i once made american flag cookies for a fourth of july barbecue at my friend riva’s parents’ house. fast forward to now. riva’s mom, remembering that my flag cookies were such a hit, asked if i could make some more for an international-themed party she was throwing. but this time, there was a twist: she wanted american flags, british flags, and israeli flags.
i had made the original american flag cookies by making a slice-and-bake log of cookie dough with red stripes, white stripes, and a blue corner. easy enough. but to apply the same slice-and-bake method to the british and israeli flags sounded like quite a challenge – those flags are both much more complicated. since i’m always up for a new baking challenge, i agreed to give it a try.
first of all, we should talk about this cookie dough. it is, in my opinion, the perfect slice-and-bake dough. it is easy to work with – soft enough to be pliable, but firm enough that it doesn’t stick to your hands. and the final product is a delicious little cookie – slightly crisp, with a good chew and great sugar cookie flavor.
now, on to the flags. the american flags were pretty easy, as they had been the first time i made them. next was the british flags. as expected, these were more difficult because it is a more intricate design. but once i came up with a plan that broke the flag down into squares, it was actually pretty simple. the israeli flag was by far the hardest. creating the star and getting it to stay in the right position while i surrounded it with the rest of the dough took a LOT of trial and error, and there were definitely points when i wasn’t too confident that i’d end up with cookies that resembled anything more than blue and white blobs. but in the end, i found a method that worked, and i think the final products were pretty awesome looking.
all in all, these flag cookies look and taste great, and are really, really impressive. like, people were completely amazed that i made them myself. so if you’re up for a bit of a challenge, and have a patriotic event coming up, make these. they’ll make you famous.
the perfect sugar cookie dough to shape, slice, and bake.
- 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) earth balance (or butter)
- 1⅓ cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. set aside.
- in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the earth balance and sugar on medium speed until it is light and fluffy. add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. add the vanilla and continue to beat until everything is smooth and combined.
- add the flour mixture to the mixer and beat on low speed until it is just combined.
- now, shape your cookies. if you want to keep it simple, just shape the dough into a log, cover it in plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge. or, you can color the dough and make designs with it (a simple swirl is nice and easy). or, if you want to try the flag route, i've outlined the steps for each flag below.
- no matter how you shape them, bake the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 325°f for 9-11 minutes, until they are just crisp at the edges. transfer them to a wire rack right away to cool completely.
to make american flag cookies:
1. separate the dough into three portions – two of equal size, and one a little smaller. set one of the larger portions aside (that’ll be the white in your flags). to the remaining larger portion, add red food coloring and mix to combine. to the smaller portion, add blue food coloring and mix to combine. now, between two pieces of wax paper, roll out the red and white balls of dough into large, thin rectangles. try to keep them as evenly sized as possible – cut the dough down to size as you go.
2. put the rectangles on top of one another and press down, so that you have two layers.
3. cut the two-layer rectangle into four pieces: two equal pieces about 3 inches wide, and two equal pieces about half that width (the exact measurements aren’t so important, as long as you have two sets of equal pieces). pile the larger pieces on top of each other
4. pile the smaller pieces on top of the larger ones so that you end up with a sort of “L” shape.
5. fill in the empty space with the blue dough.
6. now, wrap the log in plastic wrap and press down on all sides to make sure everything sticks together. let the log chill in the fridge for at least an hour. after it has chilled, use a sharp knife to slice the log and you’re ready to bake!
to make british flag cookies:
1. separate the dough into three portions: two of equal size, and one slightly smaller. set the smaller portion aside – this will be the white for your flags. use food coloring to color the other two portions red and blue. now, roll out your red and white doughs between two pieces of wax paper into long, thin rectangles. the white should be slightly thinner than the red, but don’t go too crazy over it. keep your blue dough nearby.
2. take a piece of blue dough and gently roll it into a long rope, then press down on the rope with two fingers to form it into a triangular log. i found that it helps to cover the triangle with wax paper and smooth the sides with your fingers.
3. cover two sides of your triangle with white dough. i think the easiest way to do this is press one side of the triangle down onto your rolled out white dough, then roll it to the next side so that both sides are covered. then you can trim the edges.
4. cut your blue and white triangular log in half. now you have two!
5. take one of the logs, and cover one of the white sides with red dough.
6. take the other log, and press one of the white sides into the red side of the other log, as shown in the picture. you now have a square with a red line running down the diagonal, and on the outside, two sides are white and two sides are blue. this is going to be one corner of your flag. now, repeat these steps 3 more times, so you end up with four of these square logs.
7. roll out some more red dough, a little thicker than before. take two of your logs, and put a piece of the thick red dough between them. do the same thing with the other two logs.
8. now you have two rectangles. put them on top of each other, with another piece of thick red dough between them. make sure all the lines are pointing in the right direction, like in the picture. see how it looks like the flag?!?!
9. wrap the whole log in plastic wrap and press down gently on all the sides to make sure it all sticks together. let the log chill in the fridge for at least an hour. after it has chilled, use a sharp knife to slice the log and you’re ready to bake!
to make israeli flag cookies:
if you’re going to attempt this, first, please do me a favor: remember how much you like me. because there is a good chance that at some point during this process, you will curse the day you ever decided to trust me. but believe me when i say, it will all work out in the end.
1. split your dough into two portions: a big one and a slightly smaller one. use food coloring to color the smaller portion blue. now, take a piece of white dough and roll it out into a log. meanwhile, roll out some blue dough between two pieces of wax paper.
2. cover the white log with a layer of blue dough. i think the easiest way to do this is to just place the log on top of the rolled out blue dough, and roll it while gently pressing the blue dough into it. once your log is covered, use two fingers to pinch it into a triangular shape. it helps to cover the triangle with wax paper and smooth the sides with your finger. do this 5 more times so you end up with six triangular logs. let the logs chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
3. take one log out of the fridge, and press some white dough into both sides of it so that it is sort of rectangular, with white sides and the triangle in the middle.
4. take two more logs out of the fridge. with the first triangle upside down, press these two logs on top of your rectangle so that the inner corners touch the upper corners of the upside down triangle (see picture). you can sort of see how it’s starting to look like half a star.
5. fill in the space between the two logs with more white dough. be gentle – you want to press enough so that you fill the space completely, while not messing up the triangle shapes. now, wrap this entire log in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
6. repeat this process with the other 3 triangular logs so that you end up with two identical half-stars.
7. place the two star halves on top of each other to form a complete star. press down gently so that the halves stick together.
8. fill in the sides of the star log with more white dough, so that you get it flat on all sides. ideally, you want to have more white on the sides than on the top and bottom. i didn’t measure the perfect amount of white dough, so i couldn’t do this, but if i did it again, that’s what i’d do.
9. cover the top and bottom of the log with thick layers of blue dough, then very thin layers of white dough. wrap the whole log in plastic wrap and let it chill for at least 30 minutes. once it has chilled, take it out, slice it with a sharp knife, and you’re ready to bake!