Checkerboard Sugar Cookies

This year after a long break the ladies in my neighborhood decided to have a cookie exchange. Everyone was to bring 3 dozen cookies. I wanted to bake a cookie that looked special but I did not want to use frosting. My first thought was swirl sugar cookies rolled in sprinkles. Though the cookies look festive I was not sure I wanted to use food color. My next thought was chocolate dipped squares. But I rarely bake cookies and do not have a square cookie cutter. I had no time to go out to buy one so that was out. Then I thought of making these checkerboard sugar cookies and that worked just right. The checkerboard pattern made with cocoa powder and plain cookie dough was festive enough to not need any frosting or food coloring.

I had made swirl cookies for the fourth of July. I used the same basic recipe for these cookies. I divided the dough into two portions by weight and added a tablespoon of cocoa powder to one half to color it. I left the dough overnight in the refrigerator and baked the cookies early the next morning. The cookies were well appreciated and I had a great time at the cookie exchange.

I had cut out instructions from a magazine for the checkerboard pattern. It is very easy to put together. Do not be intimidated by it.

You will need (for about 36 cookies)
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. cocoa powder

In a bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Keep aside. In another bowl beat the butter. Add the sugar and beat again to mix well. Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well mixed. Add the vanilla extract and beat until frothy. Fold in the flour mixture and form a dough. Weigh the dough and divide into two. Flatten one half and sprinkle the cocoa powder. Fold in and mix until well distributed. Do not overwork it. Wrap both portions separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Roll out the dough separately into two rectangles. Slice along the length to form three long rectangles as in the picture below.

Switch the center portion of the plain rectangle with the color one. Sandwich the pieces together. You should have one rectangular block plain-colored-plain and the other colored-plain-colored. Place the plain-colored-plain block such that the plain side is facing up. Slice into three long rectangle. Repeat with the colored-plain-colored block, only this time with the colored side facing up. You will get a pattern as in the picture below.

Now switch the middle portion of one set of three rectangles with the middle portion of the other set. Stack them up and you will have a checkerboard pattern.

Wrap it in plastic wrap (you can reuse the wrap you used earlier) and refrigerate overnight.

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper lining. Transfer one rectangular roll from the refrigerator to your work surface. Slice every 1/4 inch with a sharp serrated knife. You can adjust the width as per your preference.

Transfer the sliced cookies to the baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until the bottom is lightly colored. Repeat with the remaining dough. I baked three batches with 12 cookies in each. Let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack before storing them in an air tight container.



  1. Checkered cookies look great and am sure these looked special from other cookies that your group brought. It must have been fun making the cookies. Checkerboard cookies are on list for a long time and never got around to bake them yet,

  2. Hard to resist to those cuties, its been a while i baked them..Looks prefect.

  3. Oh those cookies are so cute..I am planning on making these shortly!

  4. Perfectly made checkerboard cookies Varada.

  5. Such a treat to eyes too!!! Looks cute and lovely!!!

  6. These are such great cookies they look cute and perfect.


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