This past week we celebrated Christmas early with family in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and we made lots of delicious iced sugar cookies! We made these Christmas cookies using natural dyes from turmeric, beets and spinach! I was quite proud of our creations. Not only did the cookies taste amazing but they looked great being made of natural dyes from plants rather than synthetic ingredients. Did you know that artificial food colors like Yellow 6, Yellow 5 and Red 40, contains carcinogens that cause cancer in animals? This article describes how toxic artificial colors are. I love to use natural ingredients so it was fun experimenting and making our own food coloring made from plants!

These cookies were made of all organic ingredients from the local health food store, including organic powdered sugar for the frosting. During the year Thomas and I rarely eat treats besides the occasional dark chocolate so we allow ourselves to splurge during the holidays and we get back on track as soon as the holidays are over.
As a child we had the tradition of baking cookies at my grandma’s house, usually my sister, my cousin and I. My grandma had the dough ready in the fridge and we would roll the dough out and cut out the cookies in various festive Christmas cookie cutters. Then we would cover them with a variety of colored sprinkles. I loved this tradition. These days I would switch out those sprinkles with this beautiful sprinkle set. We never iced them though. This year I wanted to ice the cookies with frosting and I’m so glad we did. Frosted sugar cookies is where it’s at, they are absolutely delicious!
I’m eating a gluten free diet and I used this recipe for the first time. The recipe uses coconut flour. This is going to be my go to recipe from now on for gluten free sugar cookies, they turned out amazing! I used this recipe for the frosting.
We found turmeric dye at the health food store but that was the only one they had. So we got creative and followed these directions to make natural food colors. We cooked beets and then blended the beets, strained them and used the liquid in the icing. We did the same for the spinach. The sprinkles are organic from the health food store as well, but you could try using these sprinkles which are similar. I’d love to try these pretty sugar sprinkles one day as well as as these natural food dyes in the near future.

While the food dyes are non traditional colors, you don’t really see bright yellow Christmas cookies, lol they were still pretty and tasty! We made a bunch of batches this day and made the same recipes another day during our trip.

I preferred the first batch of cookies. In this batch some were just barely underdone and some got a little bit overdone. The slightly underdone sugar cookies were the best because they literally melted in your mouth, they were SO good!

We planned to give some to neighbors in these cute cookie tins, however these cookies didn’t last that long, we ended up eating all of them before we could give them away, haha!

My husband requested more Christmas cookies so another day during our trip we made another batch of cookies. This time the beet and spinach dyes came out more saturated and while the colors are more like celery green and magenta, they still looked great and were awesome to eat knowing they were naturally dyed cookies.

These cookies were gone by the time the night was over!
I look forward having this tradition of making sugar cookies with our wonderful family in Idaho. I can’t wait till Mila can join us in the cookie baking tradition! Next year I want to make more elaborate designs. We focused on making naturally dyed cookies this time that the actual design wasn’t as important. Next year I want to use different piping tips and make intricate designs on the cookies!
What about you, have you made holiday cookies yet? If so what kind did you make? I’d love to see them!