Adding COLOR to sugar cookie dough/Homemade Playdough

After making & icing Shamrock (3-leaf clover) cookies – they just did not look quite right to me.  Of course, the day after March 17th, it hit me – I should have made green dough. (For information on FOOD COLOR see my post Crazy 4 Color). So, I wrote down my idea for next year and while I was bummed that I missed the opportunity for this year, I moved ahead to Easter. How cute would colored dough be for Easter Egg cookies??…. oh yeah, it’s cute!! I’m not done with these yet — I plan to add icing in the coordinating color and sanding sugar as well. Anyway, this technique is exactly the same as adding color -to homemade “play-dough” – salt dough.  Hopefully, people still make that – my mom made it for my brother & me when we were kiddos and I’ve made it for mine as well. If you haven’t made it, you should – so I’ll add the recipe below.  Then when your children/grandchildren grow-up they just might use their play-dough skill for cookie making; see the carrots & the tulips.

I also made a revised version of the sugar cookie dough recipe that I use… but I’m not 100% sold on it yet.  I can’t decide if I really like it or not. I’m reserving my opinion until after I add the icing to the cookies… but instead of almond extract, I used vanilla beans & lemon zest (and I still used vanilla extract) – maybe I will try lemon extract, too.  I LOVE lemon!! … the texture tho’ is what I don’t like, it’s different – too heavy?? Anyway, that’s how new recipes usually go –  everyone has their own preference and it takes a few slight tweaks to personalize it to one’s own taste. (My taste-tester wasn’t too impressed either, but he’s not really a big lemon fan… so I’m not sure why I even bothered to ask him ~)

The Play- Dough recipe that I grew up with:

1 c. flour
1/2 c. salt
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 c. water
2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. food coloring
Combine 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt and 2 teaspoons cream of tartar in a large saucepan. Gradually stir in 1 cup water mixed with 2 tablespoons oil and 1 teaspoon food coloring**. Cook over medium to high heat, stirring constantly until a ball forms. Remove from heat, cool and knead until smooth on wax paper. Store in an airtight container. Children (young & old) will enjoy playing with the playdough!
**If you want to make several colors from 1 batch (this recipes doubles easily) ~ You can “omit” the color from this step – letting the giant dough ball cool. Then divide the dough into several smaller dough balls and add a different drop of color to each.


  1. I saw you on frugal girls (from FaceBook) LOVE< LOVE LOVE the peeps cookies.
    Can I ask what you used for coloring ? Not the old fashioned liquid drops ?
    The color looks too rich.

    Also love the idea of lemon zest and vanilla bean instead of almond extract ( not a fan of that flavoring AT ALL ).

    • Thank you so much! I just started this blog a couple weeks ago & the picture I posted on Frugal Girls was the first time I’ve posted a picture ~
      In response to your question – please read my post Crazy 4 Colors at “”.
      (I just added the link to the post above as well…)
      NOTE: 1 drop of “color” goes a long way (and the colors tend to deepen over time). Have FUN 🙂

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