Monday, April 29, 2013

Mystery Cuisine: Pink Lemonade Cookies

In the past, I've written blog posts about my love of cozy mysteries that also include recipes. (See these posts for Wanmansita Casserole and Simply Crackers Candy.)

One of my favorite authors, Joanne Fluke, has a new Hannah Swensen Mystery out titled Red Velvet Cupcake Murder. In the book, I came across a recipe for Tickled Pink Lemonade Cookies that I immediately knew I’d have to try!

These cookies are made with frozen pink lemonade concentrate, though you can use regular lemonade concentrate if you can’t find the pink version. I made a couple of adjustments to the recipe to up the lemon flavor in the frosting. 

Also, the cookies were a little too pink for my liking. Next time I’ll use less food color gel so the cookies look more like the lighter pink of the frosting. I may also add some lemon zest to up the lemon flavor more,
but don’t get me wrong. These cookies taste great!

Pink Lemonade Cookies
Adapted from Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke
Makes approximately 2 1/2-dozen cookies

For cookies:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup frozen pink or regular lemonade concentrate, thawed
Red food coloring or food color gel
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, un-sifted (use the scoop and level method*)

For frosting:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
4 teaspoons frozen pink or regular lemonade concentrate, thawed
2 to 4 teaspoons milk
Red food coloring or food color gel

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

For the cake: Put the butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until fluffy. Mix in the
baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat in the egg, and then beat in the lemonade concentrate until well combined. Add the food coloring or gel until the cookies reach the desired pink color. (Start with 3 drops of food coloring or 1/4 teaspoon of food color gel, and then add more if you want to darken the color.) Mix in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until well combined.

Drop teaspoon-sized dollops of cookie dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the edges are slightly brown. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking sheet for two minutes, and then place the cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting: By hand or with a mixer, beat together the butter and powdered sugar. Mix in the lemonade concentrate. Mix in milk, one teaspoon at a time, until the frosting reaches a spreadable consistency. Add food coloring or gel to get the desired pink color.

Once the cookies are completely cooled, frost each one. Allow the cookies to set until the frosting has hardened. Store in an air-tight container with the cookie layers separated by waxed paper.

*Scoop up the flour into the measuring cup and then level off by swiping a straight edge (like the back of a knife) across the top. The flour should be well packed into the measuring cup.  


  1. Thanks for the review of this recipe! I find Joanne Fluke's recipes to be very hit or miss. Her fudge cupcakes from the mystery of the same name could be used as hockey pucks (I am an experienced baker and am sure I followed the recipe correctly). They ended up in the trash, and after I bought expensive raspberry syrup just to make them! Disappointing. On the other hand, I have made several of her recipes that turned out to be delicious...

  2. I find that problem with a few of the recipes in mystery novels. Luckily, most have turned out really good, and the ones I made that weren't quite right could be fixed.

  3. I tried these too,after seeing them in the book! They are delicious! Thanks for posting this.

  4. For people who have issues with some of the recipes, I have a tip or two for you. When I first made the Old Fashion Sugar Cookies from one of Joanne Fluke's books, I forgot to add powder sugar. To avoid making the same mistake, write down a check out of the ingredients and cross them out when you used it to avoid missing or over using an ingredient. Also when baking anything from a recipe, you should make sure how hot your oven is. I had that problem before and it burnt some of the cookies before. So I change the time of how long whatever in the oven is, or change the temperature of the oven. I hope that helps anyone out.

  5. Marie Guido PetersonAugust 5, 2023 at 3:06 PM

    I used fresh squeezed lime juice and zest in both cookie and icing. Key lime cookies