Recipe courtesy of Melissa Gaman for Food Network Kitchen

Red and White Checkerboard Cookies

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 4 hr 30 min
  • Active: 50 min
  • Yield: about 48 checkerboard cookies
  • Nutrition Info
These impressive-looking cookies aren’t difficult but do take some time to fully assemble and bake. Make sure the dough is well chilled when forming the logs and cutting, or it will tear. During baking, the cookies shouldn’t take on much color, so keep a close eye on the oven.



  1. Put the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring, until melted. Let cool slightly.
  2. Beat the butter, granulated sugar and salt in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla, then mix in the melted white chocolate. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the flour in two batches until just combined.
  3. Remove half of the dough; beat the orange zest and food coloring into the remaining dough. Wrap the plain dough and red dough separately in plastic wrap, flatten each into a rectangle and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
  4. Working on 2 separate sheets of floured parchment, roll out each piece of dough into a rough 5-by-10-inch rectangle (about 3/8 inch thick), then trim each piece to form a 4 1/2-by-9 1/2-inch rectangle. Using a sharp knife, cut each rectangle lengthwise into nine 1/2-inch-wide strips. (If the dough gets too soft, refrigerate until firm.) 
  5. Lay 3 alternating color strips together (white-red-white). Using a wet finger, moisten the sides and tops so the strips adhere without gaps, pressing to seal. Top with 3 strips in the opposite pattern (red-white-red). Top with 3 more strips, repeating the first pattern. Repeat to build another log, starting with a red-white-red pattern. Wrap the logs and chill for 2 hours.
  6. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350˚ F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment. Unwrap the dough. Lightly brush the logs with water, then firmly press the sides in the sanding sugar. Using a sharp knife, trim the ends of the logs, then slice into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick cookies, about 24 per log.
  7. Arrange the cookies 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake 2 of the pans (refrigerate the other), switching positions halfway through, until the cookies are just set but not browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on the pans, then remove to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining baking sheet.