Bug,  domesticity,  Stealthy Spy Cooking

Watermelon Cookies!

happy cookies

Yesterday was sort of a gloomy day and I was sort of in a gloomy mood so I thought I’d cheer things up with some baking action in the kitchen. I like Baby Bug to learn how to play by herself during the day but I also think it’s important for us to do at least one fun thing together too. Sometimes that one fun thing is me haphhazardly drawing on a piece of paper with her while my mind is a million miles away. But other times our one fun thing is a super duper mess in the kitchen!


from this cookbook

First, I pulled out this little cookbook that I mailed away for years ago when I was the super duper babysitter. This book is the best. The kids I baby-sat still ask for it when I come to visit. It was a buck or two back then but you can order one here for $3.99. Still worth it, I think, for the illustrations alone.

The kids love looking at the pictures. Baby Bug and I sat down with it and talked about monkeys and splashing and blueberry banana bread for a good ten minutes. It was great. We were all set to make blueberry banana bread (which I was heavily influencing since I have some very overripe bananas) until I realized I only had two bananas and you need three or four. Bah humbug.

itty bitty watermelon slices

So I let her pick another recipe. Watermelon splashers it was. I think she might have picked it because of the green frog, knowing her. I thought it would be difficult but it was rather easy. Duh, it’s a kids’ cookbook, Brenda. Well, I guess I’m a little less confident in the kitchen than some people.

The best part for Baby Bug was making the green sugar that coats the outside. She LOVED that. All we did was put a half cup of sugar in a sealable bag and then added eight drops of green food coloring. Then Baby Bug got to squish the sugar around with the coloring until it was all green. Good times, I tell you. We could have made colored sugar all day. They had another recipe for making a jar full of rainbow-colored sugar. We might have to do that some other rainy day.

I wish I had some sugar-making photos but I was being anal about the dishes I had not done yet and didn’t pull out the camera. I’m lame, I know.

putting the "seeds" in the watermelon cookies

Then we made the red dough, formed it into a long “red snake” (according to Baby Bug) and rolled it in the green sugar. Baby Bug loved rolling the snake. Real dough is SO much more fun than play dough. Then we stuck it in the fridge for an hour to chill. After it was cool, we cut the poor snake into slices and stuck mini-chocolate chips into the slices for seeds. They turned out sooooo cute!

chocolate chip seeds

Don’t they look like little mini watermelons? I have such a weakness for mini things. They got me so in the mood for miniature food, I made Baby Bug a mini cheeseburger for dinner… but that’s another subject. I’m getting ahead of myself.

mini watermelon cookies

I’m thinking these would be great for a picnic-themed party. How cool would it be to serve these with some ants on a log? Or what if instead of watermelon slices we made little ladybug cookies?!! I could go on and on. And I will when I get my party site up, which is in the works by the way.

not as tasty as they look

The only thing that bothered me about these adorable little cookies is that they didn’t taste like much. They are yummy and I catch myself wanting to eat nine or ten of them but they don’t have that much taste.

It could be because I was out of shortening and I had to use all butter (while taking out the appropriate amount of salt). I don’t even know what shortening is really. Is that LARD? Ew! Oh well, I’ll trust you bakers on what should have been used. It also could have been because the dough might have been a little over-worked. We might have had just a little too much fun playing with it. Or maybe it’s just a kids’ recipe and not meant to be enjoyed by adults.

Baby Bug Approved!

But even Baby Bug didn’t really like them. She liked eating the dough and she made this swell face but she only ate the chocolate chips out of them and left the rest behind. Go figure.

So I challenge all you bakers out there to make these cookies and make them taste good. Maybe they could even taste like watermelon. Now that’s a stretch. I double dog dare you.

Recipe after the jump.

Watermelon Splashes Slice-and-Bake Cookies


2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon red food color
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons green sugar (separate recipe for green sugar below)
2 tablespoons miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Stir granulated sugar, shortening, margarine, vanilla, egg and food color in a large bowl until mixed. Stir in flour and salt.

2. Shape dough into a log, about 2 inches across. Put green sugar on a piece of plastic wrap. Roll log in green sugar until coated. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

3 Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut log into 1/4 inch slices. Cut each slice in half. Put about 1 inch apart on un-greased cookie sheet. Gently push a few chocolate chips into each slice to look like watermelon seeds.

4. Bake 7 to 8 minutes or until cookies just begin to brown. Right away, take cookies off cookie sheet. Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

Green Sugar


1/2 cup sugar
8 drops of green food coloring


1. Put sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Add food color drops to sugar in bag. Seal bag.

2. Squeeze sugar in bag until it becomes colored. Store sugar in sealed bag. 1/2 cup colored sugar (duh)

p.s. If anybody makes this, email me some photos! Or blog about it and send me a link. I’d love to see how it goes for you.


  • bethany actually

    Hmm. Well, these aren’t really supposed to taste like anything but sugar cookies, I guess. Using all butter instead of shortening shouldn’t have made that much of a difference. What might help is doubling the vanilla, or adding a quarter-teaspoon of almond extract.

    I wonder if you could add watermelon-flavored kool-aid to the dough instead of red food coloring? It might taste weird after being baked, though. Do they even make watermelon-flavored kool-aid?

  • Nat

    You could substitute any old “white” sugar cookie recipe in there. (Bethany is right.)

    It was totally worth it though just to get that last picture of the little one. :)

  • Amy

    Sometime’s the red coloring makes things taste a bit off. I use only “no taste” red dye just for this very reason. My son and I will make a variation of these tomorrow for sure! I’ll let you know how it goes!

  • Kathy

    Hi, I just wandered in while browsing and those cookies look like so much fun. I bet your little one had a blast making those…and especially eating them!!

  • Dagny

    While I agree with Bethany that this is basically a sugar cookie recipe, I have to disagree with the shortening thing. I can tell the difference between butter, shortening, and margarine. Whenever I’ve made cookies with shortening, they have been rather blech. I say replace the shortening with either butter or margarine. One teaspoon of vanilla sounds about right for the rest of the proportions — sort of. I always let a little extra vanilla splash into the bowl when measuring. Believe me when I say that extra quarter teaspoonful or so can make a huge difference.

  • Red Lotus Mama

    Now those are really adorable! What a fun rainy day activity. Geez, Little ‘Ny and I just cleaned the fish tank … you really are a super fun mom! You should consider doing a fun activities with your kid blog!

  • Melissa

    The pictures of BabyBug are precious…she looks really excited. I love sugar cookies so would probably be eating these up all by my lonesome. If you wanted to, you could add a couple of drops of watermelon oil or watermelon extract (your grocery may have either of them by the vanilla and spices or you may have to check at a specialty store like Sur La Table).

  • deb

    I must make these–they’re sooo cute. Trying to figure out what made them “bland,” my best guess is the lack of vanilla or almond or lemon or any extract (like the watermelon Melissa mentioned above) that might heighten the flavor of a really simple cookie. I make a “slice-and-bake” cookie that closely resembles this recipe, but it is all-butter (which I know you used, and IMHO, always has the best flavor. Shortening is solid vegetable oil, doesn’t have any flavor). Gah, I’m rambling. Love the pictures, love the activity and I’ll give you a shout when I try them this summer!

  • bluejaye

    You said you adjusted the salt because of the butter…maybe you shouldn’t have.
    How are the rest of the recipes in that book? I may have to order it for the teen-agers. They ARE going to learn to cook this summer.

  • Abbie

    When I was growing up, we had the Gold Medal flour Alphabet cookbook, and it has the best recipe for banana bread in the world. Seriously the best.
    I wonder if the banana blueberry bread is the same recipe?

  • Stacey

    I’m disappointed to hear they were pretty bland. They LOOK so yummy. If you want something with a little more zing, I have an excellent lemon cookie recipe. They’re not as much fun, I’m sure, but at least they’re super easy to make. And the dough IS bright yellow.

  • BeachMama

    Those are so adorable. I don’t think that using butter instead of shortening should change the taste that much, it might be more of a texture change. I switch off using butter and shortening in my chocolate chip cookies depending on what I have. The recipe looks like just good old sugar cookies, something I make a lot, so I might tuck this one away for a rainy day at my place too.

  • Red Sonja

    Children’s cookbooks are the best! I still remember mine – it had Ants on a Log in it and I couldn’t get enough of the pictures. It’s not so much the food but the memories you create, and you are an Executive Chef on that level! Baby Bug will definitely remember all the fun she had with you in the kitchen – and she’s got the pictures too! You are definitely an inspiration when it comes to not just taking your child’s picture, but documenting her life. Thank God for digital cameras!

  • Sonja

    I’m glad I baked something this weekend. Otherwise, I’d feel woefully inadequate.
    Of course, I only made a boring cake… which, I’m sorry to admit, had some taste-issues as well. I blame the pesky much-too-healthy mix.

  • Faith/mommastantrum

    I think that the addition of the Kool Aid would be wierd, but that is me. I would maybe play with the extracts and see if you can’t get a better flavor that way. You could also use vanilla sugar when you make the colored green sugar and it would add more flavor. Everyone is right though, it is just a sugar cookie recipe, so if you have one that you love, use that instead and follow the same directions. I am off to order this cookbook now, so that I can make fun food instead of boring stuff.

  • Island Mummy

    Oh she is so gorgeous! I am catching up on your last few days because my computer died! Boo-hoo! So I am on my husband’s now while waiting for my new laptop! Yay!
    Soon I may have a box cubby too!

    I am sad that my computer is dead but so excited to get my gorgeous green laptop!
    Any tips on keeping toddler hands off the laptop?

  • Amanda

    Ooo! These look so fun! I’ve been looking for recipes to try out with my preschooler. We’ll definitely have to make these. I’ll let you know how they turn out. I’ll probably add a little almond extract :-)

  • Erica

    Ok you really are the best and funnest mom EVER after seeing these cookies and the look on your baby bugs face!

  • Annabanana

    hmmmm, they look cute and yummy. Maybe I will use my trusted and true sugar cookie recipe and just add the color. I think the secret to yummy sugar cookies is in the extra splashes of vanilla and almond extract.
    Thats all I got.
    Totally making these soon!

  • ivy

    if you have a bristol farms near you, they carry all kinds of fun food flavorings in tiny little jars for $2, if i remember they even had watermelon

    very cute cookies :)

  • Wiggle

    Just to throw my 2 cents in. Shortening will make a difference in the texture of the cookies. Using all butter tends to make the cookies spread out to much. I have actually made watermelon cookies before myself and found that cutting them much thinner (you can freeze the dough to make this much easier) and dipping the round edges of the cookies into green icing instead of sugar is tastier. Just mix powdered sugar and a very small amount of milk or water together and add green food coloring. Dip the edges and let them dry on a cooling rack.