Watermelon Sugar Cookies
Memorial Day, the official kickoff of summer. The summer that we never thought would get here after the death winter we all barely survived. And while Mother Nature is still going a bit schitzo on whether it’s going to be 50 degrees today or 84 degrees, she at least graced us with a touch of sunshine and some hot humidity this afternoon. So I gladly rocked my white jeans and white shorts around this weekend, goosebumps and all. I knew that this weekend deserved a special summertime cookie. And because I was down the Cape, I could do something a little more complicated with my baking assistant (Mom).
My brother made these Watermelon Sugar cookies last summer for a BBQ and sent me the recipe and gave me his bottle of watermelon extract, which is the key ingredient and very hard to come across. My live-in taste tester came to the rescue and brought my watermelon extract and red food coloring from Southie to the Cape when she came down on Friday night, so that I could make these this weekend. (Colleen, for the win!) I’ve never used watermelon extract before. I don’t even like regular watermelon. But I think the easiest comparison is that these sugar cookies taste exactly like eating a watermelon-flavored jolly rancher.
If you’re going to make these, it’s a bit of a time commitment. Nothing crazy, but not my usual start-to-finish in 45 minutes. I would say you need to give yourself a full 3 hours to make these start to finish. Also, read the ingredient list before you start, or you’ll end up like me running to Stop + Shop mid-cookie baking to get white chocolate chips.
- 1 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2 tablespoon slices
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon watermelon extract
- Red food gel
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- Green sugar
- 1 cup miniature chocolate chips
- 3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Step 1: Cream butter and sugar together in a mixer. Add in eggs, vanilla extract + watermelon extract. Then add in the red food coloring. I have red food gel, which you don’t need much of, but if you only have food coloring drops, use about 6 or 7.
Step 2: Sift together salt, baking powder + flour. Add to the wet batter and mix on a low speed until incorporated.
Step 3: Separate the dough into two batches. Place each in between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick. Do the same with the other batch. I made mine a little bit thicker. Stack the rolled out dough on a cookie sheet and put it in the fridge to chill for 2 hours.
Step 4: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove one batch of rolled cookie dough from the fridge. Using a cookie cutter or biscuit cutter (whatever you have on hand) cut our circles. Then with a large sharp knife, cut each circle in half.
Step 5: Place the halves on a sil-pat or parchment-lined baking sheet.
Step 6: Gently press the mini chocolate chips upside down into each cookie. I did an experiment where I put some in before I baked the cookies, and some in right when they came out of the oven. I did not see a big difference. (And by experiment,I mean I baked the first batch when I forgot to put the chocolate chips in).
Step 7: Bake for 8-10 minutes. The cookies will be puffed up but will not brown. Be very careful not to overbake these. Mine were ready right between 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on a wire rack. I had a small apple corer, that I used to cut out a little “bite” from the top of each cookie. You can do this before or after you bake the cookies.
Step 8: Melt the white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, stirring every 30 seconds so that it does not burn.
Step 9: To make the rind, roll the round edge of the cookies in the melted chocolate. We scraped off the excess, and then roll the rind in the green sugar. Let these set on the cooling rack until the chocolate hardens. For the record, I almost did not include these pictures because of my unmanicured hands, but given the complexity of these cookies, I owed it to my loyal cookie fans. And don’t worry, I’ve got a fresh coat of Essie’s Tart Deco on my fingers today.
These are summer in a cookie. Not only do they taste amazing, but how good do they look!
Honestly, if you are ambitious in the kitchen, start planning these for whatever Fourth of July BBQ you are going to. You will be sure to have the best cookies there. Unless you’re coming to mine, then don’t try to upstage me. Many thanks to my big bro for hooking me up with the watermelon extract. I’ll see if I can find some other recipes to use the extract in. Although, I also had an idea today about making other fruit-inspired cookies that look like the actual fruit. I might revamp my lemon, lime, and orange sugar cookies this summer and kick it up a notch.
I went down to the Cape late Wednesday night after tennis practice and worked from home on Thursday and Friday. Work has just been a bit too cray cray lately and Grandpa had a trip to the ER late Wednesday night (he’s all good, still crazy as normal), so it was nice to get away from the office and just focus. And I hate traffic. So I will plan my drives down to the Cape to avoid traffic whenever possible. It also made it nice that when I shut my laptop down Friday night, I was already lakeside and not watching google maps (which was all bright red with skulls and crossbones from Boston all the way down to the Cape.)
We put the boats in the water this weekend, which is the official sign that summer has started. Hopefully at some point in June it will get warm enough for the beach and actually getting in the water.
And Sunday morning, Mom and I got up early and ran the 5k roadrace in Hyannis, which I’ve done every year since 2008. The first year, I did the half marathon. And then could not move for the rest of the day. But the 5k is a really nice relatively flat run by the water in Hyannis, which is a nice way to start off a Sunday. Especially with my mom. This is the only good pic we got, since the first one the random guy took of us was just half my arm and my mom standing there.
I came back early this morning to run a bunch of errands and avoid the Cape traffic, which was definitely a good thing. Fingers crossed, I think we finally came to an agreement for the patio that Francesca and I are trying to put in the backyard so that we have the whole summer to enjoy it this year. So we were measuring and marking that in the backyard this afternoon. And then I spent a good hour staring out my back window, because just when I thought my next-door-neighbor could not get any crazier, he has fully lived up to his name of Crazy Eddie, by rigging up his own backyard zip line. And his daughter spent most of the afternoon, wearing her homemade harness, climbing to a most-definitely unsafe height on a ladder, and careening down the backyard. This comes after last week I was working late at night, and around 11:30pm at the kitchen table I noticed Crazy Eddie in his pitch black backyard wearing a headlamp just walking around. Ah Southie. Now why don’t they include things like that in all of the TV shows they keep making about Southie? Maybe they would last more than one season.
Here’s to a short week at the office, which hopefully means Friday will be here before we know it. And maybe even Summer.