough into the same size square. Invert the sheet of plain dough onto the green dough. Trim the edges of the square to straighten them, if needed. Then cut the double-layer square into a 6- by 9-inch rectangle and a 3- by 9-inch rectangle. Transfer the smaller rectangle to a separate piece of wax paper.
4. Starting at one of the 9-inch edges, snuggly roll the larger rectangle into a log. To get started, pull up the edge of wax paper and use it to fold the long edge of the dough over onto itself. When you reach the other side, gently press the opposite edge of the dough against the roll to hold it in place. If needed, you can dampen the dough edge with a bit of water to help it stick. Wrap the roll tightly in plastic. Repeat this step with the smaller rectangle, again starting the roll at one of the 9-inch edges. Chill both of the wrapped logs for 30 minutes or more to stiffen the dough.
5. Remove the red dough and the remaining plain dough from the refrigerator and use them to create logs as described in steps 3 and 4.
6. When you're ready to make the cookies, unwrap the green swirled logs and cut them into 3/8-inch slices. Use the bigger slices for Mickey heads and the smaller ones for ears. To fit them together, use a small cookie or fondant cutter to cut a pair of curved notches in the top of the head. Moisten the cut edges with a bit of water and fit the ears in place, gently pressing the dough together at the seam to help it stick. Repeat this step with the red swirled logs.
7. Use a spatula to transfer the assembled cookies to a baking sheet and then bake them according to the recipe directions. Allow the cookies to cool briefly on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
8. For the finishing touch, embellish each of the red-swirled Minnie cookies with a green frosting bow and candy holly berry.