After our region of the Midwest was hit with a historically bad winter, I have never been happier to see spring. With warmer weather and sunshine finally reemerging, my training has picked back up and with it my craving for sweets. Growing up I always eyed those prepackaged sugar cookie rolls that people sliced and baked, but I was raised in a natural household where my mother would tint food with natural ingredients and make all baked goods from scratch. Little did I know I would be extremely disappointed the first time I tasted one of the coveted store-bought cookies.
With my toddler, I love passing down family traditions and the passion for healthy cooking. To limit artificial ingredients, I have carried on this tradition by using Salus Red Beet Crystals instead of food coloring. I love how these crystals are soluble and dissolve almost instantly. Beets have countless benefits, especially for us athletes. I take two tablespoons of Red Beet Crystals before my long runs, which has helped tremendously with curbing muscle fatigue and enhancing my energy.
I modified my great-grandmother’s recipe for shortbread so the texture of these cookies resembles a cross between a sugar cookie and shortbread. This recipe can be done over the course of several days if needed and the center design can be modified for every season. The process is worth the end result!
- 9 ounces gluten-free all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 4 ounces (1 stick) organic butter
- 6 ounces coconut sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 large egg
- ½ tbsp. Salus Red Beet Crystals
- Small flower-shaped cookie cutter, about 1.5"
- Whisk flour and salt together in a medium bowl.
- In a separate bowl, mix butter and sugar on medium speed, stopping before it becomes light and fluffy. The texture should resemble coarse breadcrumbs.
- Add vanilla and egg to the other ingredients sugar mixture and mix on low speed for 2 minutes.
- Keep your mixer running on low speed and slowly add the flour mixture.
- Once your dough has formed, place 2/3 of the dough in reusable airtight wrap, then place in the refrigerator.
- In a separate small bowl, add 3-5 drops of water to the red beet crystals and combine until the crystals have completely dissolved.
- Turn the mixer on low and slowly add the reconstituted beet juice to the remaining dough until the desired color is achieved.
- Wrap the beet-colored dough in a separate reusable airtight wrap and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- After the dough has finished chilling, remove the beet-colored dough from the refrigerator and line counter with parchment paper. Roll the dough on the counter until it is 2” thick (or the height of your cookie cutter).
- Cut out several flowers from the dough and stack them on top of each other. Repeat until all the beet-colored dough is used.
- Smooth the edges of the flower center stack that you have formed and wrap this flower stack in airtight wrap and place in the refrigerator. Chill for 30 minutes.
- Remove all dough from the refrigerator, take the flower center stack, and place horizontally on the counter parchment paper.
- Take a walnut-sized portion of the non-tinted dough and roll it into a thin rope. Repeat as many times as you have petals on your flower cutout. Place these dough ropes around your flower gently bridging the gaps between petals.
- Take the remainder of the non-tinted dough and cover the entire cookie stack, so that the center flower is surrounded by at least 1” of dough on every side. You can either roll the dough and wrap this around the flower stack or make additional ropes and then smooth your cookie roll. When you are finished, you should have a cookie roll that resembles a store-bought roll of cookies!
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350°F and line one cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Remove the cookie roll and make ½” marks on the roll. Using a sharp knife, cut the cookies uniformly into ½” thickness and place on the cookie sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 9-10 minutes or until the edges just begin to turn golden.