Are these eye-catching sugar cookies or what? You’ll use Jimmie sprinkles in this recipe for the “funfetti” effect. Before we dig in, let’s touch on the difference between “Jimmies” and “sprinkles” (because there is one).
Sprinkles are those shiny, square bits of sugar. Jimmies, on the other hand, are longer bits of sugar. Both are colorful, fun, and make cookies look extra fancy. For this recipe, you want to use Jimmies. Sprinkles would have a different same effect. They leave streaks as you work the dough or disintegrate entirely.
Sugar Cookie Nostalgia
When I was a kid, we hit the Great Original Cookie Co. every time we went to Southlake Mall in Merrillville, Indiana. I’d try a bunch of things until I found my favorites. I’d choose between the chocolate chocolate chip cookie and the M&M sugar cookie.
I always yearned for the giant dinner plate-sized chocolate chip cookies displayed in the front glass case. You know the kind. They were huge and had words like “Congratulations!” written across the face of the cookie in pink frosting.
I never did get to try one. I’m guessing that they would have tasted nothing like my mother’s chocolate chip cookies and would not have met my chocolate chip cookie standards. There was a reason I never ordered a regular chocolate chip from a cookie shop, even then. They disappoint then and now.
Tip: this chocolate chip cookie recipe from Carole Walter. It will not let you down. They are slightly foofier than your typical choco chip cookie but are worth the extra minutes of effort.
But chocolate chocolate chip? Oh, man. That’s a different story. Chocolate cookies (and M&M cookies) were not something anyone in my circle made when I was a kid. They were special.
Then one day, The Original Cookie Company was gone. I remember being so surprised when my mom and I rounded the corner and everything was different. A new cookie shop had taken up residence, but it wasn’t the same.
According to MallWalkers, “By February 2002, there were only 35 Original Cookie franchises in operation with no hopes of any additional stores.” I guess that was the end of an era. My friend, who hails from St. Louis and speaks of St. Louis in such glowing terms you would think he was being paid to be a spokesperson for it, had never heard of The Original Cookie Company. It would be interesting to know the former locations of these cookie shops.
Relive the glory days of The Original Cookie Co. with every bite of this sprinkle-filled sugar cookie. These sugar cookies have the cookie shop flavor that I remember. They are chewy and sweet.
Jimmies (Not Sprinkles) Up the Fun Factor
If you find the sprinkle cookie to be too sweet, sprinkle cookie one with a little fleur de sel or a touch of coarse sea salt (the fleur de sel is fancier, but if you, like me, can’t get it in your immediate area, coarse kosher salt will work in a pinch) to see what you think.
Author Sarah Kieffer calls these “Sugar Cookies,” but with the addition of sprinkles in the cookie dough, they are far more interesting to behold than your typical sugar cookie. Sarah also used 2 ounces of chopped semisweet chocolate though I could see swapping in mini white chocolate chips if you were so inclined.
But I wanted the brightness of the sprinkles on their own. I still rolled each cookie dough ball into the sugar and sprinkles; I just skipped the whole “add chopped chocolate to the batter” step.
I would call these funfetti sugar cookies. In case you don’t know, Funfetti® describes a boxed cake mix pushed out by Pillsbury in 1989. The Funfetti cake mix featured colorful sprinkles (Jimmies) mixed into a vanilla cake batter.
It was ALL THE RAGE. In many ways, it still is. While my boxed cake mix lovin’ days are over, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a bit of bling in my baked goods. These days I just throw in 2/3 cup of Jimmies to thicker (non oil-based) homemade vanilla or white cake batter.
Do note that you will need to use artificial Jimmies. Natural Jimmies, shiny sanding sugar, and homemade jimmies made with natural dyes won’t work if you want bright Funfetti cookies. Okay, they work, but they lose that brightness which is the whole point of this (trust me, I made my own sprinkles before, and … it wasn’t the same).
100 Cookies Cookbook by Sarah Kieffer Review
Why does the name Sarah Kieffer sound familiar? Sarah is the food writer behind the pan-banging cookie phenomenon and the author of 100 Cookies (2020). Yes, phenomenon. For a while there, you couldn’t go anywhere without reading about pan-banging cookies.
Pan banging is firmly slamming the baking sheet on the oven rack or the kitchen counter during the cookie baking process so the Funfetti cookie sort of sinks in and creates chewy ridges and soft valleys. It is loud and can be skipped if you can’t stand the noise (you won’t get those ridges, though, but it’s a solid recipe without it).
After watching the video I shared in my Christmas Cookies Cookbooks article, I became a total Sarah Kieffer fangirl. Based on what I saw in the video, Sarah is down-to-earth, friendly, and funny. Her cookbook reads the same. Sarah’s author page at the end of her cookbook reveals that she, too, rereads her favorite books just like me (and maybe you, too). Like clockwork, almost.
Sarah Kieffer seems to have the same feelings as I do about the importance of real food.
There is something deeper, something soul-ful that happens when we slice the cake, when we break the bread. There is taste and smell that draws out memories, binding us to those present, those past.Sarah Kieffer, The Vanilla Bean Blog, About Sarah, Accessed December 9, 2022.
Eating dinner as a family (however that form takes), chit-chatting and catching up, and snacking on cookies together — those are positive memory-makers. Those are things kids can count on when so many other things cannot be counted on.
Nobody treasures a fast food burger, boring fries, or a cookie from the grocery store. But a homemade meal? A scratch-made cookie? A seat in a great restaurant? Those things are long remembered. The memories built on positive food-related experiences are life-long and sometimes even life-changing (just ask Julia Child).
And all it takes is a little brown sugar or granulated sugar, a little flour, and a little butter to start of something good.
100 Cookies is a lovely cookbook. The cover is delightful, and the pages use the kind of paper that feels good in your hands. The recipes include a lengthy paragraph and an image. Sarah’s first cookbook (scroll down to find the rest of her cookbooks) is 305 pages (with the index and author page) and 7.9 x 1.3 x 9.35 inches.
This cookbook has a handy built-in fabric bookmark, so you can save the page you are on in case your book flips closed and mark the cookie recipe you need the next time you get in the mood to bake cookies.
If you, like me, do a lot of cookie baking, you’ll appreciate that little touch. Of course, this wouldn’t be Little Indiana Bakes if I didn’t also suggest that you write in your cookbooks too.
You can find that recipe, and so many more, in Sarah’s 100 Cookies book. Grab a glass of milk or get that 12-cup coffee maker brewing. These cookies practically demand dunking.
Making Pan Banging Funfetti Sugar Cookies
As with most cookie recipes, an electric mixer isn’t required, but it will save you time. Whether you make these cookies by hand or with an electric mixer, take care not to overmix the cookie dough.
Once you add the Jimmies to the flour mixture, tread carefully. You want to avoid overbaking the Funfetti cookies. You’ll actually remove the sprinkle sugar cookies from the oven early, slightly before the centers are completely set. After you bake the cookies, you’ll carefully transfer them to a cooling rack.
Why does that matter? The cookies will continue baking if you leave them on a hot cookie sheet. A cooling rack gives the treats a chance to cool down, so you can keep from overbaking your cookies and completely cool them a little faster, so when you go to store them, they won’t become a steamy mess.
Store the cooled cookies in an airtight container. If you place these (or any other cookie) in a cookie tin, the cookies will get hard. A plastic airtight container will keep your cookies soft for days. Sarah says they will last for two days.
A Quick Note on Ingredients for these Sugar Cookies
This sugar cookie recipe from 100 Cookies by Sarah Kieffer doesn’t require odd ingredients. You won’t need cream cheese or almond flour to make these cookies. Grab your softened unsalted butter (though I admit I use salted butter), vanilla extract, and dry ingredients (like all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, and salt).
Now, Sarah does mention how you can include Jimmies and 2 oz. (or 57 grams) of bite-sized, chopped-up semisweet chocolate, which seemed like a bit much to me. I wanted the pizazz of the rainbow Jimmies and nothing but vanilla extract (sorry, almond extract. Not this time).
Do you remember when we learned how to make cookies, that using pure vanilla extract doesn’t necessarily matter? Do you remember why? The more ingredients in a recipe, the less you’ll notice. Save a couple of bucks and opt for the imitation vanilla extract.
Sarah suggests lining your baking pans with foil for this recipe. I use biodegradable parchment paper. Skip the spray-on grease. It will make your cookies spread out more than you’d like. Even with my parchment paper swap, I had no difficulty with these cookies.
If you need to jazz up your Christmas cookie platter with an eye-catching sprinkle cookie of some sort, I’d highly suggest swapping out the rainbow Jimmie sprinkles for Jimmies in the colors of the season.
Sarah Kieffer’s Pan-Banging Sugar Cookies
Funfetti Sugar Cookie Recipe
- 2 Cups Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 3/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
- 1 Cup Butter Softened (use salted or unsalted butter. You aren't going to notice a difference)
- 1 3/4 Cups Sugar
- 1 Large Egg
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 350* oven.
- Line your baking sheet with parchment paper. (Sarah says to use foil, dull side up, but I prefer biodegradable parchment paper).
- In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients: the flour, baking soda, salt, and the cream of tartar.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream the unsalted butter for one minute or until creamy.
- Add in the 1 1/2 cups of sugar and beat on medium speed until the mixture looks light and fluffy for 2-3 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides with a scraper as necessary.
- Add the large egg and the vanilla extract and set the speed to low on your stand mixer. Combine.
- Add the flour mixture and combine on low speed. When you see a couple of streaks of flour remaining, add in 1/2 cup of "jimmies" (the longer sprinkles, not the short shiny sprinkles because those will disintegrate) and the semisweet chocolate chips (if using), and mix until just combined. Don't overmix your funfetti cookie dough.
- Seriously, don't overmix.
- Using a 1/4 cup cookie scoop, dish out a dough ball and roll it in the remaining 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and more Jimmie sprinkles (the longer colorful sprinkles).
- Set each dough ball scoop on the prepared pan, four per pan if you are using the 1/4 cup cookie scoop for your funfetti sugar cookie dough. If you are using a smaller 1 1/2 Tablespoon cookie dough ball scoop, then you'll want to leave a 1 1/2" to 2" space between the sprinkle sugar cookies so they have room to expand.
- EIGHT minutes into baking, when your cookie dough balls look a little puffy in the middle, lift one edge of your cookie sheet pan up and let it drop back down onto the oven rack. This will feel wrong. Ignore the feeling. The cookie dough ball edge will set, and the center will flatten. After 2 minutes, you'll see the center of the funfetti cookies puff again. Repeat the pan banging. Keep repeating the process at least twice until you've reached a 12-15 minute bake time and your cookies look done (the edges of the funfetti sugar cookie will appear golden brown, you'll smell the scent of baked cookies, and the centers will be lighter but not completely cooked. If you wait to remove the cookies once the center is thoroughly baked, you will overbake the cookies, and they will be too dark and hard.
- After you bake cookies so the center is almost set, move the hot baking sheet to a cooling rack away from the oven vent or other heat source. Leave the cookies on the cookie sheet on the rack for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, transfer the sprinkle sugar cookies off the cookie sheet to the cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Store cookies in a plastic airtight container, so they don't get hard (don't use a cookie tin!). Sarah says you can pop them in the fridge for three days. Leaving them at room temperature will net you two days before the texture might change.
Cookbooks by Sarah Kieffer
There is no way that Sarah Kieffer is done writing cookbooks yet. As new work from Sarah appears, expect to find it updated on this page (and doused in powdered sugar in my kitchen). I can’t wait to read what she bakes up yet.