These beautiful baubles are sweet to eat and perfect for adding some sparkle to your holiday fare. My cookies are blue and white with turquoise sugar, plus pink and white with red sugar, but any color combination works so let those creative wheels start turning! The orange zest in this recipe really brightens the cookies and highlights their buttery goodness. Lemon or lime zest could be substituted for the orange if you wish to play with the flavor. Since there are a few steps involved in creating Sweet Jewel Box Cookies, make and roll the dough in advance, then slice, decorate, and bake for on-demand gorgeous treats. Happy holidays!
*Note: You can find colored sugar at most grocery stores or at craft stores such as Michael's.
Take the butter and 1 egg out of the refrigerator so that they are room temperature by the time you need them. Sift the powdered sugar into a mixing bowl. Sift the flours into a separate bowl or onto a piece of parchment paper.
With a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, powdered sugar, and salt on low speed until the mixture resembles a paste and you do not see any large chunks of butter. Scrape down the bowl as needed. Do not overmix.
Add 1 large egg, vanilla extract, and orange zest. Mix to combine on low speed and again, scrape down the bowl as needed. Add the flour to the mixture and blend only until the flour is incorporated. Again, do not overmix.
Remove half of the dough, wrap it in parchment or waxed paper, and place it in the refrigerator. Color the remaining half of dough with food coloring. Once the color is mixed in, wrap the second set of dough in parchment or waxed paper and place it in the refrigerator. Let the dough chill for at least 1 hour.
Remove both doughs from the refrigerator and let warm on the counter for 2-3 minutes. Prepare an egg wash by gently beating 1 large egg and a small splash of milk in a bowl. Lightly coat your work surface with sugar and roll out a sheet of the white dough and a sheet of the colored dough nearby.
Brush the egg wash over one of the dough sheets with a pastry brush or your fingertips. Make sure that the egg wash is even and that there are no pools on the dough. Lay the second sheet of dough on top of the first. Gently, with the aid of a bench scraper if needed, roll up the doughs like a jelly roll. Once rolled up, wrap the log of dough in parchment paper and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the log of dough from the refrigerator. With a sharp serrated knife, such as a bread slicer, slice the scraps off both ends of the log. Then, slice ¼- to ½-inch cookies from the log. (They can be as thin or as thick as you wish, but keep in mind that if they are too thin, it will be difficult to roll them in colored sugar.) Work quickly since the heat of your hands and the kitchen will warm the butter in the dough.
Mix the egg whites with the water in a shallow dish. Put the colored sugar on a second small plate or dish. Roll the outside of each cookie in the egg white mixture, then roll it in the colored sugar. (The egg white will glue the sugar to the cookie.) Lay each cookie on the baking sheet. As you are working, if your egg whites become too thick for rolling, simply add additional water.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. They will harden as they cool on a rack. Once they are completely cool, store them in an airtight container. Deck the halls with these sweet baubles!