Butter cookies have toddler tickled pink

My folks recently invited all of us over for hot dogs and hamburgers on a Saturday afternoon. We hadn’t all been in the same room since the stay-at-home orders began, and with things opening up and gathering sizes expanded, it seemed like a good time for the seven of us to socialize just a bit.

As I have been doing throughout the quarantine, I sent a video message through my sister to my two-year-old niece, asking her what I should bring for lunch.

The video I received back wasn’t quite what I expected, but I was ready for the challenge.

“Dessert, Lindsey,” she said.

“A dessert? What kind of dessert,” my sister prompted.

“Ummm…pinkalicious,” she said with a grin.

My sister pushed a little more on what kind of pink dessert she meant, and she said “pinkalicous” was another word for pink cookies.

Who knew?

Well, when the niece asks, the aunt must deliver, so this week, I’m sharing with you what was originally called “Gooey Butter Cookies” but has now been deemed “Pinkalicious” in our family.

This recipe comes from the blog “Lil’ Luna.” You can find the original post at https://lilluna.com/recipe-tip-of-the-week-gooey-butter-cookies. I added quite a bit of pink food coloring to get the color I wanted, doubled the vanilla and used sprinkles on some of the cookies in my version.

Pinkalicious Cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 egg

1 box yellow cake mix

pink food coloring, to desired hue

powdered sugar or sprinkles for coating cookies

Directions

Beat the butter, vanilla, cream cheese and egg until the mixture is fairly smooth. Beat in the cake mix and then mix in as much food coloring as you desire.

Chill the batter for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and while the oven is preheating, roll the cookie dough into about one-inch balls and then roll them in a bowl of either powdered sugar or sprinkles. Place the balls about two inches apart on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies start to brown.

Let them cool for a bit to set up before transferring them to an airtight container for storage.

Well, if you’re wondering how these turned out, these were absolutely fantastic. They’re soft and flavorful, and even the grownups were pretty happy to eat some “pinkalicious.”

I actually thought they were even better after sitting in my Tupperware overnight than they were straight out of the oven.

And, after sending the leftovers home with my sister and brother-in-law, I got another video message of my niece, cookie in hand.

“Thank you, Lindsey,” she said into the camera, making me absolutely melt.

My sister accused me of spoiling my sweet niece, but I’m pretty sure that’s my primary job as her aunt. And, if you’re wondering, the toddler decree was that the cookies coated in sprinkles were the best ones.

I don’t know if I’ll always be able to accomplish every kind of food that comes out of her little imagination, but I’m sure going to try.

Spice Up Your Life is sponsored by Main Street Co. & Kitchen Corner in Newton. Find them at shopmainstco.com. Lindsey Young is an enthusiastic amateur cook and can be reached through her website at spiceupkitchen.net.