August 27, 2012

Jumbo Spin Art Cookies

When someone mentions 'spin art' my mind tunnels directly back to awkward middle school carnivals where each room was filled with some sort of activity like the duck pond, ring toss, the cake walk, bean bag toss, and of course my favorite.....spin art! I would save up all of my tickets and only use them for spin art. I'm sort of embarrassed right now that I can actually recall these events in detail but I really loved watching that paint stream down onto that cheap white cardboard rectangle spinning a million miles an hour. When the table finally came to a complete stop it was like the world stood still for one second while I gasped at my newly created masterpiece. Then before it could dry the parent volunteer would slap it in a flimsy white matte and send me on my way! I felt like a million bucks!

Before my boys are old enough to enjoy the awkwardness of middle school I wanted them to feel my same love for spin art. Since I don't own an actual spin art table I decided to use my salad spinner and use food coloring instead of paint. And what goes well with food coloring? That's right.....cookies and frosting!

It doesn't matter if my boys are playing their favorite games or playing with their favorite toys - as soon as I get out the salad spinner they come running. They love to spin what ever greens I have in the device so you can imagine the excitement when it would be put to use with cookies instead of
greens! This could possibly be a child's dream!

You will need the following items:
- jumbo sugar cookies (recipe follows) - cut to fit the bottom of your salad spinner
- frosting (recipe follows) - I made cream cheese frosting but buttercream would also work
- salad spinner - don't worry....the food coloring washes right off
- liquid food coloring
- spreading knife
- rolling pin
- pizza cutter or sharp knife
- squirt bottle (optional)

This is a perfect activity for children and a fun family activity. If you had the cookies pre-baked and frosted this would also be a great activity at a child's birthday party!

Sugar cookies are certainly not boring and one of my personal favorite but if you want to you could make any cookie you want. I would suggest something smooth however because you will need to be able to spread frosting on very smoothly. Gingerbread would work well.

Sugar Cookies
1 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1 egg
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and mix until combined. Sift in baking powder and flour and mix until well combined.

Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.

Remove dough from fridge and plastic wrap. Lightly flour a large work surface and roll dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut desired size circle using a table knife.

I made a paper pattern for the size of circle I needed and cut around it.

Place on ungreased sheet pan and bake 10 - 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Removed from oven.

If dough spread too large cut warm cookie to desired size again using a pizza cutter or sharp knife.

Let cool completely on pan.

Makes approx. 6 cookies depending on thickness.

***I made jumbo cookies so they would fit nicely in the bottom of the salad spinner. You could make smaller cookies but you will need to find a way to keep them in the middle so they don't creep up the sides when the device is spinning. You can always cut the cookies if you think they are too big. Did I just say a cookie could be too big? Sorry, what was I thinking!!??

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese
4 T. butter
1 t. vanilla extract
3-6 c. powdered sugar (depending on desired consistency)

In a medium mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed combine cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar until you reach desired consistency.

Using a spreading knife smooth frosting on jumbo cookies. Be generous, everyone loves frosting!!

Gently place cookie in the bottom of salad spinner. I secured ours with a dollop of frosting on the bottom of the spinner.

You can drip on food coloring one of two ways. While it is spinning or before you start spinning. Before it spins (I think) is easier for kids but either way will give you the spin art look.

This isn't rocket science so I don't really have much to explain. Using liquid food coloring drip coloring where desired. Spin salad spinner gently enough that your cookie doesn't break apart but fast enough that you get the coloring to spin to the outside of the cookie. Repeat with more drops of coloring if necessary until you have the desired effect.

Gently remove cookie from spinner and allow coloring to dry (so lips and tongue aren't stained too bad) or eat right away simply because no one will want to wait!!

***I recommend using aprons or old clothes when the kids are dropping food coloring. You don't want stains on their nice clothes and they can get a bit carried away with all of the fun!

***If you want a more tie dyed look drop food coloring and then spritz with a few sprays of water (2-4 sprays) using a clean squirt bottle and then spin. It will cause the colors to run and bleed more as in picture #7.

***Don't worry, your salad spinner will wash clean without any stains - well, at least mine did!  :)


  1. My Hospitality and catering class just made these cookies for our school art show. We along with the rest of the school absolutely love your cookie recipe and would use it again in a heartbeat. We enjoyed how quick and easy it was to make the cookies as well as how easy it was to follow the recipe. We made the cookies smaller in order to make more of them. We found that the spin art part was slightly difficult but in the end got it to work with more of a watercolor look by watering down the dye so it would spread easier. Everyone who came to the event thought it was a unique idea and loved the concept.

  2. Our hospitality and catering class made these cookies for our schools art show. The cookies were so delicious and got a great response! We did, however, make the cookies smaller and we diluted the food coloring so we got more pastel colors.