mondrian inspired sugar cookies recipe
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • WHITE SUGAR COOKIE DOUGH: 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Red, blue, and yellow food coloring
  • BLACK COCOA SUGAR COOKIE DOUGH: ½ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon orange essence
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅓ cup black cocoa
  • 1½ to 1¾ cups flour (see note below)
  1. WHITE/TINTED DOUGH: Cream together softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Mix in egg and almond extract.
  3. Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together and add in three increments to the wet ingredients. Mix to combine well.
  4. Divide the dough into thirds. Set one third aside. Divide the other ⅔s of dough into three pieces and tint yellow, red, and blue into your desired amounts. For example, if you want a Mondrian with more yellow, tint a larger of the three smaller pieces to yellow.
  5. BLACK COCOA DOUGH: Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  6. Add egg and orange essence and mix.
  7. Add baking powder and salt and mix again.
  8. Stir in the cocoa until well blended. Add flour ½ cup at a time. This will look like a ball of tar. It is fabulous!
  9. Per Lila Loa's notes: IF YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE COOKIES RIGHT AWAY, add a total of 1¾ cups of flour. If chilling the dough, add only 1½ cups of flour.
  10. When ready to build your art, prop a Mondrian inspired picture nearby for reference. See above in my post for the Mondrian rules. Form your shapes and puzzle-piece them together on trial. Look okay? Following the Mondrian criteria? Roll out your black dough and cut pieces as you need them for borders. As the dough warms up, it will be harder to manage. You may need to chill it again as you assemble.
  11. BAKING: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  12. After chilling in the entire block of dough for at least 4 hours after assembled, prepare your slicing area. Get the sharpest knife you have. The thicker you slice, the longer it will take to bake the cookies and therefore have more of a risk of browning and burning. The cookies are done when they're not shiny on top, not browned. Aim for just about ¼ inch thickness or slightly less. When I sliced this thickness, baking time was about 8 minutes. In my first trial, I made one vanilla sugar recipe and used most of the dough. I made a half recipe of the black cocoa sugar cookies from Lila Loa's website (which is what I listed here, in the half form) and ended up with quite a bit left over. This was expected, given the black, thin borders needed for the Mondrian look. I'll be highlighting that dough in full cookie form in another recipe.
  13. These cookies keep in an airtight container for a few days at room temperature.
Recipe by story of a kitchen at