Rainbow Chocolate Chip Cookies

Isn’t it amazing how just one little alteration to a recipe can significantly change the result?

Take, for example, the omnipresent Chocolate Chip Cookie.  Pretty basic cookie, right?  They’re probably the most popular cookie in the world (although, after their 100th anniversary, the Oreo manufacturers would argue otherwise).

But, did you know chocolate chip cookies actually started out as a mistake? Apparently, Ruth Graves Wakefield was trying to make her signature Butter Drop Do cookies. The recipe specified baker’s chocolate, but one day, Ruth discovered she was out of it. So, she took a chocolate bar – gifted by Andrew Nestle himself – and cut it into pieces. The pieces were made from semi sweet chocolate and only softened in the oven, rather than melting, leading to the cookie we know and love today! A little twist with a big result.  Same thing goes for Rainbow Chocolate Chip Cookies.

With just a few simple drops of food gel coloring, chocolate chip cookies take on a completely different personality. I found this recipe while lurking over at In Katrina’s Kitchen blog.  The vibrant cookie colors caught my eye.  Dark purples, fiery reds, deep greens… who wouldn’t be curious?  Then, when I read on and learned the cookie recipe is just your basic run-of-the-mill chocolate chip cookie with the addition of food gel coloring, I knew I had to make them and test them out on my kid judges.

And, who knew about the powerful effects of gel food coloring versus the generic water-based food coloring?  It’s the first time I’ve ever used food gels. I learned that these food colorings, also called icing colors, usually have a corn syrup and/or glycerine base and a much, much more intense color than regular food colorings (which only come in yellow, blue, red and green options).  You don’t have to use nearly as many drops when using gels– sometimes only a few drops – to get a much more vibrant color.

Color Palate- Food Gels

When I was finished making the cookie batter, I followed the instructions and divided the dough up into 6 equal parts.  I was very excited to try the different colors on each of the different bundles.  And, I  tried to “fold” the batter with the gel instead of mixing it.  After a few minutes of frustration, I finally took the matter into my own hands (literally) and began kneading the cookie-dough-food-gel mixture until I was satisfied that most of the dough had become saturated with the color (oh, and I added in at least 2-3 more drops along the way).

Unfortunately, I didn’t follow one of the cardinal rules to baking: must read directions from top to bottom to manage the entire process.  I completely overlooked the notes where Katrina advises bakers to wear food-safe gloves to prevent hand staining. I looked like a mad scientist when I finished the project- my hands were stained so many different colors (it took 20 minutes with bottle of nail polish remover and a washcloth to get back to my normal flesh tone). And, the bowls and table were splattered like a Jackson Pollack canvas.

Note to self- a fun rainy day project for my kids the next time around!

Dough, divided

Dough- colored

While my cookies turned out a but more psychedelic and swirly in color than the cookies from Katrina’s blog, it didn’t seem to matter.  Kids gravitate to anything with color.  Before I knew it, each kid had carefully selected their colored cookie (purple for my daughter and green for my son).  And, somehow these very generic chocolate chip cookies had taken on a life of their own.

“Oh my god, these are the best cookies ever,”  my son exclaimed with a full chocolate-stained grin.

“Yeah, they taste different but, I can’t explain why,” agreed my daughter, daintily picking at her piece.

I smiled, knowing the real simple secret…and happily ate my yellow cookie too.




  1. Fun! I’m so glad you made them and that your kids praised you up and down! 🙂 Oops- maybe I should have underlined or bolded the glove part?! 🙂

  2. Your Rainbow Cookies look so pretty and a lot of fun! Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  3. They look awesome! Thanks for sharing!


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